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France’s Regulator Criticises Areva Over Waste Management At La Hague via NucNet

22 Jan (NucNet): Deadlines for the retrieval and packaging of legacy radioactive waste at Areva’s La Hague reprocessing facility in northern France have slipped, with the country’s regulator issuing a new decision to compel Areva to guarantee compliance.

The French nuclear safety authority ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire) said in a statement that the waste, which has “significant nuclear safety and radiation protection implications”, results from the activities of a spent fuel reprocessing plant known as UP2-400 between 1966 and 1998.

The waste is currently stored in the La Hague facility in conditions that require retrieval and repackaging, ASN said.

Because of its physicochemical and radiological nature, and the current storage conditions, retrieval and packaging operations for the waste must carried out according to a rigid timetable.

ASN said Areva undertook to retrieve and package the waste, but there had been “successive delays”, despite the nuclear safety and radiation protection implications. “These delays… lead to the continued storage of legacy waste in unsatisfactory conditions of safety,” ASN said.

[…]

According to Areva, La Hague, about 25km west of Cherbourg, provides the first stage in the recycling of used fuel taken from nuclear reactors. Areva said the facility employs more than 6,000 people and is “the leading industrial centre of its kind”.

The facility can process used fuel from 80 to 100 nuclear reactors a year, amounting to 1,700 tonnes.

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