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Nuclear fuel cycle installations


Chapter 13

  1. Main installations in operation
    1. The uranium conversion, processing and enrichment plants in operation at Tricastin
      1. Areva NC TU5 facility and W plant
      2. The uranium isotopes gaseous diffusion separation plant (Eurodif)
      3. The Georges Besse II ultracentrifugation enrichment plant project
    2. Nuclear fuel fabrication plants in Romans-sur-Isère and Marcoule
      1. The FBFC and CERCA uranium-based fuel fabrication plants
      2. The Mélox uranium and plutonium based fuel fabrication plant in Marcoule
    3. Areva NC reprocessing plants at la hague
      1. Presentation
      2. Plant modifications
  2. Installations in closure phase
    1. Older areva NC la Hague installations
      1. Recovery of legacy waste
      2. Final shutdown of the up400 plants and the stefacility
    2. Comurhex: the uranium hexafluoride (UF6) fabrication plant in Pierrelatte
  3. Regulating the nuclear fuel cycle facilities
    1. Regulating the main steps in the life of nuclear facilities
    1. Ensuring the consistency of the cycle
    2. Overseeing licensee organisation
    3. Promoting operating experience feedback
      1. Dealing with incidents
      2. Taking account of organisational and human factors
      3. Maintenance
      4. Controlling sub-criticality
  4. International action
  5. Outlook

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a) Cross-disciplinary aspects

In 2009, the fuel cycle installations experienced a number of incidents highlighting weaknesses in the organisation of safety and radiation protection in the AREVA group installations. ASN will be particularly vigilant in the coming years to operating experience feedback concerning these incidents. ASN informed the AREVA group management of its concerns on this subject: ASN expects greater stringency in compliance with notification criteria and the event report transmission deadlines, plus more rigorous implementation of the measures required to prevent events happening again. ASN also initiated an overall review of the safety and radiation protection management process within the AREVA group.

In 2010, ASN will continue the action started in 2009 for improved management of the current and future authorisation applications and the planned periodic safety reviews, if necessary resorting to specific individual requirements. In 2010, it will systematically adopt this process of specific individual requirements.


b) Tricastin site

Although ASN approves of the changes made on the Tricastin site, which involve shutting down the older facilities and replacing them by safer ones, it is worried by the recent postponement of certain projects felt to be essential, such as that concerning the site's effluent and waste treatment stations. In 2010, pollution prevention will remain a major issue for this site. ASN will verify the progress of the remedial measures implemented by the various facilities.

Finally, ASN will ensure that preparation for the shutdown of the EURODIF plants takes place in the conditions specified in the TSN Act, including with regard to communication with the public.


c) Romans-sur-Isère site

On the Romans-sur-Isère, ASN will in 2010 closely monitor confirmation of the progress already achieved in terms of safety. It in particular expects improved management of the waste areas. It will also be focusing on the actions taken following the safety reassessment of the facilities belonging to the CERCA company.


c) MÉLOX plant

With regard to the MÉLOX plant in Marcoule, ASN will remain closely attentive to the organisation and resources implemented to boost the production capacity of the industrial tool and support the changes in the materials used. Control of dosimetry and the ability to prevent risks related to human factors will remain regulation priorities.

Finally, inadequacies in criticality risk management, including with regard to the working of the nuclear material masses monitoring software, were brought to light by the incidents of 2008 and 2009. ASN will thus be vigilant with respect to handling of this risk, in particular during the periodic safety review of the facility scheduled for 2010-2011.


d) La Hague site

For the La Hague plants, ASN considers the results to be satisfactory, including with respect to personnel exposure. However, ASN does believe that continued efforts are needed, in particular for the periodic safety reviews of the facilities, drafting of the general operating rules and defining of the EIS. Moreover, a number of significant events highlighted a certain lack of stringency in operation of the units.

With regard to the recovery of legacy waste, ASN is worried about AREVA NC's strategy U-turns, which are significantly delaying the recovery and removal of waste from the 130 and HAO silos. There again, ASN will ensure that there is no further slippage in the schedule.

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