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INESAP Technical Report No.2

The German Plutonium Balance for the Years 1968-1999.
Reprocessing, Import and Export, MOX Fuel Elemement Production and Usage, Stored Inventories

Martin B. Kalinowski, Wolfgang Liebert, Silke Aumann

December 2002
57 pages
ISBN: 3-933071-05-4, Price $ 20, airmail shipping $ 10 extra

This technical report provides a comprehensive analysis of open-source information on plutonium inventories owned by German nuclear operators for the years 1968-1999. This survey includes plutonium separated by reprocessing of spent fuel in the Karlsruhe, Germany, reprocessing facility (Wiederaufarbeitungsanlage Karlsruhe or "WAK"), as well as at the La Hague reprocessing plant, in France, and the Sellafield reprocessing plant, in the United Kingdom; discusses import and export of unirradiated plutonium; and gives an overview of the past production of uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, as well as the usage of MOX fuel in Germany. The study presents these data on an annual basis since the end of the 1960s, although a number of uncertainties remain. As of the beginning of 1999, the study concludes, 23 to 30 tonnes of unirradiated (separated or in fresh MOX fuel) plutonium were under German control and responsibility in Germany or abroad. An additional 47 to 60 tonnes were still contained in spent fuel. However, because separated plutonium poses significant proliferation risks and because the German MOX program will have difficulty absorbing the country's existing stocks of this material, the future Germany's reprocessing program has been placed in doubt, and new initiatives are urgently needed to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy for addressing Germany's plutonium surpluses.

Table of Content:

  • Introduction
  • Separation of Plutonium by Reprocessing Spent Fuel
    • Summary of Reprocessing
    • Reprocessing in Germany
    • Reprocessing in France
    • Reprocessing in Great Britain
    • Reprocessing in Belgium
    • Reprocessing in Russia
  • Imports and exports
  • MOX fuel
    • MOX production in Germany
    • MOX usage in Germany
  • Current and future inventories of unirradiated plutonium
    • Estimates of current inventories
    • Overview
    • Reprocessing of Spent Fuel
    • The Hanau vault
    • Pilot reprocessing plant WAK
    • At reactor sites
    • Projecting the future consumption of separated plutonium
  • Conclusions for the handling of separated plutonium
  • Appendix
    • Abbreviations
    • List of Tables
    • Figures
    • Endnotes

Martin B. Kalinowski worked with IANUS and INESAP until 1998 and with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO) until 2006. Since 2006, he is Chair of the Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker Centre for Science and Peace Research (ZNF) of the University of Hamburg; martin.kalinowski[at]uni-hamburg.de

Wolfgang Liebert is Scientific Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Group Science, Technology and Security of Technische Universität Darmstadt; liebert[at]ianus.tu-darmstadt.de.

Silke Aumann worked with IANUS until 1998.

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  • Technical Report No.2