France's nuclear safety authority, the DSIN has given two new facilities - a hull and end-pieces compacting facility (ACC) and plutonium purification and conditioning plant (R4) - at Cogema's La Hague reprocessing plant the go-ahead to start operations.
The first plutonium solutions were transferred to the R4 plant in December 2002. Cogema said that it would bring the facility into service progressively, once additional authorisation has been granted.
With a reprocessing capacity of 80kg plutonium/day, R4 will ultimately replace the medium-level plutonium installation in the UP2 400 plant. It will be the last facility in the UP2 800 reprocessing chain to go into operation.
The first drum of materials destined for treatment at the ACC plant also arrived in December. Cogema said that under normal conditions the ACC plant should produce about 2000 packages a year for return shipment to French and foreign clients. It will reduce the volume of waste by a factor of five and lower the overall cycle-back-end-cost by standardising the packaging, handling and transport of the final wastes.