Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. (NFS), a subsidiary of BWXT located in Erwin, Tenn., operates a uranium fuel materials production facility to support America's fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. It also converts Cold War-era government stockpiles of highly enriched uranium into material suitable for further processing into commercial nuclear reactor fuel.
In 2011, NFS completed a contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to transform weapons-grade uranium into a low-enriched form suitable for use in TVA’s nuclear reactors. NFS processed and downblended 22.8 metric tons of highly-enriched uranium in many material forms. A total of 312 metric tons of low-enriched uranium were produced during the life-cycle of the project—enough to power the entire TVA service area (about 3.8 million households) for 4.4 years.
BWXT’s Lynchburg, Va. facility also features commercial operations capable of converting or downblending high-enriched uranium into low-enriched fuel for use in commercial reactors for generating electricity.
We began receiving, storing, characterizing, dissolving, recovering and purifying a variety of uranium-bearing materials in the early 1960s. In 1995, BWXT was awarded a contract by the U.S. government to downblend approximately 600 kilograms of HEU into LEU. The HEU was obtained from Kazakhstan through "Project Sapphire." Over the span of the 9-year project, our Uranium Processing group successfully downblended 50 metric tons of high-enriched, weapons-grade uranium into 500 metric tons of low-enriched uranium that could be used by commercial nuclear power plants to produce electricity.