EDF and Veolia join forces to create Graphitech for nuclear decommissioning

The joint venture will be responsible for the technological development and engineering studies in preparation for decommissioning nuclear reactors that use graphite technology

The subsidiaries of EDF and Veolia have partnered to create a new joint venture in response to the challenges of decommissioning nuclear reactors that incorporate graphite technology.

Graphitech will be responsible for the technological development and engineering studies in preparation for decommissioning nuclear reactors – around 60 of the world’s reactors use graphite technology.

The dismantling of graphite reactors is said to be complex, because of the design of stacking the graphite layers inside the reactor, as well as the volume of materials needed to evacuate.

The companies say only two reactors of small power graphite technology have been dismantled to date globally.

They state the joint venture will combine EDF’s nuclear industry expertise and decommissioning engineering know-how with Veolia’s nuclear environment robotics capability to enable the design of specialised machinery and long distance intervention platforms for decommissioning.

Graphitech, through EDF and Veolia’s respective subsidiaries Cyclife Holding and Asteralis, will use its expertise to develop remote-operation tools to break up complex, large-scale concrete and metal structures and tools to extract activated graphite bricks and piles as well as design systems and articulated arms to enable deployment of these tools.

It will initially provide EDF with an optimised scenario for decommissioning the Chinon A2 reactor in 2028 and offer a testing programme to evaluate the technological solutions needed to complete it.

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