Orano and the Ukrainian utility EnergoAtom have signed a contract for assessing the feasibility of reprocessing services of spent fuel assemblies of Ukrainian VVER-1000 nuclear reactors in La Hague facility.
The contract, signed in the presence of Oleksander Shavlakov, First Vice-President of EnergoAtom and Pascal Aubret, Senior Executive Vice President of Orano's Recycling Business Unit, marks a new step towards the treatment of Ukrainian used VVER 1000 fuels at the Orano La Hague site.
After producing electricity in a power reactor, the used fuel contains 96% of recyclable materials and 4% of final waste. The process implemented at Orano's La Hague plant consists in separating the reusable materials, which will once again be used to produce energy, from the final waste which undergoes safe and stable conditioning and packaging. The first step of this process, conducted remotely and in fully automated mode, is referred to as shearing-dissolution. Here, the metal cladding containing the materials is sheared into 35 mm sections in order to release the materials for conditioning. The metal sections are rinsed and compacted using a 2,500 ton press, which reduces the volume of waste by a factor of 5.
Pascal Aubret underlines: "This contract marks an important step for Orano and constitutes a real success for us. It will pave the way for treatment of Ukrainian used fuel by the French recycling sector. It once again marks recognition of the exceptional know-how and skills we have at the Orano La Hague site".