Deals could secure SMP future

30 May 2001

BNFL is about to announce a contract with OKG of Sweden to produce mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel at its Sellafield MOX plant (SMP). The deal follows a preliminary supply agreement with E.ON of Germany in May and means that BNFL has agreements covering 40% of Sellafield’s capacity. This is said to be the break-even point for Sellafield in terms of financial security.

The work at Sellafield is part of a deal OKG has signed with Framatome ANP. Under one part of the contract, fresh nuclear fuel would be produced by Framatome under contract at Russia’s Elektrostal fuel fabrication facility. The fuel would combine reprocessed Swedish spent fuel with blended-down ex-military uranium from Russia. The preliminary agreement with E.ON is to convert all plutonium separated from E.ON’s spent fuel at Sellafield to MOX fuel for re-use in Germany. The deal would be the largest single MOX contract for BNFL to date.

BNFL has not yet received permission from the UK government to operate SMP (see NEI February 2001, p12). The government has recently appointed consultants Arthur D Little to assess whether SMP is economically viable.

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