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Nuclear fuel reprocessing

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AREVA NC in La Hague is the world's leading industrial centre for the reprocessing and recycling of used fuel
AREVA NC is also involved in development and re-use
Over 5,000 direct jobs, 3,100 of them with AREVA NC
Around 8,000 direct + indirect jobs are associated with the site's activity

AREVA NC in La Hague is located on the north-westerly tip of the Cotentin peninsula, approximately 12 miles to the west of Cherbourg and 4 miles from the extremity of the La Hague headland. The establishment, located on the summit of the Jobourg plateau, at an altitude of 600 feet, occupies the centre and covers a total and enclosed surface area of 220 hectares, plus a further 70 hectares located downhill to the south, in the Moulinets valley.
Inaugurated in 1966, the AREVA NC site in La Hague, the world's leading industrial site of this type, processes used nuclear fuel for recycling; in other words fuel which has been replaced in nuclear power plants. The establishment has the necessary industrial capacity to reprocess 1,700 tonnes of used fuel from 80 to 100 nuclear reactors every year. AREVA NC is consequently the world leader in nuclear fuel reprocessing.
Since its entry into service in 1966, the site has processed over 25,000 tonnes of used nuclear fuel.
Once unloaded from the reactor, used nuclear fuel contains:
- 96% of recyclable matter: 95% of uranium and 1% of plutonium, which can be re-used to produce electricity
- only 4% of waste (fission products and minor actinides).
Reprocessing, the first stage in recycling, is a subcontracted service. Throughout the process, the nuclear matter present in used fuel remains the property of AREVA NC's clients.
AREVA NC receives used fuel from French and foreign electricity companies.
The recyclable matter and final waste received from foreign electricity companies are returned to their countries of origin.
French waste is kept on site pending final storage
Recycling recovered nuclear matter (uranium and plutonium) enables:
- an economy of up to 25% of our needs in natural uranium
- a reduction in the volume and toxicity of final waste
Recycling activity relies on the production of MOX*, plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel. When recycled in a MOX fuel, one gramme of plutonium produces the same energy as one tonne of liquid fuel.

Regional economic impact in 2009:
Direct jobs: Over 5,000 direct jobs, 3,100 of them with AREVA NC
Jobs associated with the site's activity (direct + indirect): around 8,000 jobs
Investments/purchasing: €365 million, of which 70% originate from regional suppliers
Gross professional tax: €128 million
A massive contract between EDF and AREVA NV La Hague (signed in December 2008): this agreement guarantees the reprocessing of some 1,050 tonnes of fuel per year, from 2010 up to 2040! It consequently secures the site's longevity and its 3,100 jobs.

(*) MOX: MOX is a nuclear fuel comprised of plutonium oxide recovered during the reprocessing of fuel used in the La Hague plant and of uranium oxide.

  • Schéma
  • Vitrification des déchets nucléaires
  • Traitement combustible nucleaire use
  • Nucléaire : entreposage des déchets
  • Projet EPR-AREVA Flamanville