Flexible Manufacturing Capability for the Mixed Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF)
The Department of Energy (DOE) is preparing the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SPD SEIS), DOE/EIS-0283-S2. DOE is evaluating, among many other things, the environmental impacts of any design and operations changes to the MFFF, which is under construction at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. DOE evaluated the impacts of construction and operation of the MFFF in the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) [DOE, 1999]. DOE and the MFFF contractor, ShawAreva MOX Services, are pursuing utility customers for mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. At the present time, there are agreements with some utilities to investigate the use of MOX fuel. The eventual fuel sales agreement with the utilities will be in place as soon as practical; however, fuel delivery is contingent upon Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing for the individual reactors. To help ensure the use of MOX fuel in power reactors, which will render the plutonium unusable for nuclear weapons, DOE and Shaw-Areva MOX Services need the capability to manufacture fuel suitable for the variety of reactor technologies that exist in the current United States fleet and to provide the flexibility to manufacture fuel for the next generation of power reactors.
DOE proposes to modify the design of the MFFF to provide the capability to manufacture a variety of fuel types, and to make the design changes and begin the physical modifications required to do so prior to completion of the SPD SEIS. DOE regulations for implementing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), at Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 1021.104 and 1021.211, describe requirements for allowable interim action concerning a proposal that is the subject of an ongoing project-specific EIS. No action concerning such a proposal may be taken if the action would: (1) have an adverse environmental impact, or (2) limit the choice of reasonable alternatives.