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RECYCLING / MELOX
March 04, 2010
The Ikata nuclear plant, operated by Japanese electric power company SHIKOKU Epco on the Shikoku Island (Ehime Prefecture) starts power generation with AREVA’s* MOX fuel today.
Following the contract signed in 2006 between AREVA* and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI), a fuel assemblies delivery took place on May 2009. The contract comes as part of Japan’s nuclear program to recycle used fuel, and follows contracts signed from 2006 to 2009 with Japanese utilities CHUBU, KYUSHU, SHIKOKU, KANSAI, EPDC and CHUGOKU.
On February 2010 the MOX loading operations took place in unit 3 of the Ikata Nuclear Power Plant. This recycled fuel was fabricated on 2008 at AREVA’s MELOX plant in southern France using the plutonium recovered from the treatment operations of used fuels performed at AREVA’s La Hague plant.
For Jean-Pierre Gros, Executive vice-president Recycling of AREVA, «Following Genkai power generation performed on December 2nd, 2009, operated by Kyushu, this second MOX loading from AREVA’s MELOX plant in Japan by Shikoku is the result of a successful and a long standing partnership with Japanese utilities”.
Since 1995, MELOX has been fabricating MOX fuel assemblies for nuclear powerplants in several countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and the United States. Made with uranium and plutonium oxides, MOX fuel is a solution for recycling the plutonium recovered from used nuclear fuel. With more than 1,500 tons produced to date, MELOX is the world’s leading producer of MOX fuel. In France, more than 10% of nuclear energy comes from recyclable fuel and 21 Nuclear Power Plants use MOX Fuel.
*Contract signed between MELOX SA, to fabricate MOX fuel, and MHI, in charge of designing the fuel for the utility.