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Sixth shipment of vitrified residues to leave Europe to Japan

Press release

December 18, 2000

This shipment comes within the framework of the contracts signed in 1977 and 1978 between ten Japanese electric utilities and COGEMA and BNFL for the reprocessing of Japanese spent nuclear fuel.

This type of shipment results from the completion of several operations which started some 20 years ago:

  • transport from Japan to Europe of Japanese spent nuclear fuel,
  • reprocessing of this fuel in France and in the UK,
  • and finally return shipment to their country of origin of the vitrified residues sorted out by reprocessing operations.

Reprocessing spent nuclear fuel recovers 97 % of valuable, reusable materials and separates out the remaining 3 % which is ultimate waste. The waste is conditioned by turning it into a solid glass form by a process called vitrification.  The first return shipment of vitrified residues was carried out in 1995. Four other shipments were performed respectively in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

According to the communication policy decided and previously implemented by industrial companies from the three countries involved (France, Japan, and UK), we herewith communicate that eight casks containing 192 canisters of vitrified residues will be loaded on the "Pacific Swan". This PNTL ship will leave the port of Cherbourg in France on Tuesday December 19th, 2000 .

In Cherbourg, a press meeting point will be opened at the Mercure Hotel from 6 am on Tuesday December 19th. The route will be communicated one day after the departure of the ship.