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Second return shipment of vitrified waste to Switzerland

Press release

February 14, 2002

Preparations are under way for the shipment of a cask of vitrified waste to the Zwilag interim storage facility in Switzerland. The shipment, the second of its kind, will leave from COGEMA's rail terminal in Valognes sometime after 26 February 2002.

The shipment falls under commercial agreements between COGEMA and Swiss power companies that provide for the shipment to France of some of the spent fuel from Swiss nuclear power plants for reprocessing(1).

The return of vitrified waste from reprocessing is covered by inter-governmental letter agreements between France and Switzerland.

The transportation casks meet the stringent safety standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and nuclear materials transportation is subject to rigorous national and international regulations and procedures that ensure a high level of safety.The shipment date will be confirmed as soon as preparations have been completed.

(1) Reprocessing-recycling is an industrial operation in which energy-rich materials are recovered from spent fuel (96% uranium and 1% plutonium), and final waste (fission products) is separated and immobilized for disposal.