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Title: Promoting Eurofab: Communications on a Sensitive International Project

Abstract

To reduce the risk of nuclear weapons materials falling into the wrong hands, the United States and the Russian Federation agreed in September 2000 on the disposition of 68 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium, 34 tons from each side. Both countries are to dispose of their plutonium by converting it to mixed oxide fuel (MOX) to be used to generate electricity in existing reactors. Before significant quantities of MOX fuel can be used in U.S. reactors, the performance of this European technology must be verified by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The construction of a U.S. MOX fuel fabrication facility is under way, but the United States does not currently have the capability to produce MOX fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) therefore made arrangements with the AREVA group to have four MOX assemblies fabricated in France from U.S. weapons-grade plutonium. In October 2004, 140 kilograms of defense plutonium powder were shipped from Charleston, South Carolina, to Cherbourg, France. Five months later, four lead assemblies, fabricated at COGEMA's Cadarache and Melox sites in southern France, were transported back to the United States for loading in the Catawba nuclear station in North Carolina operated by Duke Power.more » This transportation and fabrication operation, code-named Eurofab, brought us face-to-face with major communications issues, and all the more so in that special nuclear materials were involved against a backdrop of bilateral non-proliferation agreements. From the very beginning of Eurofab, we expected this project to be the object of much media interest - which certainly came true - and the importance of a dedicated, multilateral communications policy was obvious to all partners. Nuclear opponents in the U.S. and France were mobilizing well in advance to thwart the operation. Early on, to provide the media and the general public with objective information and squelch misinformation, the parties set up a communications task force that took on several critical assignments, including developing and updating position papers on sensitive topics, monitoring media coverage, disseminating factual information, coordinating the information release policy, and organizing media events. Through the Eurofab experience, this paper takes a look at the special aspects of communications on industrial operations when implemented in a sensitive geopolitical environment and involving multiple partners, each with its own communications culture. Eurofab showed that what might seem to be an unusual alliance - a communications group made of government and industry representatives from several countries - proved to be extremely efficient. We will especially focus on the lessons learned in the field of public acceptance. (authors)« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. COGEMA LOGISTICS (ARENA Group), 1 rue des Herons - BP 309, St. Quentin en Yvelines (France)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, Inc., PO Box 13023, Tucson, AZ, 85732-3023 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
21210685
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-09-WM-06405
TRN: US09V1113081147
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 2006 Symposium - WM'06 - Global Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: Education and Opportunity for the Next Generation of Waste Management Professionals, Tucson, AZ (United States), 26 Feb - 2 Mar 2006; Other Information: Country of input: France
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; COGEMA; FABRICATION; FRANCE; MIXED OXIDE FUELS; NORTH CAROLINA; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; PLUTONIUM; RUSSIAN FEDERATION; SOUTH CAROLINA

Citation Formats

Duperray, J. Promoting Eurofab: Communications on a Sensitive International Project. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Duperray, J. Promoting Eurofab: Communications on a Sensitive International Project. United States.
Duperray, J. Sat . "Promoting Eurofab: Communications on a Sensitive International Project". United States.
@article{osti_21210685,
title = {Promoting Eurofab: Communications on a Sensitive International Project},
author = {Duperray, J},
abstractNote = {To reduce the risk of nuclear weapons materials falling into the wrong hands, the United States and the Russian Federation agreed in September 2000 on the disposition of 68 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium, 34 tons from each side. Both countries are to dispose of their plutonium by converting it to mixed oxide fuel (MOX) to be used to generate electricity in existing reactors. Before significant quantities of MOX fuel can be used in U.S. reactors, the performance of this European technology must be verified by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The construction of a U.S. MOX fuel fabrication facility is under way, but the United States does not currently have the capability to produce MOX fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) therefore made arrangements with the AREVA group to have four MOX assemblies fabricated in France from U.S. weapons-grade plutonium. In October 2004, 140 kilograms of defense plutonium powder were shipped from Charleston, South Carolina, to Cherbourg, France. Five months later, four lead assemblies, fabricated at COGEMA's Cadarache and Melox sites in southern France, were transported back to the United States for loading in the Catawba nuclear station in North Carolina operated by Duke Power. This transportation and fabrication operation, code-named Eurofab, brought us face-to-face with major communications issues, and all the more so in that special nuclear materials were involved against a backdrop of bilateral non-proliferation agreements. From the very beginning of Eurofab, we expected this project to be the object of much media interest - which certainly came true - and the importance of a dedicated, multilateral communications policy was obvious to all partners. Nuclear opponents in the U.S. and France were mobilizing well in advance to thwart the operation. Early on, to provide the media and the general public with objective information and squelch misinformation, the parties set up a communications task force that took on several critical assignments, including developing and updating position papers on sensitive topics, monitoring media coverage, disseminating factual information, coordinating the information release policy, and organizing media events. Through the Eurofab experience, this paper takes a look at the special aspects of communications on industrial operations when implemented in a sensitive geopolitical environment and involving multiple partners, each with its own communications culture. Eurofab showed that what might seem to be an unusual alliance - a communications group made of government and industry representatives from several countries - proved to be extremely efficient. We will especially focus on the lessons learned in the field of public acceptance. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2006},
month = {7}
}

Conference:
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