Urenco tails plant to start up in 2018

01 September 2017

Uranium enrichment company Urenco yesterday said it expects to commission the Tails Management Facility (TMF) at Capenhurst in the UK in 2018, after construction delays. The facility, to deconvert depleted uranium hexafluoride tails, had previously been expected to enter service this year.

The TMF will treat depleted uranium tails, a by-product of the enrichment process, by converting them from uranium hexafluoride into more chemically stable uranium oxide. Urenco's board approved the construction of the facility, comprising a tails deconversion facility and a number of associated storage, maintenance and residue processing facilities, in 2009. By March 2014 the company was anticipating operations to begin by the end of 2015. This date was subsequently revised to 2017.

Announcing the company's half-year results yesterday Urenco Chief Executive Thomas Haeberle said: "Our commitment to responsible uranium stewardship is evidenced by our investment in the TMF at our UK site. However, the TMF has experienced further construction delays and we now anticipate commissioning in late 2018. A comprehensive review of the project undertaken in H1 2017 indicates higher final construction costs."

The Urenco Group invested €151.2 million ($179.5 million) in the first half of 2017, 71% of which was associated with the TMF.

Haeberle said the company had delivered a "strong operational performance" in the period compared to the first half of 2016, with an increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) reflecting an increased level of sales, lower operating costs and reduced net charges for nuclear provisions. He said the company's financial results continued to be supported by a "long established order book that extends into the second half of the next decade".

"Despite the strong performance in the first six months of 2017, the enrichment market remains challenging and this is having an impact on our new contracts," he said.

Urenco operates plants in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA using its own centrifuge technology to enrich uranium for the use as a nuclear fuel for civil power generation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News