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Nuclear Materials Disposition

Nuclear Materials Disposition

In fulfilling its mission, EM frequently manages and completes disposition of surplus nuclear materials and spent nuclear fuel.  These are not waste. They are nuclear materials no longer needed for national security or other purposes, including spent nuclear fuel, special nuclear materials (as defined by the Atomic Energy Act) and other Nuclear Materials.

Spent Nuclear Fuel

Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is fuel that has been withdrawn from a nuclear reactor following irradiation, the constituent elements of which have not been separated by reprocessing. SNF may include: (1) intact, non-defective fuel assemblies or fuel rods; (2) failed fuel assemblies or fuel rods; (3) segments of fuel rods or pieces of fuel derived from spent fuel rods; and (4) various nonfuel components and structural parts of irradiated fuel assemblies

Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel

EM's mission is to safely and efficiently manage its Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) and prepare it for disposal in a geologic repository.

Special Nuclear Materials

Defined under the Atomic Energy Act as plutonium, uranium-233, and uranium enriched in the isotopes uranium-233 or uranium-235; does not include source material.

EM, in coordination with the National Nuclear Security Administration, is responsible for disposition of approximately 12.8 metric tons of surplus, non-pit, weapons-usable plutonium-239. EM is also responsible for disposition of about 21 metric tons of surplus highly enriched uranium (HEU) materials, which includes approximately 13.5 metric tons contained in spent nuclear fuel and less than 1 metric ton of surplus uranium-233.

Consolidation of Surplus Plutonium at Savannah River Site

DOE has amended the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Storage and Disposition of Weapons-Usable Fissile Materials Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. The revised decision will consolidate storage of surplus, non-pit weapons-usable plutonium from Hanford, LANL and LLNL at SRS, pending disposition.