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Enrichment: testing at Georges Besse II enters its final phase

Press release


September 29, 2009

Full testing of the new Georges Besse II uranium enrichment plant has entered its final phase and will be completed in early November 2009, AREVA has announced. It confirms that the first centrifuge cascade will begin spinning at the end of the year, with full production capacity targeted for 2016.

Work is proceeding according to plan, despite the unforeseeable complications that are common to any project of this magnitude. AREVA recently discovered anomalies in inspections of a certain number of non-conforming welds on a system in the South unit of the plant, made under the responsibility of the Fives Nordon company. A corrective action plan was rolled out immediately to repair the welds in question. The non-conformances had no impact on the facility’s compliance with safety requirements, what the Nuclear safety Authority recently confirmed.

Located at the Tricastin nuclear site between the Drôme and Vaucluse departments, the plant, which has been under construction for three years, will ultimately consist of two enrichment units. Thanks to its modular structure, overall production will reach 7.5 million separative work units (SWU) per year in 2016, two years ahead of the date initially forecast. The plant bolsters AREVA’s position as a major player in the global enrichment market, where it supplies nearly one fourth of all enrichment services.