MSC Signs Eight Year Contract
Manufacturing Sciences Corporation (MSC), a wholly owned subsidiary of BNFL Inc. located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, announces the signing of an eight-year agreement to supply nuclear fuel re-processing tubes to the BNFL plc. Sellafield Plant located in Seascale, Cumbria in the United Kingdom. MSC has previously shipped over 70,000 of these tubes to the Sellafield Plant. However, the signing of this long-term agreement insures the supply of this product, which is vital to the Sellafield operations of BNFL plc.
The Depleted Uranium “Re-can Tubes”, as they are referred to, are used in the nuclear fuel recycling process. MSC will utilize its inventory of depleted uranium which was originally a by-product of U.S. Government uranium enrichment operations, and recycle it into more than 80,000 recan tubes over the life of the agreement. The uranium, which begins in the form of “derbies”, will be cast into ingots in MSC’s vacuum induction melting furnaces. The ingots will than be rolled into sheet on MSC’s rolling mill. Once the uranium sheet reaches final thickness, it will be formed into 24-inch long tubes with specially designed ends. After shipment to the U.K., the tubes will be used in the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. In a reprocessing facility the spent fuel is separated into its three components: uranium, plutonium and waste containing fission products. Reprocessing facilitates recycling and produces a significantly reduced volume of waste.
MSC, which recently closed its radioactive metals recycling facility, still employs approximately 35 people at its manufacturing plant. The manufacturing plant, also located on South Illinois Avenue, began operations in 1985 to produce depleted uranium sheet and plate for defense and research applications. In 1999, MSC began to market toll rolling and manufacturing services to the non-radioactive specialty metals industry. This market now accounts for approximately half of MSC’s annual revenue.
Although MSC remains the sole commercial facility in the world with the capability to cast, roll and machine products from depleted uranium, rolling and manufacturing of specialty metals is seen as the future of MSC’s business. MSC now performs toll rolling services for a number of specialty metals companies. Customer materials processed at MSC are used in a wide variety of applications including aerospace, wireless communications, metals manufacturing, materials research and nuclear fuel manufacture and storage.