EURODIF’s uranium enrichment plant ceases production permanently
OPERATIONS / FRONT-END
June 07, 2012
Today, after 33 years of uninterrupted operation, EURODIF’s Georges Besse enrichment plant, located in the Tricastin site in France’s Drôme department and operated by AREVA, permanently ceased production at the end of the shutdown process begun last May 14.
The EURODIF plant has been a showpiece in the global market for uranium ever since it was commissioned in 1979. Using the gaseous diffusion process, the most efficient enrichment technology at the time it was built, the site met demand from nearly 100 nuclear reactors around the world, the equivalent of one quarter of world demand.
AREVA invested more than 3 billion euros in recent years in the new Georges Besse II site to take over from EURODIF’s historic Georges Besse plant. The new plant has been in production since April 2011 using the centrifugation enrichment technology, which consumes 50 times less electricity and considerably reduces cooling water requirements. Already deployed in other European plants, this technology is both proven and efficient.
The Georges Besse II plant has already reached an installed capacity of more than 1.5 million SWU* per year; it will achieve its full production capacity of 7.5 million SWU per year in 2016.
Michael McMurphy, Senior Executive Vice President of the AREVA Group's Front End operations said: “The transition between the EURODIF and Georges Besse II plants is a high point of AREVA’s industrial history. Our major investment in this new production tool strengthens our position on the international enrichment market, where the group has already signed several strategic long-term agreements.”
* Separative Work Unit, a unit of measure for enrichment operations