Orano secures a position as a major sponsor of the WNE, promoting the nuclear fuel cycle as the linchpin of our nuclear future

Orano, the world leader in the nuclear fuel cycle, once again positions itself as a platinum sponsor of the World Nuclear Exhibition taking place in Paris between the 28th and 30th November 2023. This is not just any exhibition, but an opportunity to promote the nuclear fuel cycle, and Orano’s capabilities within it, as an essential part of a clean and sustainable nuclear future.

What’s the context?

To achieve electricity supply security and net-zero emissions, the energy generation sector must invest in cleaner and more sustainable production technologies. One of the cleanest, most efficient, sustainable, and proven electricity sources is nuclear energy. That is why nuclear energy is seen by a growing number of countries as playing a key role in reaching their net-zero energy mix goals for electricity production, as well as hydrogen generation, and producing useful heat for industrial processes and district heating.

To reflect this, recent developments in the nuclear industry include operating lifetime extensions and power upgrades of existing large reactors and significant efforts to launch the next generation of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and advanced reactors. However, nuclear energy requires a sustainable, accessible, robust nuclear fuel cycle to support it. As such Orano, as a major industrial player throughout the nuclear fuel cycle, brings efficient solutions to advance and sustain this developing momentum within the sector.

Why sponsor and exhibit at the World Nuclear Exhibition?

The WNE brings together a diverse melting pot of organisations that demonstrate what nuclear has to offer for the long-term sustainability of our planet. For Orano it is therefore the ideal opportunity to showcase the fuel cycle: that’s everything from uranium mining through to the management and recycling of used nuclear fuel. Without fuel and a sustainable and responsible lifecycle management of it, the sector as a whole cannot operate and reach its full potential within the low carbon energy landscape. John Czerwin, Orano’s Director of Marketing and Commercial Support, noted that: “This is a message that touches every nuclear project and program, from large-scale Nuclear New Build to SMRs, the construction of new facilities, through to decommissioning and waste management. The World Nuclear Exhibition is the ideal platform to communicate this. Why not visit us at our stand to find out more?”

What does Orano do?

At the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle, Orano offers customers long-term contracts with separate or combined components:

  • Mining: For certainty of supply, Orano maintains robust and geographically diversified uranium mining assets. To meet the increasing natural uranium demands in the coming years, Orano will leverage its proven experience and technologies in new promising territories (Uzbekistan, Mongolia), while keeping its strong commitment to be a responsible mining player.
  • Conversion services: Orano operates the world’s most modern conversion plant, commissioned in 2018 and constructed to the latest safety standards, to ensure a high level of reliability and on-time delivery.
  • Enrichment services: Orano’s enrichment facility, renewed in 2011, with a future capacity extension (+30%), offers a flexible range of enrichment assays. The next challenge is producing the various levels and forms of enriched uranium to supply future reactor technologies. Orano, leveraging its cumulative existing production know-how, is ready to invest in these capabilities if secured by long-term commitments from customers or stakeholders.

Regarding the back end of the fuel cycle, Orano meets customer needs across all aspects of used fuel management, including engineering, storage and transport, recycling schemes, up to waste disposal.

  • Waste management: Orano’s engineering and decommissioning teams support industrial technologies at all stages of used fuel and radioactive waste management, up to the disposal of final waste forms.
  • Storage and Transport: Orano provides storage solutions for all kinds of used nuclear fuel secured with wet or dry technologies. In addition, Orano has demonstrated international experience and extensive capabilities of transporting for the whole nuclear cycle.
  • Reprocessing/recycling: with decades of operation of La Hague industrial platform, Orano provides used fuel reprocessing services separating recyclable uranium and plutonium from the final waste material. The plutonium is reused to manufacture Mixed Oxide Fuel in Orano’s plant, Melox, for operation in nuclear reactors. The resulting much lower volume of safe and stable vitrified waste form is easily managed and stored over a very long-term pending its disposal. These services implemented for utilities worldwide contribute to the circular economy, preserve natural resources, and provide viable solutions for used fuel and final waste management.

With its modern front-end facilities, its significant industrial experience in used fuel management, and its continuing development of innovative industry services, Orano fulfills customer needs throughout the entire fuel cycle. Orano utilises experience from delivering complex large scale Engineering Procurement Construction Management (EPCM) contracts at its own nuclear sites to support other nuclear operators around the world. The group sustains existing nuclear reactors, and is already actively engaged in the developing market of next-generation nuclear, and in dismantling legacy facilities.