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Shipments of MOX fuel from Hanau to La Hague

Press release

February 16, 2001

All shipments of MOX fuel between Hanau and La Hague have been made in full compliance with the law. In addition to the text posted on its Internet site on 14 February (Shipments of nuclear materials between France and Germany and the reprocessing of MOX fuels from Hanau), COGEMA wants everyone to be aware of the official documents that confirm the absolute legality of these operations.

  • In a press release on 15 February 2001, the German environment minister noted: "The shipments were neither illegal nor secret. The necessity for these shipments was discussed publicly during the inquiry procedure, in which the public took part, concerning the closing of the [Hanau] plant in October 1996. ( . . .) these shipments were authorized by the Federal Office of Radiological Protection (BfS) and made according to national and international security and safety standards." (translated from the original).
  • In a letter (DSIN-FAR/SR1/No.10488/99) dated 27 April 1999, concerning the authorization to take delivery of, unload and store a consignment of non-irradiated MOX fuel conditioned in 16x16 assemblies coming from the Hanau plant in Germany, the Nuclear Installation Safety Directorate (DSIN) stated: "Following the examination of this matter by my department and its technical staff, I hereby authorize you to take delivery of, unload and store in the NPH workshop the aforementioned consignment of non-irradiate MOX fuel assemblies, in the manner described in the safety documents." (translated from the French).
  • In a press release dated 16 February 2001, the German environment minister indicated that he had been informed by the DSIN that the La Hague plant was fully competent to reprocess these materials: "The DSIN declares that the UP2-400 plant is authorized to reprocess MOX fuel." (translated from the original). All of these elements were referred to again in a press release dated 16 February 2001, issued by the state secretary for industry in France:"These materials are in no way irradiated fuel (that is, fuel already 'burned' in a nuclear power plant), and still less are they wastes.

Therefore, they absolutely do not fall in the category of the irradiated-fuel shipments from Germany to France that were temporarily suspended and that have been resumed under an agreement between the French and German governments concluded on 30 January visu_comurhex_historique_2001_fr.jpg". "As a consequence, these materials were brought from Hanau to La Hague in four consignments, between the months of July and September 2000, in full legality and with full transparency on both the French and German sides".

 "The State Secretary for Industry wishes to recall that in response to a request from COGEMA dated 29 January 1999, the safety authority - the DSIN - gave its authorization on 27 April 1999 for the La Hague plant to take delivery of, unload and store these materials. This authorization is public information; it is mentioned in the DSIN's report on operations for 1999 as well as by the magazine Contrôle in its June 1999 issue. These documents have been widely distributed, and they are supplied on request. These authorizations have thus been issued in a transparent manner, in accordance with the legislation and regulations in force".

"Recycling this consignment of materials from Hanau in the UP2-400 workshop at La Hague is entirely legal: the legal status of this facility permits it. All that is required when the time comes to actually recycle this fuel is a special authorization, issued by the Safety Authority".

"COGEMA is thus in no way in violation of the 1991 law or of any other legislation or regulations in force concerning this matter. When this contract has been performed, the recycled MOX fuel and the wastes from this recycling will be returned to the German electric utilities". (translated from the French) .