Old Russian Nuclear Warheads Help Power Farley

By: News Release
By: News Release

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Since 1995, Southern Nuclear has been an active participant in a historic program that turns uranium from former Russian nuclear warheads into clean, reliable electricity in the United
States.

With the final shipment of low enriched uranium from Russia arriving in the United States on December 10, 2013, government and nuclear industry officials in Russia and the United States are marking the end of this successful program.

Southern Nuclear plants Farley, Hatch and Vogtle have used low enriched uranium fuel created from a total of 847 dismantled Russian nuclear warheads whose weapons-grade uranium was diluted, or “downblended”, to a level usable in commercial nuclear power plants. Specifically, Plant Farley units 1 and 2 have used 230, Plant Hatch units 1 and 2 have used 268 and Plant Vogtle units 1 and 2 have used 349.

U.S. utilities have purchased this fuel for their commercial nuclear power plants under a program known as Megatons to Megawatts, which has helped fuel approximately 10 percent of the country’s electricity during that time. Southern Nuclear received this fuel as part of its commercial fuel contract for low enriched uranium with USEC Inc., the U.S. executive agent for the program.

The Megatons to Megawatts Program is a unique, commercially financed government-industry partnership in which uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads has been recycled to produce
fuel for American nuclear power plants.

The 20 year, $8 billion program has been implemented at no cost
to taxpayers and is arguably the most successful nuclear disarmament program in history. Virtually the entire U.S. nuclear reactor fleet has used this fuel.

After the final shipment of 500 metric tons of Russian uranium, the equivalent of 20,000 nuclear warheads have now been recycled into low enriched uranium – enough material to produce fuel to power the entire United States for about two years.

“Megatons to Megawatts was a remarkable program that promoted the peaceful reuse of former nuclear weapons material,” said Southern Nuclear President and CEO Steve Kuczynski. “Southern Nuclear has been a great advocate of the peaceful reuse of former nuclear weapons material; this program demonstrated that we can turn swords into plowshares to benefit all parties involved.”


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