chapter  9
5 Pages

Conclusion: the major cost drivers in disposition

WithWilliam J. Weida

Highly enriched uranium (HEU) disposition programs designed by the Department of Energy are predicated on a positive financial return to the US government. Insistence on using the economic demand for reactor fuel as the sole driver of the HEU program is likely to create a large amount of weapon-grade or downblended HEU for which there is no economically viable reuse program and for which there are no other planned disposition options. Unless downblended HEU can be moved to the front of the pipeline and disposed of while there are sufficient reactors remaining in the United States, the US may be left with substantial amounts of HEU for which there is no demand. The factors most likely to significantly increase costs are the major cost drivers that create differences among the various options for plutonium and HEU disposition.