The Cadarache production complex (CFCa)
Created in 1961 as a laboratory and with the purpose
of developing manufacturing processes for nuclear fuels containing plutonium,
the CFCa soon became an industrial production center. It thus comprises
the only "Basic Nuclear Installations" (installations nucléaires
de base - INB) used in the fuel cycle on the Cadarache site. Made up
of the ATPu (INB n°32) which produces the fuel, and the chemical
purification laboratory (LPC - Laboratoire de Purification Chimique,
INB n°54) carrying out quality control and processing of waste,
the CFCa began to produce fuel in 1962. Although the CFCa is often presented
as a COGEMA installation 6, it has in fact belonged
to the CEA since its creation. According to the DSIN's Annual Report
of 2000, the CEA is at present the legal operator of the ATPu and LPC.
However, from the industrial point of view, it is COGEMA that has operated
both installations since 1991.
In the list of INBs established by the DSIN, no change
has been indicated in the ATPu's or LPC's authorizations since the respective
declarations of 27 May 1964 and 8 January 1968, made by the CEA. Decree
N°63-1228 of 11 December 1963, which fixes all of the rules applying
to INBs, and especially to the regime governing their authorization,
nonetheless stipulates that a new authorization is necessary if an INB
changes operator. The DSIN justifies this situation by a terminology
that distinguishes between the "industrial operator", associated with
production, and the "administrative operator" legally responsible for
operation in terms of safety. Thus, to date, the CEA remains the "operator"
from the point of view of safety, and COGEMA the "industrial operator".
This, Mr André-Claude Lacoste agreed, in an interview with Plutonium
Investigation, "is not the most desirable situation".
Furthermore, the change of status from laboratory to
that of production unit in 1989 two clearly distinct activities
from the legal and safety points of view does not appear to be
covered by a decree.
6 See CEA Cadarache website (http://www-cad.cea.fr/r33.htm)
pages on fuel production: "having become the COGEMA-Cadarache establishment
in 1991, [the CFCa] has found its place naturally in the COGEMA Group's
fuel cycle production installations." Also see DSIN's Contrôle
review (April 1996): "CFCa (a COGEMA MOX fuel production installation)."
be continued (Production of MOX at the