French nuclear power service company Orano said in May that it had signed a contract with Ukrainian utility EnergoAtom to assessing the feasibility of reprocessing services of spent fuel assemblies of Ukrainian VVER-1000 nuclear reactors in Orano la Hague facility.
The contract was signed in the presence of Oleksander Shavlakov, First Vice-President of EnergoAtom and Pascal Aubret, Senior Executive Vice President of Orano's Recycling Business Unit.
The company said it was a new direction for the treatment of Ukrainian used fuels VVER 1000.
After producing electricity in a power reactor, the used fuel contains 96 percent of recyclable materials and 4 percent of final waste. The process implemented at Orano's la Hague plant consists in separating the reusable materials, which will once again be used to produce energy, from the final waste which undergoes safe and stable conditioning and packaging. The first step of this process, conducted remotely and in fully automated mode, is referred to as shearing-dissolution. Here, the metal cladding containing the materials is sheared into 35 mm sections in order to release the materials for conditioning. The metal sections are rinsed and compacted using a 2,500 ton press, which reduces the volume of waste by a factor of five, the company said.
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