Figure of the month
Following are two tables which give a WISE-Paris estimate
for the inventory of separated plutonium and the inventory of plutonium
in spent fuel for the Netherlands, as of 1 January 1999.
Production and Inventory of
Separated Plutonium (kg)
(Source: COGEMA, WISE-Paris)
The two Dutch utilities have to manage at least 1,670 kg plutonium
which has been separated from their spent fuel. A large share of this
plutonium is stored at the La Hague plants with no planned end-use.
Further reprocessing of spent fuel according to existing contracts with
BNFL and COGEMA would generate at least 1,400 kg plutonium - for which
there can be found no planned end use neither.
One French Franc for Superphénix - at least
NLG 45 million for the Dutch utilitie
The Superphénix fast-breeder reactor, which has generated costs
of about 60 billion French francs according to the French national accounting
organisation (1996 figure), has been sold to the French electricity
utility EDF for one symbolic French franc, at the end of 1998. According
to an EDF spokesperson in a telephone interview with WISE-Paris at the
beginning of February 1999, the company NERSA, which owned the reactor,
was dismantled and absorbed by EDF after the sale. NERSA was a consortium
with participations from EDF (51%), the Italian ENEL (33%) and SBK (16%).
SBK is another consortium with participations from Germany, Belgium
and the Netherlands through the Dutch SEP (15%). The Dutch participation
in NERSA was therefore about 2%.
EDF inherits of the larger economic consequences. Apart from NERSA debts
and the reprocessing of the nuclear fuel which all former participants
share, EDF is now responsible for the decommissioning and dismantling
of the reactor.
According to the EDF representative, Superphénix debts amount
to FRF 4.1 billion and the planned reprocessing of the nuclear fuel
(one core which was used and the other one which was not) will cost
FRF 2.7 billion. The Dutch participation in NERSA will therefore cost
SEP FRF 136 million (NLG 45 million) not covered by the 1 FRF deal.
Questioned on the fissile materials resulting from the reprocessing,
the EDF representative said that the former participants to NERSA will
be responsible for their share. "EDF is not interested" in recuperating
the plutonium from other participants (which is a confirmation that
the French plutonium stockpile is not an asset). Managing plutonium
from Superphénix will cost a lot to the Netherlands. Previous
and future costs together with current debts have made Superphénix
a very costly enterprise for the Dutch utilities.
Words of the month
"Today the nuclear community in the Netherlands is small but beautiful."
This sentence is the beginning of the editorial of "Holland Nuclear
Profile", a short document prepared by the Netherlands Nuclear Society
and the Netherlands Foreign Trade Agency to present the exhibitors of
the Holland Pavilion at the ENC'98 International Nuclear Congress and
the World Nuclear Expo in Nice, France, 25-28 October 1998.