Abstracts ASN Report 2021

National Large Heavy Ion Accelerator The National Large Heavy Ion Accelerator (Ganil) economic interest group was authorised in 1980 to create an ion accelerator in Caen (BNI 113). This research facility produces, accelerates and distributes ion beams with various energy levels to study the structure of the atom. The high-energy beams produce strong fields of ionising radiation, activating the materials in contact, which then emit radiation even after the beams have stopped. Irradiation therefore constitutes the main risk of Ganil. “Exotic nuclei” are nuclei which do not exist naturally on Earth. They are created artificially in Ganil for nuclear physics experiments on the origins and structure of matter. In order to produce these exotic nuclei, Ganil was authorised in 2012 to build phase 1 of the SPIRAL2 project, whose commissioning was authorised by ASN in 2019. The year 2021 was marked by the submission of the facility’s second periodic safety review report. A substantial modification application was also filed for the facility and is currently being examined. This concerns the setting up of the Desintegration, Excitation and Storage of Radioactive Ions (DESIR) facility, whose main purpose is to create new experimentation areas based on radioactive ion beams from the SPIRAL1 and S3 facilities (experimental areas of the SPIRAL2 phase 1 facility). This project involves modifying the BNI perimeter. ASN considers that the Ganil’s performance in 2021 in the implementation of the periodic inspections and tests, control of ageing and f ire-f ighting is satisfactory. ASN moreover considers that the licensee has made improvements –still to be consolidated– in its documentation management, particularly in the updating of its safety baseline requirements. Improvements are still expected in the completeness of the analyses submitted in support of its various requests. LA HAGUE SITE The Orano site at La Hague is located on the north-west tip of the Cotentin peninsula, in the Manche département, 20 km west of Cherbourg and 6 km from Cap de La Hague. This site is situated about fifteen kilometres from the Channel Islands. THE ORANO RECYCLAGE REPROCESSING PLANTS IN OPERATION AT LA HAGUE The La Hague plants for reprocessing fuel assemblies irradiated in the nuclear reactors are operated by Orano Recyclage La Hague. Commissioning of the various units of the fuel reprocessing and waste packaging plants UP3-A (BNI 116) and UP2‑800 (BNI 117) and the Effluent Treatment Station STE3 (BNI 118) spanned f rom 1986 (reception and storage of spent fuel assemblies) until 2002 (R4 plutonium treatment unit), with the majority of the process units being commissioned in 1989‑1990. The Decrees of 10 January 2003 set the individual reprocessing capacity of each of the two plants at 1,000 tonnes per year, in terms of the quantities of uranium and plutonium contained in the fuel assemblies before burn-up (in the reactor), and limit the total capacity of the two plants to 1,700 tonnes per year. The limits and conditions for discharges and water intake by the site are defined by ASN resolutions 2015-DC-0535 and 2015-DC-0536 of 22 December 2015. Operations carried out in the plants The reprocessing plants comprise several industrial units, each intended for a particular operation. Consequently there are facilities for the reception and storage of spent fuel assemblies, for their shearing and dissolution, for the chemical separation of fission products, uranium and plutonium, for the purification of uranium and plutonium, for treating the effluents and for packaging the waste. When the spent fuel assemblies arrive at the plants in their transport casks, they are unloaded either “under water” in the spent fuel pool, or dry in a leaktight shielded cell. The fuel assemblies are first stored in pools to cool them down. They are then sheared and dissolved in nitric acid to separate the pieces of metal cladding from the spent nuclear fuel. The pieces of cladding, which are insoluble in nitric acid, are removed from the dissolver, rinsed in acid and then water, and transferred to a compacting and packaging unit. The nitric acid solution comprising the dissolved radioactive substances is then processed in order to extract the uranium and plutonium and leave the fission products and other transuranic elements. After purification, the uranium is concentrated and stored in the form of uranyl nitrate UO2 (NO3)2. It will then be converted into a solid compound (U3O8) called “reprocessed uranium” in the TU5 facility on the Tricastin site. After purif ication and concentration, the plutonium is precipitated by oxalic acid, dried, calcined into plutonium oxide, packaged in sealed containers and stored. The plutonium is then intended for the fabrication of Mixed OXide (MOX) fuels in the Orano plant in Marcoule (Melox). 76 ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2021 REGIONAL OVERVIEWOF NUCLEAR SAFETY AND RADIATION PROTECTION