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AREVA has completed clean-up and dismantling operations on the facilities belonging to the former MOX fuel fabrication plant in Cadarache (Bouches-du-Rhône). Around 60 emptied process areas have thus been able to handed back to the CEA, which is the operator of the nuclear site.
The unprecedented scale of the project makes it one of the largest dismantling projects in the world. The operations which began in 2009, after 40 years of industrial service (1962-2003), concerned two basic nuclear installations, the "Plutonium Technology Workshops" (ATPu) and the "Chemical Purification Laboratory" (LPC). At the peak of activity, they mobilized as many as 300 employees of AREVA and its partner companies. In total, more than 460 "glove boxes" (sealed enclosures for the handling of radioactive materials), 30 tanks and 4 km of pipework were disassembled, cut and then packaged and evacuated safely.
Alain Vandercruyssen, Senior Executive Vice President, Dismantling and Services Business Unit, comments "AREVA has demonstrated its capacity to carry out complex clean-up and dismantling operations. The innovations and the methods for working in highly radioactive zones that we've developed in Cadarache are all assets that AREVA can now build into its offer for its customers in France and abroad."