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23 April 2024

France may take back nuclear waste

By VM Sathish


Waste generated by the proposed nuclear power plants in the GCC could be shipped back to France in a specially designed ship and buried at a uranium waste dump site in the western part of the European nation, said a French nuclear industry expert.

The UAE and France signed a nuclear co-operation agreement last month during President Sarkozy’s visit to Abu Dhabi. Avera, the French nuclear power giant, has been commissioned to study a proposed nuclear power project in the UAE, and French firms working on related businesses have been streaming into the country looking for opportunities.

Arnaud Zerkovitz, energy project manager at UBI France, the French agency for international development, said French companies are in a unique position to participate in the GCC nuclear power programmes because the country has around 58 nuclear reactors run by Electricite De France (EDF), which produce more than 85 per cent of the total electricity generated in the country.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Lestienne, marketing director, AOiP, a French company developing, manufacturing and selling precision instruments and automation systems, said on the sidelines of the Middle East Electricity Exhibition, that the GCC would be able to ship off its dangerous nuclear waste rather than risk containing it in

the region.

“In France, the carbon dioxide emission from nuclear power projects is less than coal fired power projects. However, treating nuclear waste has been a problem. We process it to as safe level as possible and bury the used uranium waste in landfills in an areas not prone to earthquakes or seismically active,” he said.

“After generating electricity, the nuclear waste from the GCC region may be sealed in strong glass cylinders and shipped back to France in a specially designed ship and buried in Cherbourg Normandie, in the western part of France.” The used uranium is sealed in glass containers to avoid radiation exposure.

Last week, the French electricity company, Areva was awarded two turnkey grid reinforcement contracts in the UAE, totalling €86 million (Dh457m).

Under the first contract awarded by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Areva will build two indoor gas-insulated substations to be commissioned in April 2009. The second contract is with Nakheel, the developer of Palm Deira.