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The Zirconium Division, dedicated to zirconium, key component of the nuclear fuel

Compacting of zirconium sponge, Ugine

The Zirconium Division is a key component of the nuclear fuel cycle. The Zirconium Division is fully integrated in the manufacturing of Zirconium for complete mastering of the final product and performance.

  • From ore sand to finished tubing,
  • Integrated in the Fuel supply chain, 
  • R&D facility for material research and process modeling.

The Zirconium Division, the global leader on the zirconium market, produces zirconium alloy tubes, bars, and sheets for pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs) .

Its operations are shared among five sites in France: Jarrie (Isère), Ugine (Savoie), Montreuil-Juigné (Maine-et-Loire), Paimboeuf (Loire-Atlantique) and Rugles (Eure) as well as in China and in Japan with two joint ventures.

  • JARRIE plant manufactures zirconium sponge through chemical operations and extractible metallurgical processes. It also values derived products issued from the zirconium process such as hafnium salt, magnesium and silicium, as well as zirconium and hafnium oxides and highly pure hafnium.
  • Ugine plant will turn Zr sponge into a Zirconium alloy semifinished product. Main operations are melting, forging, extrusion and recycling. Outputs are extruded billets, slabs and bars.
  • Rugles plant rolls (hot and cold) the slab to coils and strips for the structure of the fuel assembly.
  • Montreuil-Juigné plant transforms extruded billets into an extruded tube, the trex.
  • Paimboeuf plants pilder mills the Trex as a fuel rod (claddings and guide tubes). Paimboeuf plant also makes zirconium bars for end caps.
  • The Zirconium Division has its own R&D center (“CRC”) located in Ugine, France. This center is  dedicated to R&D on Zirconium alloys, focusing on process and metallurgy :. It is the cornerstore of innovation and is known worldwide.


Zirconium is currently the reference material for nuclear fuel assemblies, for pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs),. This is due to their exceptional transparency to neutrons and corrosion-resistant properties.

The Zirconium Division

10 rue Juliette Récamier
69456 Lyon Cedex
Tél  : +33 4 72 74 82 21