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EDF and Veolia announce the creation of Graphitech

On 10 December, EDF and Veolia, through their respective subsidiaries Cyclife Holding and Asteralis, announce the creation of a joint entity – Graphitech – in response to the challenges of decommissioning nuclear reactors that incorporate graphite technology.

Graphitech will be responsible for the technological development and engineering studies required in preparation for decommissioning nuclear reactors that use graphite technology - around 60 such reactors worldwide - and will thus be ready to meet the needs of France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Lithuania and Japan.

And to date, only two low-power graphite technology reactors have been dismantled, as their deconstruction is complex due to their design (stacking of graphite layers inside the reactor) and the volume of materials to be evacuated.

 

Combining two areas of expertise to meet a major environmental challenge

Combining EDF’s nuclear industry expertise and decommissioning engineering know-how with Veolia’s nuclear-environment robotics capability, to enable the design of specialized machinery and long-distance intervention platforms for decommissioning, Graphitech will use its expertise to:

  • develop remote-operation tools to break up complex, large-scale concrete and metal structures, and tools to extract activated graphite bricks and piles;

  • design systems and articulated arms to enable deployment of these tools.

 

A first operation on the Chinon A2 reactor (France)

Graphitech’s first objective will be to provide EDF with an optimized scenario for decommissioning the Chinon A2 reactor in 2028 and to offer a testing program to evaluate the technological solutions needed to complete the operation.

This program will begin in 2022 with a development and qualification phase using full-scale models to prepare the remote-operation tools to be used in decommissioning the Chinon reactor. The feedback from this pioneering operation will then be used with other reactors in France and around the world.

 

More:

> Veolia’s offering for the nuclear industry: Nuclear solutions
> Press release: Graphitech - Paris, December 10, 2019