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Spent fuel coming from Germany expected at the Valognes railway terminal

Press release

February 05, 2002

Under commercial contracts and following intergovernmental agreements between France and Germany, part of the spent fuel from German nuclear power plants is sent to France for reprocessing.

In accordance with these commitments, a shipment of 4 casks containing spent fuel from German nuclear power plants is under preparation. Taking into account the operational measures to implement, the shipment could reach the COGEMA railway terminal located in Valognes from February 7th 2002.

On January 31st 2001, German and French Authorities gave their approval to the resumption of radioactive material shipments between the two countries. As a consequence, vitrified waste conditioned at the COGEMA La Hague reprocessing plant is transported to the storage facility at Gorleben, Germany. At the same time, German spent nuclear fuel is sent to the COGEMA La Hague plant for reprocessing.

The reprocessing and recycling of spent fuel involve separates out the valuable material that can be used again to generate energy, such as uranium (95%) and plutonium (1%), and conditions the final waste (4%) in a glass matrix. This vitrified waste is then returned to the country from which the spent fuel came.