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Plutonium Fuel: An Assessment Report by an Expert Group

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nea6519-plutonium-fuel.pdf (2.88 MB) 2.88 MB

Ever since the 1950s, plutonium, used in fas reactors, has been seen as the key to unlocking the vast energy resource contained in the the world's uranium reserves. However, the reductions in expected nuclear reactor installation rates, combined with discovery of additional uranium, have led to a lengthening in the perceived time interval before fast reactors, the most effective users of plutonium, will make large demands on plutonium supplies. THere are several options concerning its use or storage in the meantime.

This report sets out the facts and current views about plutonium and its civil use, both now and in the medium term future. It explains the factors influencing the choice of fuel options and illustrates how economic and logistic assessments of the alternatives can be undertaken. Non-proliferation issues were specifically excluded from the study but the Working Group stresses their importance in decisions on the use and management of plutonium and spent nuclear fuel.

Nothing in the report contradicts in any way the general findings of the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation concerning the use of plutonium or of the previous Nuclear Energy Agency study on the Economics of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.