AREVA to pursue its cooperation with JNFL to start up the Rokkasho-Mura reprocessing plant
December 20, 2005
On December 20, 2005, JNFL (*) and AREVA signed an agreement to extend the technical assistance contract for the startup of the used nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Rokkasho-Mura in Japan's Aomori province. This amendment extends the initial cooperation agreement, signed in July 2001 by AREVA and JNFL, by two years.
AREVA will thus support JNFL until commercial operations get underway at the facility, scheduled for mid-2007. The partnership will mainly involve the “active” test phase using actual used fuel and which is scheduled to begin in early 2006. This phase will follow on from uranium testing, which is almost finished.
AREVA's cooperation with JNFL is a continuation of the technology transfer agreement the Japanese company signed in 1987 with COGEMA for the construction of the Rokkasho-Mura reprocessing plant, based on the UP3 facilities at La Hague. The technology transfer has involved training around one hundred Japanese people at La Hague and the secondment of around forty French operatives to work on the Rokkasho-Mura site, where they will remain until 2007. There is also a large technical support team at La Hague.
The renewal of the assistance agreement bears witness to the confidence JNFL and its shareholders have had in AREVA for many years and the value they attach to AREVA's industrial experience (almost 40 years) in treating used fuel.
(*) Japan Nuclear Fuels Limited (JNFL) is a subsidiary of ten Japanese electricity companies which operate fifty-three reactors representing a total output of 45,200 MW and generating around 30% of the country's electricity (figures for 2004). Three additional reactors are currently under construction.
Japan, like France, has opted to process and recycle its used nuclear fuel which means that used fuel elements which can be reused are recycled and final wastes packaged all while reducing volume.
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