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Impending arrival of the fourth shipment of research reactor spent fuel from Australia to France

Press release

January 04, 2005

The shipment of spent fuel from the HIFAR research reactor exploited by ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation), that left Botany Bay (Australia) last 22nd of November, is expected to arrive at the COGEMA Logistics port facilities in Cherbourg (France) on January 5th, 2005 around 7:00 am.

Three similar spent fuel shipments to the COGEMA La Hague plant have already been implemented. This series of transports is operated within the framework of a contract signed by ANSTO and COGEMA in January 1999. It meets Australian Government’s will to reduce the volume of spent fuel stored at the Lucas Heights site (Australia).

This transport operation involves 276 spent fuel elements. These elements, which stand for seven years of HIFAR research reactor operation – that is to say, several millions of medical treatments –, have left Australia on board a specially chartered ship (Panthera) that has been designed to transport nuclear materials in compliance with the international regulations in force. The five casks used for this transport guarantee the confinement of shipped materials, even in extreme, severe conditions.

Once unloaded from the ship, the transport casks will be loaded onto some dedicated trucks to be transferred to the COGEMA La Hague plant.

A press briefing will be held at the port of Cherbourg on January 5th, 2005 at 7:00 am (transfer by bus from the hotel Mercure at 6:30 am).

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