Australian news, and some related international items

High level nuclear wastes returned from France to Australia are not actually wastes of Australian origin

Orano explains about foreign nuclear waste

The 2017 report on the treatment of spent fuels from abroad gave rise to a debate on Thursday October 4 before the local information committee of Orano la Hague.Posted on 4 Oct 18   Without waiting for October 16 and the decision of the Judge of the Court of Cherbourg , which will rule in the dispute between Greenpeace and Orano , the issue of spent fuels Australian was on the agenda of the meeting of the local commission of information from Orano la Hague, this Thursday, October 4th.

“All the waste goes back to their country”Orano first presented its 2017 report on the treatment of spent fuels from abroad. These fuels, not yet treated, they represent only 0.4% of the 9 970 tonnes present at the end of last year in the pools of the establishment of La Hague.

Most of the fuel is actually owned by EDF. Less than 40 tonnes belong to Belgian, Italian and Dutch electricians.

And René Charbonnier, the deputy director of Orano, the hammer:

The principle is that all the ultimate waste goes back to their country.

Paid storageA principle that Greenpeace readily accepts. But the leader of the nuclear campaign Yannick Rousselet believes however that some of this foreign waste remain on the site well beyond the industrial process.

He cites the example of Germany, for which the date of return of compacted waste, fixed by contract, is exceeded. Or Spain, where the deadline was December 21, 2011. Since then, Spanish electricians pay compensation.

If he does not mention any amount, the deputy director of Orano confirms:

The principle, I repeat, is the return of waste to their country. We obviously discuss with our customers. But when it lasts too much, we charge for storage.

The difficulty, says Greenpeace on the eve of a public debate on the national plan for radioactive materials and waste management , is that these countries have no or little solution for storing final waste.

No Mox for Australia

This is not the case of Australia . A first contract, signed in 1999 between Orano and the Australian agency Ansto, gave rise in 2015 to a first return of this waste. A new contract was awarded in 2016 .

It is in this context that 2 tonnes of spent fuel – 236 elements from the Opal research reactor – were landed on September 14 in Cherbourg .

Australia does not have a reactor that can run on Mox fuel from reprocessing. Under the terms of this contract, to which Greenpeace seeks legal access, uranium and plutonium, which account for 92% of the material weight, are purchased by Orano and reused to manufacture Mox.

As for the ultimate waste, they are vitrified with others. Yannick Rousselet observes:

It is not actually the initial material that is returned, but the equivalent in weight and radioactivity. Orano has it on the shelf, and could have sent it back immediately.Orano agrees: “Yes,” replied René Charbonnier. 

October 6, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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