Note especially the part near the end :
the utility has decided to leave the Superphenix cores-which it stressed "are not waste but constitute an energy reserve for the future"-in storage for more than two decades. "Reprocessing of the fuel...and its eventual use in future reactors using plutonium will be envisaged around 2020-2030, as a function of the government's energy policy choices," the utility said in a fact sheet.
Officials clarified this was a reference not to the advanced EPR PWR, but rather to fourth-generation reactors, notably fast reactors, that are being envisaged for the 2035-2040 time frame.
....so that by the time they are near to completion of the dismantling the Superphénix plant, they will be starting the construction of other fast reactors.
Brilliant, huh ? (even beats the US's FFTF policy....)
NUCLEONICS WEEK APRIL 29, 2004
EDF begins process to license
dismantling of Superphenix
A public inquiry began this week into Electricite de
France's (EDF) application to modify its Superphenix breeder
installation at Creys-Malville as the plant enters its second
and definitive decommissioning phase.
EDF is asking for a license to completely dismantle the
plant, beginning with processing of 5,500 metric tons (MT)
of sodium contained in its primary circuit into blocks of
concrete and ending with greenfield status around 2025.
It is also applying to change the administrative status of APEC
(Atelier pour l'Evacuation du Combustible), the fuel pool
built next to the plant which will now serve to interim-store
two full cores of Superphenix uranium-plutonium fuel, one
of them fresh, for a projected 30 years.
Because the main plant will be dismantled but APEC will
keep operating, EDF is also asking for administrative transfer
of Creys-Malville's effluent treatment station, release monitoring
station, release stack, and a new pumping station to
the APEC license. In a separate application that is also subject
to public inquiry, EDF is asking to renew its licenses for
releases and for water intake, which will need to be valid as
long as APEC is operating.
Under French law, the inquiry is conducted in communities
close to the plant site, but EDF said in a brochure that
anybody, even from foreign countries, could write to the
inquiry commission with comments. The inquiry is scheduled
for one month, with extension possible for another 15
days. EDF hopes to get the licenses by the end of the year.
The entire decommissioning operation is projected to
cost 880-million euros (about U.S.$1.05-billion), slightly less
than was projected a few years ago, thanks to more precise
estimates drawn up by EDF's decommissioning engineering
center, Ciden, said station communications manager
Catherine Yazbek. Besides the decommissioning expenditure,
EDF projects spending Eur 577.8-million on "post-operational"
costs. The total of Eur 1.5-billion for post-operational
and "deconstruction" costs includes Eur 630-million
for reimbursement of remaining debt and Eur 440-million
for reprocessing of both cores, EDF said.
Since the station was closed by political diktat in
December 1998, EDF has been working under a hastily prepared
"definitive closure" license issued Dec. 30, 1998. But it
was always understood that the utility would have to apply
for a second decommissioning license to cover the final steps of the process.
The 1998 license did authorize emptying and interim
storage of sodium on site, but in the meantime EDF has
changed its strategy, accelerating the pace of the decommissioning
program for its eight first-generation reactors and
Superphenix and deciding to bring all of them to completion
by around 2025. The utility set up Ciden to design and
manage that work for the nine reactors, with the result that
the first eight are expected to reach the IAEA's Level 2
decommissioning status (dismantling of all but primary
buildings) by this year or next, and Creys-Malville by 2012.
That will be achieved by the plan to treat all the sodium
from the reactor's piping and main vessel using a special
process developed by the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique
(CEA), validated at Cadarache in 1993, and currently used
by the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority for its Dounreay site.
The sodium will be pumped out of the vessel, transformed
into soda, and incorporated into concrete blocks for interim
storage on the site. About 36,700 cubic meters of concrete
weighing 70,000 MT will be stored pending radioactive
decay and off-site shipment, in theory to Andra's very lowlevel
waste disposal center, at the end of the Superphenix dismantling work.
The sodium treatment is expected to be finished by 2010,
and processing of cold traps by 2012, Yazbek said. Once the
vessel is clean, between 2010 and 2020, EDF teams and contractors
will tackle the dismantling of the reactor block
itself, via remotely controlled equipment. The two concentric
vessels and other components will be cut up and put in
containers and stored temporarily on or off site. A relatively
small quantity of more active waste will be placed in APEC
to allow radioactive decay.
Final demolition of the buildings, to a greenfield status
for this part of the site, is scheduled between 2020 and 2025.
APEC, however, will continue operating beyond that
date; EDF is projecting 30 years' operation for the fuel storage
pool and associated dry storage areas where, for example,
dummy steel elements and control rods can be kept in appropriate packaging.
The entire first core of Creys-Malville has been discharged
into APEC, with the last element being unloaded
last year. There is also half a fresh core, which had been
delivered to the site before the station ran into technical and
But the other half-core, currently in storage at the
Cogema Cadarache mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel plant where it
was fabricated years ago, will be transferred to Creys-Malville
as soon as the licenses are obtained, Yazbek said. The
Cadarache plant is also slated for decommissioning soon; it
has stopped commercial production and is currently fabricating scrap MOX rods.
EDF said it had decided against defabricating the fresh
fuel elements, because "there is no urgent energy need" for
the recovered uranium and plutonium and because "safety
is better guaranteed" by monitoring the fuel in the APEC pool.
Instead, the utility has decided to leave the Superphenix
cores-which it stressed "are not waste but constitute an
energy reserve for the future"-in storage for more than two
decades. "Reprocessing of the fuel...and its eventual use in
future reactors using plutonium will be envisaged around
2020-2030, as a function of the government's energy policy
choices," the utility said in a fact sheet.
Officials clarified this was a reference not to the
advanced EPR PWR, but rather to fourth-generation reactors,
notably fast reactors, that are being envisaged for the 2035-2040 time frame.
All services necessary to maintain the fuel will be kept
operating, EDF said, and "monitoring of the fuel and maintenance
of the installations will be ensured for the entire
duration of storage of the fuel subassemblies."
-Ann MacLachlan, Paris