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.
Framatome to supply EDF with reprocessed uranium fuel
Urenco to enrich reprocessed uranium
The "high value and long-term" contract covers the enrichment of uranium recovered from nuclear fuel that has been previously used and reprocessed. "The technical complexities of enriching this material will involve expertise from across Urenco and upgrading our facilities," the company said yesterday. The announcement is linked to a contract signed in April by Framatome and EDF, under which Framatome is to design, fabricate and supply fuel assemblies using enriched reprocessed uranium to EDF between 2023 and 2032. Urenco operates plants in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA using its own centrifuge technology to enrich uranium for use in civil nuclear fuel. Dominic Kieran, the company's chief commercial officer, said it was proud to be part of EDF's endeavour to recycle used nuclear fuel. "It is a significant step in further proving the sustainability of nuclear energy and a testimony to Urenco's technical capabilities," he said.