France’s Framatome said on 6 October that it had opened its $20 million uranium recovery facility at its US fuel manufacturing site in Richland, Washington. After nearly three years of construction, the 11,000-square-foot uranium recovery building is home to advanced processes and technologies that recover uranium from manufacturing feed streams and convert the material to uranium dioxide powder to be reused in the fuel fabrication process. Framatome said the new building also provides enhanced safety features and ergonomics for additional operator protection.
“This new facility, along with capital investments at our fuel facilities in Romans, France, and Lingen, Germany, demonstrates our commitment to continually enhance and expand our capabilities to better serve our customers around the world,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president, Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “Our new and upgraded equipment allows our team to recover and process scrapped uranium more efficiently, adding value for our customers.”
Framatome’s Richland facility manufactures nuclear fuel and fuel-related products and employs almost 550 people. Commission (NRC). The site celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Over that period, it produced more than 66 000 nuclear fuel assemblies. The safety record for the entire site has been recognised by NRC. For 12 consecutive years the Richland facility has been declared by NRC as having “no area needing improvement”. In 2009, the NRC granted Framatome Richland the first ever 40-year nuclear fuel fabrication licence extension in the US.