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Updated operating licenses for COGEMA La Hague

Press release

January 07, 2003

New governmental authorizations for a "zero impact" strategy The Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development and the Minister delegated to Industry signed the decrees that form the regulatory framework for the COGEMA La Hague reprocessing plant.

The new decrees will allow COGEMA to make use of 35 years of operational feedback and to better meet its customers' needs. The decrees authorize the treatment of a specified range of fuels (light-water reactor and high burn-up fuels, MOX fuels from light-water and fast-neutron reactors and research reactor fuels) and other materials in the UP2-800 and UP3 units.

They also set the annual capacity of each unit at 1,000 tons of nuclear materials, with no increase in the two installations' total combined capacity of 1,700 tons per year. Reaching a decision on the request to modify the plant's original licenses involved a broad, democratic consultation process.

The government conducted a three-month public inquiry in early 2000 to give all concerned parties an opportunity to express their opinions openly.

Following this procedure, in June 2000, the public inquiry commission voted unanimously in favor of approving the modifications.

Issued along with the revised authorizations, which take into account all the technical progress achieved by COGEMA, was a new departmental order on discharges and water sampling.

Among other things, this order, which replaces existing ones, significantly lowers permitted discharge levels. In this way, the government encourages COGEMA's commitment to the continued reduction of plant discharges, in line with the company's "zero impact" strategy.