You are here

News on FRM-II and ANS

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 18, 1994) The following is a update and the state of play on the United States' Advanced Neutron Source (ANS) and the FRM-II reactor at Garching near Munich, Germany.

(422.4180) WISE Amsterdam - The ANS is a high flux research reactor planned to use 93 % enriched uranium. This is clearly in conflict with the U.S.-policy to eliminate the use of weapons-grade uranium (see related story in WISE NC 418.4140). At the same time the U.S. was urging Germany to convert the reactor for the use of low enriched uranium (see WISE NC 413.4096). This contradiction in policy was well publicized in the US-press.

Apparently the reaction of the U.S. White House has been to order the ANS fuel downgraded to 35% enrichment. While this is not fully satisfactory, it does represent some degree of progress and further undercuts arguments in Germany that a high-flux reactor requires 93%-enriched fuel. The ANS flux is ten times higher than the flux of the FRM-II.

President Clinton will soon receive a letter to warn the Administration that the Nuclear Control Institute plans to form a coalition [with the Union of Concerned Scientists and other organizations] to kill the ANS unless its design is converted to LEU.

But as some had predicted, the entire future of the ANS-reactor is in doubt It seems that there is not enough money in the Department of Energy budget to fund a US$3.0 billion construction project. For the upcoming Fiscal Year 1996 budget request, the White House must decide in the next month whether to go ahead with 35%-enriched fuel, extend the study of LEU, or abandon the entire project. For political reasons, the last choice is doubtful. However it could be heard on Capitol Hill that Congress will refuse to provide any construction money for the reactor in FY'96, due to budgetary constraints and uncertainty on the fuel. In October the U.S. Senate eliminated ANS construction funds for the Fiscal Year 1995 completely, arguing that the project is "not mature enough."

There was a technical meeting early November on the ANS/FRM-II fuel question, between German and U.S. officials at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The meeting was a result of Department Of Energy O'Leary's conversations with German officials at the IAEA general conference earlier this year. There are no reports yet from the meeting. However, it was anticipated the meeting would not be very productive because each side already knew what the other would say. U.S.: "MEU is possible in the ANS, and LEU is possible in the FRM-ll." FRG: "You're wrong." The meeting was to be purely technical, although one State Department official was to attend.

Source: E-mail from: (Hans-Martin Adorf); 15 Oct. & 8 Nov. 1994

Contact on ANS: Nuclear Control Institute, 1000 Connecticut Av. NW. Suit 704, Washington DC 20036, US.
Tel: + 1-202-822.8444; Fax: + 1-202- 452.0892.
On FRM-II: Citizens against nuclear reactor Garching, c/o Renate Feist-Altbauer, Max-Planck-Str. 7, 85748 Garching, Germany.
Tel: + 49-89- 320.5416