DOE Confident It Can Fuel the Clinch River Breeder Reactor and Other Breeder Reactor Projects

EMD-82-89: Published: May 14, 1982. Publicly Released: May 20, 1982.

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GAO was requested to review certain aspects of the plutonium fuel supply for the Clinch River Breeder Reactor (CRBR) as well as for other projects within the Department of Energy's (DOE) breeder reactor program. GAO provided information on the: (1) plutonium requirements for the CRBR and for other breeder reactor projects; (2) source of plutonium for meeting these requirements; and (3) proposed modifications by DOE to an existing DOE fuel reprocessing facility to expand its capability for supplying plutonium.

DOE is confident that it can provide the plutonium needed to fuel the breeder reactor projects. DOE currently estimates that an average of about 1,000 kilograms of plutonium would be required by the CRBR annually for a 10-year period beginning in fiscal year 1987 when the initial plutonium supply will be needed. DOE also estimates that, for the same 10-year period, an average of about 2,000 kilograms of plutonium would be required annually for its other existing and planned breeder reactor projects. DOE plans to meet these plutonium requirements through purchases from foreign countries, if needed. Finally, DOE has requested $5.6 million for conceptual design efforts for the possible modification to an existing DOE fuel reprocessing facility which, if implemented, is expected to expand the DOE capability for supplying plutonium.

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