With competition stiffening in the growth market of dismantling, AREVA is, more than ever, emerging as a leading player in this segment. A specialist in both nuclear construction and nuclear deconstruction, it is in the forefront of work orchestrated by the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA) at the Marcoule site. AREVA has been active in this project since industrial operations began in 2006, and it renewed its industrial partnership with the CEA at the end of 2015. The newly signed contract for the 2016-2020 period, valued at 370 million euros, secures AREVA’s historical presence at the Marcoule site.
The cradle of nuclear energy in France
In France, nuclear energy was developed largely at Marcoule. The French government chose this site in 1955 to build the nuclear reactors used to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb as well as the first plutonium recycling plant. It is also here that the CEA developed the graphite gas reactor technology used in the first generation of French nuclear reactors. And it is at the Marcoule site that the second fast neutron reactor, Phénix, was built in 1973 and operated until 2010. Today, most of these facilities are shut down, but they continue to play a crucial role in the future of nuclear power.
That’s because, over time, Marcoule has become a veritable dismantling laboratory. The highly complex operations in progress constantly call for the invention of new processes and technologies that will simplify the dismantling of all types of nuclear facilities in the future.
Our continued collaboration with the CEA at Marcoule is a solid foundation for developing our dismantling know-how. The CEA center at Marcoule is currently hosting some of the world’s most important dismantling projects – in which AREVA will continue to be fully involved – and represents a melting pot for innovation in this segment.
RIANA, born in Marcoule
RIANA is a motor-driven platform that can easily accommodate different modules, depending on the work required. This ability to adapt limits the amount of time operators are present in radioactive areas and allows the site to be mapped more precisely, all of which leads to optimization of dismantling operations.
AREVA at Marcoule
AREVA was the contract operator of the Marcoule facilities from 1976 to 2006. Since then, the CEA has managed the entire site, while AREVA has been a major industrial partner leading the facility cleanup and dismantling program. This mission was confirmed in the new contract for 2016-2020.
Marcoule step by step
Marcoule marked its 60th anniversary in 2015 by celebrating its past while remaining firmly oriented towards the future. Even today, several facilities essential to the nuclear industry are located there, such as the Atalante research laboratory operated by the CEA, the Centraco radioactive waste processing center managed by Socodei (an EDF subsidiary), and AREVA’s MELOX MOX fuel fabrication plant.
AREVA teams work at several of the site’s facilities, both for dismantling and services, including radiological surveillance and project and safety coordination for the CEA, and as an operator of plants and sites placed under the group’s direct authority.