Marcoule Nuclear Site
|Marcoule Nuclear Power Plant|
|Location||Chusclan and Codolet communes|
|Commission date||January 7, 1956|
|Decommission date||June 20, 1984|
|Nuclear power station|
|Make and model||Rateau|
|Units decommissioned||1 x 2 MW
2 x 38 MW
Marcoule Nuclear Site (French: Site nucléaire de Marcoule) is a nuclear plant in the Chusclan and Codolet communes, near Bagnols-sur-Cèze in the Gard department of France, which is in the tourist, wine and agricultural Côtes-du-Rhône region. The plant is around 25 km north west of Avignon, on the banks of the Rhone.
Operational since 1956, Marcoule is a gigantic site run by the atomic energy organization Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique (CEA) and Areva NC and is known as CEA VALRHO Marcoule. The first industrial and military plutonium experiments took place in Marcoule. Diversification of the site was started in the 1970s with the creation of the Phénix prototype fast breeder reactor, which was operational until 2009, and is nowadays an important site for decommissioning nuclear facilities activities. The Phénix reactor is likely to be succeeded by the sodium-cooled fast reactor ASTRID (Advanced Sodium Technical Reactor for Industrial Demonstration) in the 2015-2020 time frame.
Since 1995, the MELOX factory has been producing MOX from a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides. MOX is used to recycle plutonium from nuclear fuel; this plutonium comes from the COGEMA La Hague site.
The ATelier Alpha et Laboratoires pour ANalyses, Transuraniens et Etudes de retraitement (ATALANTE) is a CEA laboratory investigating the issues of nuclear reprocessing of nuclear fuel and of radioactive waste.
The site housed a number of the first generation French UNGG reactors, all of which have been shut down. Since then, it has also operated two heavy water reactors to produce tritium. Cooling for all of the plants comes from the Rhône river.
|Unit||Type||Net power||Total power||Construction start||Construction finish||Full operation||Shut down|
|Marcoule G1||UNGG||2 MW||1955||07.01.1956||15.10.1968|
|Marcoule G2||UNGG||39 MW||43 MW||01.03.1955||22.04.1959||22.04.1959||02.02.1980|
|Marcoule G3||UNGG||40 MW||43 MW||01.03.1956||04.04.1960||04.04.1960||20.06.1984|
|Celestin 1||Tritium breeder||1967||2009|
|Celestin 2||Tritium breeder||1968||2009|
|Phénix||Fast breeder||130 MW||142 MW||01.03.1968||14.07.1974||01.02.2010|
On 12 September 2011, there was an explosion in an oven used to melt metallic waste of a "weak and very weak" level of radioactivity, killing one person, and injuring four. The explosion happened in the Centraco centre, used by Socodei, a sister company of Électricité de France. A safety cordon was set up around the plant by fire officers because of the risk of leakage.
CEA VALRHO Marcoule
The CEA in Marcoule have numerous laboratories and research institutes which carry out research into;
- Nuclear reactor waste recycling
- Future nuclear reactor technology (including a fourth generation prototype reactor to be ready by 2030)
- Nuclear decommissioning technology
The site is spread between the main Marcoule site and the smaller Pierrelatte site. In 2007 over 500 million euros was spent supporting the work of the 30 laboratories.
A science museum for the general public, Visiatome Marcoule, devoted to energy issues is located by the Marcoule site.
- Reference: Liste der Nuklearanlagen in Frankreich
- "Nuclear Power Reactor Details - G-2 (MARCOULE)". Power Reactor Information System. International Atomic Energy Agency. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- "Nuclear Power Reactor Details - G-3 (MARCOULE)". Power Reactor Information System. International Atomic Energy Agency. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- History The plant of Marcoule areva.com
- "Nuclear Power Reactor Details - PHENIX". Power Reactor Information System. International Atomic Energy Agency. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- "France Nuclear: Marcoule Site Explosion Kills One". BBC News. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Willsher, Kim (12 September 2011). "Explosion at French Nuclear Waste Plant". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- The French Nuclear Safety Authority - French Nuclear Safety Authority
- Visiatome Marcoule, science museum
- G2 (and G3), Nuclear Engineering International wall chart, December 1959