Japan: MOX pluthermal program is passing a new milestone

Press release

The Takahama nuclear plant, operated by Japanese electric power company KANSAI Epco started commercial operation with AREVA MELOX’s MOX fuels on January 21st 2011.

Following the contract signed in 2008* a delivery of fuel assemblies took place on June 2010 and a next one is scheduled in 2011. The MOX fuel fabrication by AREVA MELOX contributes to Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling program. Contracts have been signed for more than 15 years with Japanese utilities : TEPCO, KANSAI, CHUBU, KYUSHU, SHIKOKU, EPDC, CHUGOKU and HOKKAIDO.

In December 2010, the MOX loading operations took place in unit 3 of the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant. This recycled fuel was fabricated on 2009 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.

For Jean-Pierre Gros, Executive vice-president Recycling of AREVA, "This fourth MOX loading by Kansai is the result of a successful and a long standing partnership with Japanese utilities."

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 1,700 tons produced to date, MELOX is the world’s leading producer of MOX fuels. In France, more than 10% of nuclear energy comes from recyclable MOX fuels in 21 Nuclear Power Plants. In Japan, 4 reactors are currently loaded with MOX fuels: Genkai operated by Kyushu, Ikata operated by Shikoku, Fukushima-Daiichi operated by Tepco, and Takahama operated by Kansai.

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

MELOX Press Office
Nathalie Bonnefoy
Régis Faure
T: +33 (0) 4 66 90 66 63
F: +33 (0) 4 66 90 64 39