Visit to MELOX Facility | AREVA North America: Next Energy Blog


By Robert W. Gee, President, Gee Strategies Group LLC

The group outside of the Melox Facility during their tour.

A critical part of the used fuel recycling process is the ability to deploy plutonium to create mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for civilian nuclear reactors.  This visit was an opportunity to see how MOX fuel is manufactured and integrated into nuclear fuel assemblies.  Although this is a highly technical, automated process, a high degree of additional human interaction is relied upon, particularly for quality control.  Sophisticated instrumentation is combined with direct human visual examination in the production of nuclear fuel “pellets”, and fuel assembly. A big takeaway was that no matter how advanced or automated this type of production has become, this experience served as reminder of how essential live visual oversight remains.  Robots can accelerate the pace and volume of global manufacturing, but nothing can substitute for direct human decision making to ensure production integrity. I couldn’t resist the irony:  In many respects, we remain wedded to “low tech” observational means even as we push the envelope with this 21st Century technology. TAGS: Gee Strategies, MOX Fuel

Posted in: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power Plants, Used Fuel | No Comments»

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