Fuel management

The removal of irradiated fuel is fundamental for the decommissioning of a nuclear plant. Fuel refers to the fissile material allowing the nuclear reaction to occur within the reactor; after being used and cooled in the pools, the fuel is removed from the plant in highly resistant metallic shielding containers (cask) to be later reprocessed. This process enables recovering reusable materials and reducing 5% of radioactive waste. The residual material is conditioned and reduced in size, thus, ensuring its long-term safe storage.
During the operation period of the plant, 487 fuel elements were irradiated, equal to 137 tonnes of pre-irradiated heavy metals (Uranium and Plutonium). The 487 elements have been gradually removed from the plant and sent to reprocessing. In detail:

  • 93 elements were sent to Belgium, EUROCHEMIC plant, between 1969 and 1972
  • 246 elements were sent to Sellafield (UK), between 1974 and 1993
  • 148 elements are under the shipment and reprocessing agreement ratified with ORANO (former AREVA) on 27 April 2007 at La Hague(F) plant. In 1984, 49 of these elements were transferred from Trino plant to another storage site in Italy. Between 2011 and 2015, 147 elements of the fuel destined to La Hague (F) were transferred to France.
From 2015, Trino plant is free from irradiated fuel. All the shipment operations were implemented in compliance with the national and international law and under the monitoring of competent Authorities (ensuring the maximum level of safety for people and environment). Residual materials resulted from reprocessing will be shipped back to Italy to be temporarily stored in the National Repository.