EURODIF’s Georges Besse enrichment plant, located in the Tricastin site in France and operated by AREVA, permanently ceased production after 33 years of operation.
The enrichment plant, which used the gaseous diffusion process, had been winding down since mid-2011 as its replacement, based on centrifuge technology, ramped up.
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.
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.
The remaining large-scale gas centrifuge-based enrichment plants include the 8 million SWU/yr Paducah plant in the USA, which recently signed a one-year life extension, and Rosatom’s 27.6 million SWU/yr production (total) at four plants: Ekaterinburg, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk and Angarsk.