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Business Innovation

Business innovation means inventing today the new activities and new offers of tomorrow, in response to customer expectations, developing growth opportunities and preparing the Group's future in energy and beyond. Orano is exploring new value creation models in the Group's core businesses or in other business sectors consistent with its DNA, by further enhancing its assets, expertise, fuel cycle materials, sites, key technologies and R&D to serve new markets, all the while adapting to the constant changes in its environment.
Deposit on filter of a lead drop 212Pb, ArcoLab, Bessines (France)
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Renewing and reinventing

 

Today, Orano is continuing and speeding up its efforts to develop innovative solutions to support its existing value creation models.

However, in the face of changes in the world, transformations in the energy sector, growing pressure from competitors, and rapidly shifting customer needs, it is no longer enough to aim for performance. The Group also works to put innovation to work to upgrade and diversify its value propositions on products or services, to renew and reinvent its portfolio of value creation models and bring about new growth opportunities for the Group and new offers for its customers.

Orano deploys iterative customer-focused approaches and value co-creation initiatives in “test & learn fast” mode, lowering the potential for risk in new projects before developing technical solutions and delaying investments as long as possible, until such time as the new value creation models have been validated.

This marks a profound change in the Group’s culture and in the ways it manages R&D and innovation projects, which requires new forms of intelligence, new skills such as business designers or UX designers.
 

 

The power of innovation
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Exploring


Orano is improving its ability to look at the world with a fresh perspective, anticipating the future and the expectations of its customers. It challenges the way it creates, captures and shares value and is rethinking its relationship with customers, partners and the innovation ecosystem.

Orano is already taking up approaches from the world of start-ups and entrepreneurial management, business design, and tools dedicated to business innovation so that each entity in the Group is able to explore and manage a portfolio of new activities associated with new value creation models. Objectives: to diversify its activities, even better address the needs of its existing and new customers, and secure the growth of tomorrow.
The Group organized during first quarter 2020 the final of a context for Deeptech start-ups.
Among the 14 selected start-ups, 5 finalist pitchers were invited to present their innovative solutions to the Orano jury on March 12, responding to 5 challenges, each of them focusing on serving the company from a sustainable development perspective.
Let's reinvent nuclear industry together !
Competition for Deeptech start-ups Orano
Consistent with its open innovation strategy, Orano draws on an ecosystem of partners, including the University of St Gallen, in Switzerland, and joined the BMI Lab in 2017, alongside other industrial players also looking to redesign their portfolio of value creation models. The BMI Lab is a spin-off of the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St Gallen (headed by Professor Oliver Gassman) whose research has led to the identification of 55 business models that can be combined and inspired to rethink or invent new value creation models.
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Orano Med: nuclear medicine against cancer

For several years now, Orano Med has been combining biotechnologies and nuclear power to develop new therapies in the fight against cancer. The Group's subsidiary has developed a process for producing lead-212 (212Pb), a rare radioactive isotope used in targeted alphatherapy, to target and destroy cancer cells while limiting the impact on surrounding healthy cells.

Would you have guessed Orano Med
Global market Orano Med

A new clinical trial, launched in 2018

Orano Med and its partner RadioMedix have received FDA* approval in the United States to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials on AlphaMedixTM, a development therapy for patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NET) that express specific receptors, known as somatostatin receptors. AlphaMedixTM made of a peptide analogous to somatostatin, which makes it possible to target tumour cells. Radio-marked with lead-212 (212Pb), it will make it possible, during anti-proliferation, to kill cancerous cells while limiting the damage to the surrounding healthy cells.

The objective of Phase 1 is to assess the tolerance, biodistribution and preliminary efficacy of AlphaMedixTM in adult patients with neuroendocrine tumors, by gradually increasing treatment doses. AlphaMedixTM will be produced entirely by Orano Med teams in the DDPU in Plano (Texas), before being sent to a clinical center in Houston specialised in this type of tumour. Patients will be treated under the responsibility of RadioMedix.

*Food and Drug Administration

 

Clinical Trials more than 20 patients
  • Nuclear medicine against cancer - Orano Med
    Discover
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Orano and partners innovating to immobilize and contain nuclear waste resulting from cleanup, dismantling and site remediation operations

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Orano is working with the CEA, ECM Technologies and Andra on a project to develop and qualify a vitrification process that meets the demanding requirements of dismantling environments. Constraints are such that the process must be simple, robust, versatile, compact and easy to deploy on site. The DEM&MELT process is designed to meet all these requirements whilst keeping investment and operating costs down.

