Our Expertise

Drawing on many years nuclear fuel expertise, Orano has developed efficient products and services to meet China’s evolving energy needs. Combined with experience in diverse nuclear projects worldwide, this know-how is the driving force behind proven results and lasting partnerships.
Orano Chemistry

Adding value across the entire nuclear fuel cycle

Orano maximizes value at each stage in the fuel cycle, whether as the reference natural uranium supplier for China General Nuclear Power Cooperation (CGN), or by providing customized conversion and enrichment services. Orano is fully committed to optimizing safety and developing effective used fuel management solutions.

The Chinese large-scale reprocessing-recycling plant of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) planned for 2030, will use the technologies developed for and industrialized at Orano’s la Hague and Melox plants. Meanwhile Orano’s used fuel dry storage systems (NUHOMS®) are being deployed at Daya Bay and Tianwan nuclear power plant sites.

The Group’s engineering teams, Orano Projects, bring together diverse nuclear fuel engineering expertise to provide services ranging from user support to full EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Management) missions.

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Mining / Supply of Uranium

Somair, Overview of the Tamgak Mine, Niger Somair, Overview of the Tamgak Mine, Niger © Maurice Ascani / Orano

Domestic and overseas uranium production of China remains limited, and cannot satisfy the needs of the Chinese growing nuclear fleet. China is therefore an important buyer of uranium.

Orano provides a significant part of the Chinese natural uranium requirements. It represents today the major part of Orano’s order intake and sales in China.

In particular Orano stands as a reference natural uranium supplier to CGNP, one of the two major Chinese nuclear electric power companies (20 reactors in operation totaling 21.4GWe and 8 reactors under construction totaling 10.2GWe as of beginning of 2018).

Orano also supplies to CGNP uranium, conversion and enrichment services for the first core of the 2 EPRTM reactors Taishan 1 & 2, as well as for the first 17 reloads.
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Conversion & Enrichment Services

Conversion plant of UF4 to UF6, Comurhex II, Pierrelatte, Site of Tricastin (France) Conversion plant of UF4 to UF6, Comurhex II, Pierrelatte, Site of Tricastin (France) © Eric Larrayadieu / Orano
China being fully self-sufficient in terms of conversion and enrichment services, Orano offers services to address specific requirements of Chinese electric power companies, as well mining-conversion-enrichment supply partnerships for projects of these companies.
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Used Fuel Recycling

Aerial view of waste processing plants UP3 and UP2 of Orano la Hague plant Aerial view of Orano la Hague plant © Eric Larrayadieu / Orano

The cooperation between China and France on used fuel recycling started in November 2007 with the signatures of:

  • an inter-governmental agreement on the back-end of the fuel cycle; and
  • a cooperation agreement between Orano and CNNC for the design, construction and operation of a reprocessing-recycling plant in China.

Since then, several agreements have marked the progress of the discussions with CNNC, including a memorandum of understanding in 2010 which defined the mutual cooperation model (respective scope of Orano and CNNC) and a letter of intent in 2013 on the construction of a 800tHM/year recycling-reprocessing plant in China.

The Chinese reprocessing-recycling plant is developed based on the processes and technologies of Orano’s la Hague UP3/UP2-800 and Melox plants.

Over the past decades Orano successfully and safely reprocessed more than 34,000 tons of used fuel at la Hague plant, and produced more than 2,500 tons of MOX (Mix Oxide) fuel at Melox plant. These 2 plants will stand as reference plants for the Chinese reprocessing-recycling plant.

In 2015 technical discussions ended and commercial negotiations started. The negotiations are now in their final stage. Following the signing of a Memorandum of commercial agreement in January 2018, in the presence of the Presidents of both countries, negotiations are continuing between Orano and CNNC with the aim of launching by the end of 2018 the implementation of the recycling plant.

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Logistics Solutions & Services

NUHOMS® used fuel dry storage system at the site of a US utility NUHOMS® used fuel dry storage system at the site of a US utility © Orano

Based on its extensive logistics technologies, know-how and experience over the entire fuel cycle internationally, Orano proposes to its Chinese customers full range of logistics solutions and services (design, licensing and supply of transport packages; transport of uranium ore, UF6, fresh fuel, used fuel, nuclear wastes and other nuclear materials; consulting services; etc.).

Orano also offers used fuel dry storage solutions pending the start of commercial operation of the Chinese commercial reprocessing-recycling plant.

Late 2016 CGNPC and CNNC selected Orano for the supply of 37 used fuel dry storage systems (NUHOMS®) for respectively Daya Bay (800 PWR 17x17 fuel assemblies) and Tianwan (300 VVER 1000 fuel assemblies) nuclear power plant sites.

NUHOMS® is a proven and reliable technology made of:

  • Concrete storage modules
  • Stainless steel canisters holding the used fuels
  • Transfer cask
  • Specific transporter

 

Stainless steel canister of NUHOMS® being manufactured for the contract with CNNC/CGNP Stainless steel canister of NUHOMS® being manufactured for the contract with CNNC/CGNP © Orano

Orano established a partnership with the Chinese company Shanghai Apollo Machinery Co. Ltd to manufacture locally part of these used fuel dry storage systems.

The contract execution is on-going and first dry storage systems will be delivered to the nuclear power plant sites in 2019/2020.

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Dismantling, Decommissioning & Waste Management

Orano is the unique player combining huge feedback in dismantling and decommissioning (D&D) as both nuclear operator of our own facilities and as supplier and partner for our customers. This gives us an acute view on D&D performance levels, for scenario design, processes and equipment development, D&D work operations, environmental protection and project management.

Orano offers to its Chinese clients customized solutions for the dismantling and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, as well as for the waste management.

In the field of waste management, Orano offers to the Chinese market its unique high level waste vitrification technology, which is successfully implemented and operating at la Hague reprocessing plant in France for more than 40 years.

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Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering Nuclear Engineering © Franck Beloncle / Orano

In China, Orano operates through its engineering subsidiary, Orano Projects, which holds all the Group’s expertise in nuclear fuel cycle engineering to serve its facilities and external clients. Its services range from support engineering for operators to comprehensive EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Management) responsibilities.

It serves all the Group’s businesses: mining, uranium chemistry, enrichment, nuclear fuel, spent fuel recycling, decommissioning and waste management.


Orano Projects means over 40 years of experience in designing and building unique plants (la Hague and Melox in France, Rokkasho-Mura in Japan, MFFF in the United States), as well as flagship projects over the last 10 years in France, projects to renovate Orano's industrial facilities such as the Georges Besse II enrichment plants and the Comurhex II conversion facilities.

These unique engineering skills and feedback from project experience lie at the heart of the recycling plant project in China.

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