France's 2009 declaration of civilian plutonium and HEU

France submitted to IAEA a declaration of its civilian plutonium and HEU holdings as of December 31, 2009 - INFCIRC/549/Add.5/14. According to the document, at the end of 2009 France had 47.1 tonnes of unirradiated separated plutonium stored at reprocessing plants, 6.8 tonnes held up in the fuel fabrication process, 27.2 tonnes in unirradiated MOX fuel, and 0.7 tonnes described as "held elsewhere" - it is the material that is held up in the reprocessing plant and located at research facilities. Of the total of 81.8 tonnes, 25.9 tonnes is foreign material. Less than 50 kg of French plutonium is held outside of the country. No material was in transit. At the end of 2008, France declared 83.8 tonnes of separated plutonium.

In addition, France estimates that about 100.3 tonnes of plutonium is contained in spent fuel stored at reactor sites, 129.6 tonnes - in spent fuel at the reprocessing plant, and 6.6 tonnes - in spent fuel "held elsewhere." The total amount of plutonium in spent fuel is therefore 236.5 tonnes.

The history of France's civilian plutonium stock in 1994-2008 was described in an earlier post. It is also worth noting that the amount of separated plutonium owned by France has grown from 55.5 tonnes in 2008 to 55.9 in 2009 (see also the post that describes status of France's recycle program).

The declaration also describes France's civilian HEU stock. At the end of 2009 France had 1,017 kg of HEU at fuel fabrication plants, 1,816 kg at civilian reactor sites, 433 kg at research facilities, 143 kg as irradiated HEU at civilian reactor sites, and 1,441 kg of irradiated HEU at other facilities.

[3/4/2011 edit - corrected errors in amounts of foreign and French-owned separated plutonium]