9. MELOX – Marcoule (AREVA/CEA)


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MELOX facility, located on the Marcoule nuclear site in Gard region of France, produces MOX fuel assemblies intended to feed light water reactors. Created from a mixture of uranium oxides and plutonium, MOX fuel enables the recycling of plutonium issuing from used fuel recovered during treatment operations executed at the AREVA La Hague recycling site.

MELOX is the world leader in the production of MOX fuel, with more than 1,700 MTHM (metric tons of heavy metal) and nearly 3,300 fuel assemblies produced by the end of 2010 since the plant started operation. To keep in step with market developments, AREVA MELOX was granted an authorization in 2007 to progressively increase its annual production from 145 MTHM to 195 MTHM.

41 reactors worldwide have been loaded with MOX fuel assemblies since the beginning of the 1970s: 36 of these are in Europe (21 in France, 10 in Germany, 3 in Switzerland and 2 in Belgium), 1 is in the United States and 4 are in Japan or 10% of the world of light water reactors.

CEA Marcoule

Atalante - Intervention au télémanipulateur dans la chaîne blindée procédé Atalante - Télémanipulation d'une aiguille de combustible irradié Atalante - caissons blindés et de boîtes-à-gants en ligne


The Marcoule center has long established a firm foothold in the Gard region (in the area around Avignon), having been built more than six decades ago. The Nuclear Energy Division’s experimental teams and means for research on the nuclear fuel cycle are currently grouped on this CEA site. This center also ensures the operational supervision of all clean-up and dismantling worksites both in Marcoule and on other civil nuclear sites belonging to the CEA. With over 300 million euros pumped into the local economy each year, the CEA is the main economic player on the site where more than 5,000 work.

Within the CEA, the Nuclear Energy Division (DEN) provides the French government and industry with technical expertise and innovations in nuclear energy systems to develop sustainable nuclear energy that is both safe and economically competitive.

To rise to this challenge, the DEN is engaged in three main areas of investigation:

  • Future nuclear systems: 4th-generation reactors and their fuel cycle
  • Optimisation of the existing nuclear industry
  • Development and operation of large-scale experimentation and simulation tools that are essential for its research objectives

At the same time, as a nuclear operator, the DEN manages and develops its own fleet of nuclear facilities. It implements construction and refurbishment programs for its facilities, together with clean-up and dismantling programs for those that have reached the end of their service life.

Visit program

Please note that participants must arrange their own train travel.
Pregnant women can unfortunately not take part in this visit as it may involve exposure to ionizing radiations.

  • TGV 6101, 06:19 Paris Gare de Lyon — 08:59 Avignon TGV
  • 09:00: Transfer to MELOX site by bus
  • 09:45: Welcome speech and presentation of the on-site activities
  • 11:00: Tour of MOX fuel assembly production factory
  • 13:00: Access procedure and bus tour of the CEA Marcoule site
  • 13:30: Lunch
  • 14:30: Tour of the ATALANTE facility (C11/C12 and L 28 hot laboratories for research on actinide chemistry)
  • 16:00: Visit of the InfoDEM decommissioning exhibition
  • 16:30: Visit of the Visiatome museum
  • 17:00: Transfer to train station by bus
  • TGV 6130, 18:42 Avignon TGV — 21:23 Paris Gare de Lyon