Securing the European Supply of 19.75% enriched Uranium Fuel. A Revised Assessment
|Author||Euratom Supply Agency ESA|
|Classification||6.01.2.25/15 (URANIUM - ENRICHMENT)|
From the publication:
Securing the European Supply of 19.75% enriched Uranium Fuel A REVISED ASSESSMENT Euratom Supply Agency (ESA), May 2019 Foreword This report was produced by a dedicated working group, which was initially set up in 2012 by decision of the Advisory Committee of the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) and reinstated by the Advisory Committee in its April 2018 session. The reinstated group, which convened three times, has revised the previous report issued in 2013. This revised report was endorsed and approved by the Agency’s Advisory Committee in its session of 21 March 2019. The report provides an updated view of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) needs, including potential global demand. It also takes account of developments in recent years, specifically realistic scenarios for the conversion of high enriched uranium (HEU) fueled high-performance research reactors, new concepts for power reactors and fuel design, the current geopolitical situation, and issues relating to the shipping and transport of HALEU. It also addresses the pressing issue of US stocks of HEU available for downblending to HALEU, since these are only sufficient to cover needs until 2030-2040. HALEU is not currently produced in any western country. The material used in research reactors is obtained either by downblending US HEU stocks or from Russia. If no action is taken, there is a risk that the supply of this critically important material cannot be guaranteed after 2030-2040. This could jeopardise European research technological applications and the production of the most vital medical radioisotopes. It is now recognised that HALEU production could be of major importance for the future of: i) nuclear technology, ii) science using nuclear technology and iii) nuclear medicine. Readers of this report will find an overview of the demand for HALEU in the coming decades, a discussion on the potential future needs of small and medium-sized reactors using advanced HALEU fuel, and a description of issues related to the metallisation, deconversion and transport of HALEU. The core part of the report presents a business model to build European capacity for the production of metallic HALEU, based on three different market demand scenarios. The report concludes that building such a facility in the EU is feasible but that its economic viability would depend on certain conditions, in particular production volumes, price and financing. By providing an overview of the current situation while looking ahead to the future, this report contributes to European and international discussion on the future secure supply of HALEU and provides policymakers with a basis for making informed decisions on related initiatives.