Inauguration of Orano’s ‘Jean Fourniols’ Stable Isotopes Laboratory

Today, on Wednesday October 18, 2023, the Orano group inaugurated its new Stable Isotopes Laboratory (Laboratoire d’Isotopes Stables – LIS), on the Orano Tricastin site (Drôme et Vaucluse), in the presence of Claude Imauven, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Orano, and partners, stakeholders and elected representatives from the local area. 

Stable isotopes, which are non-radioactive forms of atoms, are used for many applications and demand for them is continuing to grow. They are used in particular in the medical sector (cancer diagnosis and treatment), in the industrial sector (increased laser performance) and in basic research (quantum computing). 

With this brand new industrial asset which represents an investment of some 15 million euros, Orano is developing a new market in a cutting-edge environment and continuing its diversification into innovative projects. With the commissioning of this new production activity, the group is making use of the technological expertise and tried-and-tested know-how acquired over the past 60 years on its Tricastin site employing the same technology that is currently used to enrich uranium at the Georges Besse 2 plant.

Construction of the Stable Isotopes Laboratory commenced on March 8, 2021, with civil engineering works being completed in October 2022. At the start of October 2023, the first centrifuges were commissioned with a first production run of isotopic elements (Xenon).

The Laboratory has been named the ‘Jean Fourniols’ Stable Isotopes Laboratory to pay tribute to an employee who played a key role in the genesis of this project. 

For Claude Imauven, "This new activity meets a growing demand on strategic markets. It provides a French alternative to the world's two sole industrial players in the production of stable isotopes by centrifugation technology, thus allowing French and European sovereignty to be strengthened in this area. This laboratory places a unique tool at France's disposal, illustrating our capacity to innovate and meet society's challenges by working in non-nuclear areas of activity".

"I am proud of the capacity of our teams to reinvent themselves and continue to develop new skills in the field of high isotopic and chemical purity with this project launched just three years ago." underscores François Lurin, Orano's Senior Executive Vice President of Chemistry-Enrichment Activities.

Inauguration of Orano’s ‘Jean Fourniols’ Stable Isotopes Laboratory


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