U.S. to consult with IAEA on disposing of surplus plutonium in S.C.

Published on December 06, 2016 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said the United States will work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the dilution and packaging of up to six metric tons of surplus plutonium at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina.

The United States has said it has confidence in an independent IAEA inspection system and has committed to transparency under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

“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 at an event hosted by the IAEA in Austria this week.

In March, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced the six metric tons of surplus plutonium at SRS would be dispositioned by utilizing the dilute and dispose technique. That approach requires the use of adulterants blended with the plutonium prior to packaging the diluted materials in secure canisters. The prepared canisters will then be disposed of in a geologic repository.