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Ninth return of vitrified residues to Japan

Press release

January 16, 2004

A ninth shipment of vitrified residues to Japan will leave Cherbourg on January, 19, 2004. Five casks containing 132 canisters of vitrified residues will be loaded on the Pacific Sandpiper.

Reprocessing used nuclear fuel recovers 97% of valuable, reusable material and separates out the remaining 3%, which is waste. The waste is conditioned by turning it into a solid glass form by a process called vitrification.

This type of shipment follows the completion of different operations and is part of the contracts signed between the Japanese electric utilities, COGEMA and BNFL for the reprocessing of Japanese spent nuclear fuel:

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

The first return shipment of vitrified residues was carried out in 1995. Seven others were performed between 1997 and 2003. The three partners (COGEMA, BNFL and ORC) have scheduled one shipment of vitrified residues a year, in average, in the forthcoming years.

The reprocessing operations and the shipments of both spent fuel and vitrified residues comply with national and international regulations.
The ships transporting the materials have travelled over four millions miles without a single incident involving the release of radioactive material.

In Cherbourg, media and press representatives will be welcomed by COGEMA at the Cherbourg Mercure hotel*, from 06:20 AM, for being transported and accompanied collectively to the harbour berthing area. A press briefing will take place at the Mercure hotel at 09:00 AM, and will be followed by a tour to the harbour loading operations area.

The route used and the approximate date of arrival to Japan will be released following the departure.

More details on the operations of BNFL, COGEMA and ORC and the transport of nuclear materials can be gained by accessing the following websites: -

Read special issues : Return shipment of vitrified residues from France to Japan

COGEMA point of contact
Mrs Laurence PERNOT : (33) 2 33 02 63 22 / (33) 680 93 69 93

COGEMA Logistics point of contact
Mr Henry-Jacques NEAU : (33) 1 39 48 76 94 / (33) 607 58 55 38

* Hotel Mercure
Gare Maritime
50100 Cherbourg
Tel : (33) 233 44 01 11