Westinghouse the choice for Chooz

27 April 2010

A Westinghouse-led consortium has been awarded a contract to dismantle the reactor vessel of Chooz A, the first pressurised water reactor (PWR) to be decommissioned in France.

The contract, awarded by Electricité de France (EdF) decommissioning arm EdF-CIDEN to a consortium led by Westinghouse, is expected to take six and a half years to complete. Westinghouse is partnered in the consortium by Nuvia France, and will also provide resources from its Swedish, Belgian and French locations.

Westinghouse will undertake overall project management, segmentation of the reactor vessel itself and of reactor vessel internals, reactor nozzle cutting, dismantling of the reactor vessel's thermal insulation, while using ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principles to ensure acceptable radiation doses to personnel and providing a complementary water filtration system to maintain water clarity during the segmentation work.

Chooz A was a prototype PWR and supplied electricity to the French grid from 1967 to 1991. Westinghouse's regional vice president for France, Yves Brachet, said the decommissioning project would help to enhance support for the nuclear renaissance "by demonstrating that the safe dismantling of a reactor is possible."


Twelve experimental and power reactors are currently being decommissioned in France, mostly first-generation gas-cooled, graphite-moderated reactors. Chooz A is the only PWR on the list. However, a wealth of decommissioning experience is being built up world wide. In the USA alone, where a total of 31 power reactors have been closed and decommissioned, some sites have now been largely released for unrestricted usage.

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News