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Restart of Phénix fast breeder reactor

Brief

June 19, 2003

Shut down for revamping since November 1999 to bring it into compliance with seismic and other standards, the Phénix fast breeder reactor at Marcoule restarted last Sunday. "Phénix is the only experimental facility in Europe capable of long-lived waste transmutation experiments under representative conditions," says the CEA. Transmutation involves reconverting long-lived radioisotopes into short-lived or stable isotopes via a neutron-induced nuclear reaction to reduce their radiotoxicity. Phénix will operate until its scheduled decommissioning date of 2008.