GBII on schedule for start-up in 2009

30 September 2009

The first centrifuge cascade at the new Georges Besse II uranium enrichment plan “will begin spinning at the end of the year”, Areva has announced. Full production capacity of 7.5 million SWU per year at the plant is targeted for 2016.

Areva said 29 September that full testing of Georges Besse II has entered its final phase and will be completed in early November 2009.

The French firm said that work is proceeding according to plan, despite the unforeseeable complications that are common to any project of this magnitude. Areva recently discovered anomalies in inspections of a certain number of non-conforming welds on a system in the South unit of the plant, made under the responsibility of the Fives Nordon company. A corrective action plan was rolled out immediately to repair the welds in question. The non-conformances had no impact on the facility’s compliance with safety requirements, as recently confirmed by the Nuclear Safety Authority.

Located at the Tricastin nuclear site between the Drôme and Vaucluse departments, the plant, which has been under construction for three years, will ultimately consist of two enrichment units. Thanks to its modular structure, overall production will reach 7.5 million separative work units (SWU) per year in 2016, two years ahead of the date initially forecast.

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