TVA to study use of weapons plutonium at 2 plants

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Valley Authority has agreed to consider using fuel made from weapons-grade plutonium to power reactors at its Sequoyah Plant near Chattanooga and Browns Ferry Plant near Athens, Ala.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said in a statement that an interagency agreement has been signed with TVA to "evaluate the use of mixed oxide fuel made from U.S. surplus weapons."

TVA spokesman Terry Johnson said the proposal is being considered as part of a national defense mission -- helping the government dispose of surplus weapons materials -- and as a possible low-cost nuclear fuel.

A spokesman for the Friends of the Earth environmental group, Tom Clements, said it is essential that TVA not get any shortcuts in a full test schedule that would take about seven years.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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