DOE Consulting with IAEA on Surplus Plutonium Disposal at Savannah River
In a Record of Decision published in March 2016, DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration announced that this amount of surplus plutonium at SRS would be "dispositioned" using the dilute and dispose approach.
Speaking in Vienna, Austria, at an event hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz this week announced that the United States is beginning consultations with IAEA to monitor the dilution and packaging of up to 6 metric tons of surplus plutonium at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C. "We are embarking on an effort at the Savannah River Site to dilute and dispose of approximately six metric tons of surplus plutonium -- additional to the 34 metric tons of material we have committed to dispose under the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement -- and are beginning consultations with the IAEA for the monitoring and verification of this process as yet another tangible commitment by the United States to ensure this material will not be used again in nuclear weapons," Moniz said.
In a Record of Decision published in March 2016, DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration announced that this amount of surplus plutonium at SRS would be "dispositioned" using the dilute and dispose approach, which involves blending the plutonium oxide with an adulterant, packaging the diluted materials in secure canisters, and preparing the canisters for permanent disposal in a geologic repository.
IAEA monitors and verifies the process, which DOE says underscores U.S. confidence in a strong IAEA inspection regime and demonstrate the U.S. commitment to transparency under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.