The four MOX fuel assemblies fabricated from American excess weapon-grade plutonium have left the port of Cherbourg this morning at 3:05 am for Charleston (United States). The two chartered ships, the Pacific Teal and the Pacific Pintail, are purpose-built and dedicated for nuclear materials transportation.

The ships meet high safety and security standards, in compliance with very stringent national and international regulations. They are equipped with naval guns and protected by specialised armed forces throughout their journey.

The programme, which consists of transforming excess weapon-grade plutonium stocks into civil nuclear fuel for power plants, is implemented within the framework of the non-proliferation program involving the United States and the Russian Federation. The four assemblies fabricated in France will validate the performance of MOX fuel in an American nuclear reactor. They will be loaded at the nuclear power plant of Catawba, operated by the utility company Duke Power.

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