France’s Orano has signed a contract with Japan's Nuclear Fuel Industries Ltd for the fabrication of mox fuel assemblies and a separate agreement with the French CEA for dismantling of used fuel storage pools.

The contract signed with Japan's Nuclear Fuel Industries Ltd on 5 February covers the fabrication of 32 mox fuel assemblies for Kansai Electric Power Company’s Takahama 3&4.

Fabrication of the mox fuel assemblies will take place at Orano Melox plant in Chusclan, Gard, France.

“The supply of mox fuel assemblies for Kansai Electric Power Company is a follow-up to agreements signed with Japanese utilities stretching back over several decades,” Orano said in a statement.

Pascal Aubret, director of Orano's recycling business unit noted that the new contract reinforces a long-standing relationship the company has with Kansai Electric.

"We are very proud of our Japanese partner's renewed confidence in our expertise. This choice underlines the relevance of recycling for our customers as a responsible and efficient solution for managing their used fuel,” he said.

Earlier in February, Orano was awarded a contract worth several million euros with the French Atomic & Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) at Marcoule to dismantle all the stainless steel walls and metal structure of two former used fuel interim storage pools.

This four-year contract will be one of the largest dismantling projects of its type in France. It will include technical studies and the performance of dismantling operations. After being cut up, the elements will be sorted according to radiological activity, then conditioned and removed to an approved waste disposal centre.

Studies and interventions in the field will be performed by teams from Orano DS, the entity of the group specialised in dismantling, services to nuclear operators and radioactive waste management. Orano said that to carry out these operations successfully, they will be employing innovative technologies never used before on this type of worksite. The dismantling will be carried out by the largest remote cutting machine available on the market. Equipped with a large-diameter circular saw, this tool weighing over 12 metric tons will be controlled remotely, to limit the radiological exposure of operators while optimising completion times.

Date: Tuesday, 11 February 2020
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