Areva has begun producing mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for use in the Borssele nuclear power plant in the Netherlands. It will mark the country's first use of such fuel.
Dutch utility EPZ decided in 2008 to diversify its nuclear fuel supply and selected Areva to fabricate MOX fuel for the Borssele plant, comprising a 500 MWe pressurized water reactor.
The company submitted an application to the Netherlands Ministry of Environment for permission to use MOX (with 5.4% fissile plutonium content) as 40% of the fuel load. Its plan was approved by the government in June 2011. Earlier this year, the Dutch government issued a licence to EPZ to load eight MOX fuel assemblies into the Borssele reactor in 2014 and then twelve further assemblies each subsequent year.
Areva has now announced that production of the MOX fuel for Borssele began last month at its Melox plant in southern France.
EPZ has sent used fuel from Borssele to Areva's La Hague reprocessing facility in northern France for the almost the past 30 years. A contract exists to continue this until 2015. So far some 375 tonnes of used fuel from Borssele has been reprocessed.
Areva noted that the Netherlands will become the seventh country to use or to have used MOX fuel in its nuclear power reactors, the others including Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News