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EDF and the cost of MOX fuel

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(May 30, 1997) Recent leaks to the press suggest that Cogema and Framatome are planning to double the capacity at their Melox plant in Marcoule to 200 tons a year, enough to supply the 28 Electricité de France reactors due to be authorized to use MOX around 2000.

(473.4691) WISE Amsterdam -At the same time EdF appears to have second thoughts about MOX. According to some analysts, using MOX fuel rather than enriched uranium fuel can add French franc (Ffr) 0.04-0.05 to EdF's cost per KWh. This does not make MOX a favorite with EdF at a time that gas-fired plants can produce power at Ffr 0.18 per KWh, some Ffr0.06 less than the current French nuclear plants. Reprocessing and use of MOX becomes a burden for EdF. The French Court of Auditors suggest that Cogema overcharged EdF for reprocessing spent fuel at La Hague.

Another major blow to the use of MOX fuel was the decision to turn the Superphenix into a research reactor -- an admission that the fast breeder was not economic. Cogema shows no intention of giving up making MOX. Cogema's president Syrota was recently in Japan to sign a contract for 10 tons of MOX for the Tokyo utility Tepco. Cogema also has ambitions for MOX in the US and to built a pilot MOX plant in Russia. This project has been approved by the G-7 but awaits financing.

Source: Power in Europe, 11 & 25 April 1997
Contact: WISE Paris