The new Philippe Coste* conversion plant located at the Orano Tricastin site (Drôme, France) was inaugurated by Delphine Gény-Stephann, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Economy and Finance, accompanied by Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Orano Group Executive Board, and Philippe Knoche, Orano CEO.
This inauguration took place in the presence of 60 international customers of the group, representatives of French and European administrations, parliamentarians, elected officials and local stakeholders.
The new plant incorporates technological innovations in terms of safety, the environment and improved industrial performance. It enables recycling of chemical reagents, offers a reduction in water consumption of as much as 90% and features extensive automation of instrumentation and control functions to improve management of the process. Its construction has involved more than 240 companies, most of them in the region.
This new plant is part of the Orano Tricastin site's broader industrial modernization program, in which the group has invested over 5 billion euros over the past decade. Representing total investment outlay of 1.150 billion euros, the project implemented at the Malvési (Aude, France) and Tricastin (Drôme, France) sites, is one which will enable Orano to develop its position on the conversion market equipped with the most modern plant in the world.
The Philippe Coste and Georges Besse 2 plants at the Orano Tricastin site will be used to manufacture nuclear fuel to produce low-carbon electricity for more than 90 million homes.
In the words of Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Board of Orano, "Orano is the first manufacturer to renew its conversion plants, and that is a decisive competitive advantage. This plant will be a symbol for French industry going forward, capable of building high technology facilities that are safe and respectful of the environment, and enabling our country to remain in the leading peloton of great industrial nations."
Philippe Knoche, Orano CEO, commented: "With the Philippe Coste plant, the French nuclear sector has a brand new, modern, high-performance industrial facility. I would like to thank all the Orano teams as well as the partner companies. The successful completion of this project is testimony to their engagement and expertise. The Philippe Coste plant will contribute to the production of low-carbon electricity by our customers and for tens of millions of homes around the world."
*Comurhex II was the name of the project itself. The name of the new Tricastin conversion facility is the Philippe Coste plant. Philippe Coste was the first founding president of Comurhex. He was responsible for technical advances in the electrolysis of fluorine on an industrial scale. Conversion is the stage in the transformation of uranium prior to enrichment, opening the way to the manufacture of nuclear fuel for electricity generation