About fifteen cans marked with the acronym of radioactivity, a few banners, and activists wearing masks and suits… Greenpeace protested on Tuesday morning in front of the headquarters of Orano (ex-Areva) in Châtillon (Hauts-de-Seine).
The environmental NGO intended to demonstrate against “French reprocessing uranium exports to Russia”.
Orano has confirmed that it has signed a new sales contract for a total of 1,000 tonnes of reprocessed uranium with Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear company.
"It is intended to be converted and then re-enriched in order to manufacture nuclear fuel for Russian reactors," a spokesperson for Orano told the Parisian by email.
According to him, Rosatom would like to use this uranium in its nuclear reactors after transformation in the Seversk plant, in the heart of Siberia.
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These exports of used fuels, considered to be recyclable by enrichment, are not prohibited. In 2018, the Russian company Tenex, a subsidiary of Rosatom, won a contract with EDF to recycle and enrich uranium from the reprocessing of spent fuel from the French group's fleet of nuclear power plants.
But Greenpeace has long contested the classification as “nuclear materials” - therefore considered recyclable - of used nuclear fuels, claiming their classification as “nuclear waste” therefore non-recyclable and whose export is very strictly regulated by the European Union.
According to the NGO, "the observation of satellite images has made it possible to determine that the storage of reprocessing uranium drums is carried out in the open" on the Russian site, "without a protective device to slow down their degradation".