INNOVATIVE RESEARCH // To this day, Eurochemic is the only company where a group of international partners worked together on the research into industrial applications for the reprocessing of nuclear fuel. Reprocessing is a term used in the nuclear industry for the recovery of usable fissile materials from spent nuclear fuel. During this chemical recycling process, the usable uranium and plutonium are separated from the spent fission products. Thanks to this reprocessing, today 97% of the plutonium and uranium can be recovered to make new nuclear fuel. In the late nineteen-fifties, reprocessing in Europe only took place at two modest plants: at the then Windscale power plant – the current Sellafield plant - in the United Kingdom and in Marcoule in France. Eurochemic worked on a highly innovative research programme, which led to pioneering progress in nuclear reprocessing. A separate research department constantly tested new test arrangements to find the best possible ways to separate fissile material and waste. Fuel elements from the nuclear reactors of the participating countries were reprocessed in Eurochemic on an industrial scale. From 1966 to 1974, a total of 181.5 tonnes of natural and low-enriched uranium was reprocessed. Of this material, 95.5 tonnes originated from commercial nuclear reactors. A total of 677 kg of plutonium was separated. In addition, 1363 kilograms of high-enriched uranium was recycled from 30.6 tonnes of fuel elements from European pilot reactors. When Eurochemic was commissioned in 1966, it employed 378 people of thirteen different nationalities.  
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