Nonproliferation
Resource
Fact Sheet

Spent Nuclear Fuel in France

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in France

  • June 1, 2020
  • 9:03 pm

Highlights

13,990 tHM spent nuclear fuel in storage (2016)
20,277 tHM spent nuclear fuel projected by 2050
1964 First year of commercial nuclear operation
58 operating nuclear power reactors
3 operating research and test reactors
1 nuclear power reactor under construction
63.1 GW(e) installed nuclear capacity (2018)
71.67% nuclear share of domestic energy production (2018)

Regulator: Nuclear Safety Authority (ARN)
Operator: Électricité de France (EDF)

Nuclear Power stations in France (as of 2019)

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Practices

  • First, spent fuel is stored wet onsite, then moved to the La Hague facility for interim pool storage before reprocessing; La Hague and the Melox MOX fabrication plant also have contracts to reprocess foreign fuel
  • The National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA) is responsible for long-term waste management and disposal (Cigeo project)
  • DGR construction at the selected Meuse/Haute-Marne site is expected from 2022-2030, with operations planned to start in 2030 and last until its closure in 2130
  • France’s founding participation in the Generation IV International Forum includes research into sodium-cooled fast reactors, which could affect French fuel use
  • The Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) has conducted research into fuel treatment

Obligations

  • France is a nuclear-weapon State and has a voluntary offer agreement with the IAEA (INFCIRC/718, 2007) and an additional protocol entered which entered into force in 2004 (INFCIRC/29)0
  • France signed the Joint Convention in 1997 and approved it in 2000
  • The National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste for 2016-2018 is the most recent official spent fuel and waste management policy
  • France’s spent fuel policy incorporates uranium recycling and MOX fuel use in 22 of its PWRs
  • French operators are responsible for their waste management finances
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