Japan: MOX fuel provides for electricity the first time

Press release


December 03, 2009

The Genkai nuclear plant, operated by Japanese electric power company KYUSHU, on the Kyushu Island, has been producing electricity from AREVA's* MOX fuel since yesterday.

Following the contract signed in 2006 between AREVA* and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI), a first fuel assemblies delivery took place on May 2009. The contract comes as part of Japan's nuclear program to recycle used fuel, and follows contracts signed from 2006 to 2009 with Japanese utilities CHUBU, KYUSHU, SHIKOKU, KANSAI, EPDC and CHUGOKU.

On October 2009 the MOX loading operations took place in unit 3 of the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant followed by restarted power generation tests and gradually increase output for normal operation on December 2nd. This recycled fuel was fabricated on 2008 at AREVA's MELOX plant in southern France using the plutonium recovered from the treatment operations of used fuels performed at AREVA's La Hague plant.

Loading of MOX fuel from AREVA's MELOX plant in Japan is the result of a successful and a 30 year long standing partnership with Japanese utilities. For Jean-Pierre Gros, Executive vice-president Recycling of AREVA, "We are proud to contribute to provide electricity to Japanese citizens for the first time through recyclable fuel MOX which demonstrates its safe, reliable and sustainable energy."

Since 1995, MELOX has been fabricating MOX fuel assemblies for nuclear power plants in several countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and the United States. Made with uranium and plutonium oxides, MOX fuel is a solution for recycling the plutonium recovered from used nuclear fuel. With more than 1,400 tons produced to date, MELOX is the world's leading producer of MOX fuel. In France, more than 10% of nuclear energy comes from recyclable fuel and 21 Nuclear Power Plants use MOX Fuel.

* Contract signed between MELOX SA, to fabricate MOX fuel, and MHI, in charge of designing the fuel for the utility.


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