The French nuclear group Orano (ex-Areva) announced on Monday the opening of the first “Stable isotope laboratory” in France, on the site of the Tricastin power plant in Drôme, an investment of 15 million euros, the first productions of which are expected “In the second half of 2023”.
Stable isotopes, non-radioactive forms of atoms, are used in the medical field for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers, in the industrial sector (increasing the performance of lasers) and in the field of fundamental research (quantum computing), specifies Orano in a press release. “Their demand continues to grow”, adds the group, resulting from the restructuring of the former Areva, rather specialized in the nuclear fuel cycle: mines, uranium enrichment, recycling of spent fuel but also logistics, dismantling and engineering.
“A first in France”
The new facility, covering an area of 3,200 square meters, will employ around 20 highly qualified people, says Orano. “This new high-level technological activity is a first in France. With the production of stable isotopes, we innovate and explore new fields of application of our technologies outside the nuclear field. At a time when the subject of sovereignty is making a comeback, we are contributing to it with this new industrial investment in France ” underlined Philippe Knoche, CEO of Orano, quoted in the press release.