News Release
Sept. 04, 1998


Washington, D.C. -- A consortium of companies led by Duke Engineering & Services, COGEMA, Inc. and Stone & Webster have joined forces to advance one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) most pressing concerns: How to safely dispose of 50 tons of weapons plutonium declared surplus at the end of the Cold War.

This directive, resulting from the 1996 Moscow Summit between President Clinton and President Yeltsin, calls for surplus weapons plutonium to be converted into forms that are resistant to reuse in nuclear weapons. Responding to this historic challenge, the companies today announced the formation of the DUKE COGEMA STONE & WEBSTER Team, which will supply the full scope of services required by the DOE.

One method DOE is pursuing in accord with a 1997 Record of Decision for disposing the surplus plutonium is to convert it to mixed-oxide fuel, and then use that fuel to generate electricity at commercial nuclear power stations.

"Our team brings to DOE’ s important non-proliferation mission a unique combination of proven nuclear credentials, engineering, design and construction expertise and unparalleled mixed-oxide fuel fabrication and operation experience," said Bob Ihde, president and chief executive officer of DUKE COGEMA STONE & WEBSTER "Our collective strengths enable us to deliver to DOE an integrated, design-to-disposition approach."

Together, the consortium will supply the full-scope of services required by DOE, including design, construction and licensing of a mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility; the fabrication of mixed-oxide fuel; and the irradiation of that fuel in commercial nuclear reactors.

Duke Engineering & Services (DE&S) is a world leader in nuclear engineering, licensing and environmental services. DE&S serves both governmental and commercial clients and is actively responding to the nuclear industry’s most critical issues, from advanced reactor design and spent fuel management to environmental remediation and decontamination and decommissioning. DE&S currently performs work for 95 percent of U.S. commercial nuclear utilities and at 12 DOE sites. DE&S is an affiliate of Duke Energy Corporation, a global energy company.

COGEMA Inc. has provided total nuclear fuel services to the U.S. nuclear industry since 1982. The COGEMA group provides all products, services and engineering in uranium mining, conversion and enrichment, uranium and mixed-oxide fuel fabrication, spent fuel management, nuclear waste storage and transportation and site remediation. COGEMA and BELGONUCLEAIRE are the world leaders in design, construction and operation of mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facilities, operating three industrial scale mixed-oxide fuel plants in France and Belgium. These plants serve the mixed-oxide needs of 30 nuclear units and represent the overwhelming majority of the world’s mixed-oxide fuel production.

Stone & Webster is the industry leader in designing plutonium processing, packaging and storage facilities for DOE and is currently engaged in several plutonium related facility projects across the U.S. Stone & Webster has a strong history with first-of-a-kind DOE programs, among them the nation’s first breeder reactor, nuclear fusion experiments and facilities, tritium production reactor, and the vapor laser isotope separation project. Headquartered in Boston, the company is a leading global provider of engineering, procurement, construction and environmental services to the power, process, governmental and industrial markets.

Joining the consortium are a number of well-respected teammates:

BELGONUCLEAIRE, jointly owned by Belgium’s Tractabel Group and the Belgian Nuclear Research Center, has a successful 25-year history in producing mixed oxide fuel for use in both pressurized and boiling water reactors at its Dessel plant in Belgium. BELGONUCLEAIRE created and refined the MIMAS process of mixed oxide fuel production, further developed with COGEMA, and by the end of 1997 had fabricated 50 percent of the world’s mixed oxide industrial production. In addition to its impressive production capability, BELGONUCLEAIRE also provides nuclear engineering services, including mixed oxide plant design.

Framatome Cogema Fuels, headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., is a licensed provider of fuel fabrication services to the U.S. commercial nuclear power industry. FCF, a partnership of Framatome and COGEMA, provides custom-designed fuel for pressurized water reactor applications, reactor core components, fuel inspection and repair, and engineering and high-level waste services. Framatome is a world leader in nuclear reactor design and construction, fuel design and fabrication and engineering and related services.

Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. (NFS) has a 40-year history in the manufacture and service of highly enriched uranium and plutonium fuels. NFS brings specific expertise in safeguards, security and decontamination and decommissioning.

Duke Power is noted for its tradition of designing, constructing and operating record-setting nuclear stations. Duke’s Oconee, McGuire and Catawba nuclear produce more than half of the company’s annual net generation and are rated among the best-managed plants in the country by regulators and industry peers. Duke Power would use mixed-oxide fuel in its McGuire and Catawba nuclear stations.

Virginia Power is the principal subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc. (NYSE:D), an international energy company with headquarters in Richmond. Virginia Power is a leader in the nuclear fuel handling services industry and offers management services agreements for operation of other utilities’ nuclear power plants. The utility’s two nuclear power stations have been recognized consistently this decade for high standards of nuclear safety, and are among the lowest-cost producers of nuclear electricity in the United States. Virginia Power would use mixed-oxide fuel in its North Anna nuclear station.

Electricite de France (EDF) is one of the leading electricity operators in the world, serving nearly 30 million customers. Of EDF’s 56 operating reactors, 16 are currently loaded with mixed-oxide fuel supplied by COGEMA and BELGONUCLEAIRE. In 1997, EDF’s nuclear plant capacity totaled 61,500 megawatts.

Contact: Lucinda Trew
Phone: (704) 382-3430
24 Hour Phone: (704) 382-8333