Russia's Rosatom, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and EDF have signed a joint declaration of intent to develop their long-term R&D collaboration in the field of civil nuclear power. 

The declaration states an experimentation at laboratory scale, involving all the steps required to recycle second-generation plutonium from spent mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, in Generation IV fast reactors.

This second-generation plutonium will be used to fabricate experimental fuel pellets. These pellets will then be irradiated simultaneously, in the same experimental rig, in a research fast neutron reactor, starting from mid-2020s.

Rosatom said the R&D collaboration aims to demonstrate the possibility to recycle valuable materials from current generation of light-water reactors MOX fuels in fast neutron reactors. "This would contribute to significantly increase the sustainability of the nuclear power industry." 

Strategic cooperation with Framatome 

Rosatom and Framatome also signed a new Strategic Cooperation Agreement further expanding the companies’ efforts to develop fuel fabrication and instrumentation and control (I&C) technologies. Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, and Bernard Fontana, CEO of Framatome signed the agreement during WNE2021 in Paris. 

“By working closely with our industrial partner Rosatom, we strengthen our contributions for safe and reliable generation of clean energy generated by our customers nuclear operating plants,” said Fontana. “Together, we build on our expertise for maintaining operations for the existing nuclear fleet and preparing for the next generation of nuclear energy.” 

“Together with Framatome, we are creating a solid foundation for developing high-quality nuclear energy solutions within the scope of current and future areas for collaboration,” said Likhachey. “Today, the world has finally recognized that it is impossible to achieve carbon neutrality without nuclear generation. Therefore, we must hasten our collective efforts towards achieving global decarbonization goals.”

The new agreement expands the companies’ existing relationship, established through a 2017 memorandum of understanding, creating a framework for joint work in new areas.