AREVA logo

7th return of vitrified residues to Japan

Press release

December 03, 2001

A seventh shipment of vitrified residues from COGEMA-laHague will leave Cherbourg to Japan on December the 5th, 2001. 6 casks containing 152 canisters of vitrified residues will be loaded on the Pacific Sandpiper. Reprocessing used nuclear fuel recovers 97% of valuable, reusable material and separates out the remaining 3%, which is waste. The waste is conditioned by turning it into a solid glass form by a process called vitrification.

This type of shipment follows the completion of different operations and is part of the contracts signed between the Japanese electric utilities, COGEMA and BNFL for the reprocessing of Japanese spent nuclear fuel:

  • Transport from Japan to Europe of Japanese spent nuclear fuel,
  • Reprocessing of this fuel in France & in the UK,
  • And finally return shipment to the country of origin of the vitrified residues separated by reprocessing operations.

The first return shipment of vitrified residues was carried out in 1995. Five other were performed respectively in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The three partners (COGEMA, BNFL and ORC) have scheduled one shipment of vitrified residues a year, in average in the forthcoming years.  The reprocessing operations and the shipments of both spent fuel and vitrified residues comply with national and international regulations.

The ships transporting the materials have travelled over four millions miles without a single incident involving the release of radioactive material.  In Cherbourg, a media welcome will be organised at the hotel Mercure on the 5/12/01 from  7 h 00 am.  The route used and the approximate date of arrival to Japan will be released on the day of departure.