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The DUKE-COGEMA-STONE & WEBSTER (DCS) consortium signs a major contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the disposition of declared surplus military plutonium

Press release

March 24, 1999

On 22 March, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Duke-COGEMA-Stone & Webster (DCS) a $ 130 million base contract to support DOE mission to dispose of strategic surplus of military plutonium. This contract concerns the design of a MOX fuel fabrication plant in the United States and the qualification of the fuel, in order to allow the use of this plutonium in American commercial nuclear reactors.

Beyond the scope of this first contract, DCS was also selected to provide full-scope services including the construction, commissioning and operation of this facility. DCS will also be responsible for obtaining from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses to operate the fuel fabrication facility and to load MOX fuel in six existing U.S. commercial reactors (to be adapted for that purpose).

This contract fits into the scope of the START I and START II treaties on nuclear disarmament. It also implements resolutions of the Moscow Summit on nuclear safety and security (1996) and of G7+1 Summits held in Denver (1997) and Birmingham (1998), in favor of a rapid elimination of declared surplus military plutonium. It meets non-proliferation objectives by making plutonium unsuitable for any new military use, while generating electricity.

The industrial fabrication and use of MOX fuel have been carried out for many years in Europe, and this project will benefit from the experience gained and the technologies developed by COGEMA and its partners.
For Jean Syrota, the COGEMA Chief Executive Officer, "For the commercial nuclear industry, this contract provides an opportunity to contribute to a disarmament program. COGEMA is proud to have been selected as a major partner in a program of this scale in the United States".