The overall benefits offered by a glass matrix are significantly greater than with the cement matrices implemented to date, making it possible to stabilize, contain and densify high and intermediate-level waste over the long term. 

The development of the DEM&MELT process is being co-funded by the French government program "Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir" [“Investments for the Future” Program]. This program encourages initiatives that support carbon neutrality and competitiveness through innovation. 

Main features of DEM&MELT

DEM&MELT is a thermal "In-Can" process for intermediate and high-level solid and liquid waste. The process offers a number of benefits: 

  • The container (or Can) is designed for a single use: it is used directly as a crucible. It has no stirring or pouring mechanisms. Corrosion issues are therefore limited.  
  • The container is easily heated by a simple and robust resistance furnace, allowing for precise temperature control and homogeneity of the melted mixture. Implementation, operation and maintenance costs are therefore lower than with furnaces using other heating technologies. 
  • The process is versatile and can handle highly active solid or liquid wastes with limited characterization. It can also operate at controlled temperatures over a wide range. 
  • • Control of the process is simple and does not require advanced instrumentation.


The DEM&MELT technology allows the waste to be reduced in volume and stabilized, as well as providing durable long-term containment of radionuclides. DEM&MELT benefits from more than 40 years of Orano experience in the construction and operation of very high activity vitrification units.

can inside the furnace © CEA

2020 : Major steps forward in the industrial development process for this technology

 

Over the last few months, the project has successfully achieved two major milestones demonstrating the maturity of the entire process and confirming its simplicity, flexibility, and robustness:

• In November 2020, the DEM&MELT scale 1 pilot was successfully commissioned with the melting of the first batch of 250 kg of glass.

• In February 2021, an industrial-scale canister weighing 300 kg was successfully produced, conditioning a reference waste - typical of waste resulting from cleanup and dismantling - in a glass matrix  with an incorporation rate close to 70%. This test confirms the ability of the process to provide significant volume reduction thanks to the very high waste loading achievable.

“These milestones demonstrate the improved maturity of the DEM&MELT solution and reward the high-quality teamwork with our partners, CEA, ECM Technologies and Andra. It is above all a very encouraging signal for nuclear operators who will now be in a position to manage Intermediate and High-Level Waste with a robust, simple and versatile in situ vitrification process”, explained Pascal Aubret, Senior Executive Vice President of the Recycling Business Unit at Orano.

DEM&MELT

DEM&MELT full scale pilot © CEA

DEM&MELT innovation: an industrial opportunity harnessed to treat Fukushima Daiichi NPS waste

Since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS) in 2011, the water from the reactors has been continuously treated (decontamination of radioactive elements). 

Today's challenge? To reduce the volume and to condition the nuclear wastes (sludges, mineral adsorbents for the most part) resulting from the treatment of these effluents, and produce packages that meet safety requirements for interim storage and final disposal. Vitrification is a solution that will satisfy these requirements. 

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is funding a feasibility study to demonstrate the applicability of the DEM&MELT process for conditioning secondary waste from the treatment of effluents from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant as part of the "Project of Decommissioning Water Treatment" program. With more than 40 years of experience in the operation of very high activity vitrification units (notably at La Hague and Marcoule), Orano has been cooperating on this project with CEA and ANADEC (Orano ATOX D&D solutions Co, Ltd – Japan) since 2018.

The results of the tests carried out at various scales (from laboratory to industrial scale pilot) within the framework of this project and other R&D programs, confirm DEM&MELT's ability to produce high-quality packages, with high rates of waste loading into the glass matrix, while ensuring long-term containment of radioelements.

The implementation study conducted for DEM&MELT units at Fukushima Daiichi NPS also highlighted reduced processing times while ensuring optimized investment and operating costs.

The project for Fukushima Daiichi waste is being continued in 2021 and 2022 with the implementation of additional trials and the execution of a set of tests on the industrial scale pilot.

Beyond the applicability for conditioning Fukushima Daiichi NPS water treatment secondary waste, DEM&MELT could well open a new path for efficient conditioning of the intermediate to high-level waste generated by the cleanup and dismantling of nuclear facilities and sites around the world, including for the treatment of legacy waste. 

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