H-Canyon to produce MOX feed from excess weapon plutonium

U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) approved a plan to process about 3.7 tonnes of excess weapon-grade plutonium to produce plutonium oxide for MOX feed. The conversion will be done at the H-Canyon facility at the Savannah River Site. It will use the non-pit plutonium currently stored there. According to NNSA, H-Canyon and HB-Line will begin preparations in 2012 and in the first full production year, in 2013, will produce about 200 kg of Pu oxide. The production rate is expected to reach 1 MT of oxide in 2015.

The plan to process the non-pit plutonium stored at the SRS facility appears to be the first step in the series of changes in U.S. plutonium disposition program that were announced in July 2010