Framatome to supply EDF with reprocessed uranium fuel

25 May 2018

Framatome has signed a contract to design, fabricate and supply fuel assemblies using enriched reprocessed uranium to French utility EDF between 2023 and 2032. Framatome noted the project is subject to administrative and regulatory authorisations.

The fuel assemblies - to be produced at Framatome's facility at Romans-sur-Isère in the Drôme region of France - will incorporate uranium that has been derived from the reprocessing of used fuel at the La Hague plant. Once enriched, this uranium can be used again to fuel nuclear power reactors.

EDF is to use the fuel assemblies in a number of its reactors, which have been authorised to use such fuel.

"This contract is proof of the quality of Framatome's industrial solutions and capabilities, and underlines the scope of the products and services offered by the company to its electric utility customers," said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of Framatome's Fuel Business Unit.

EDF studied the possibility of recycling reprocessed uranium in pressurised water reactors in the early 1980s. The utility has demonstrated the use of reprocessed uranium in its 900 MWe power plants. The first enriched reprocessed uranium manufacturing campaign took place at Romans in 1987 on behalf of EDF. Precursor fuel assemblies were loaded into Cruas unit 4 from 1987 to 1990 and a first enriched reprocessed uranium fuel reload was introduced in the same reactor in 1994.

EDF has made provision to store reprocessed uranium for up to 250 years as a strategic reserve. Currently, reprocessing of 1100 tonnes of EDF used fuel per year produces 11 tonnes of plutonium (immediately recycled as mixed-oxide fuel) and 1045 tonnes of reprocessed uranium converted into stable oxide form for storage.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News