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The CEA Marcoule

​​​One of France's pionneer nuclear research centre, the CEA Marcoule is in charge of nuclear fuel cycle R&D, and of major dismantling opérations. It is also involved in sustanaible and circular economy ​issues such as strategic metals extraction or recycling, as well as remediation and decontamination processes.​
Publié le 2 juin 2016

This page offers a brief overview of marcoule's missions and activites.
For additional information and professional contact in english
(technology transfers, media contacts, etc.), feel free​ to use our
contact form.​


Created in 1955 and a pionneer in France's nuclear industry history, Marcoule is France's Al​ternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission reference site for nuclear fuel cycle research (spent fuel processing and recycling and radioactive waste management). Other areas of R&D activity include development of the fuel cycle for future nuclear systems,as well as research in support of industrial partners.

Furthermore, due to its historic activities in the field of nuclear materials production for military applications, the Marcoule centre is nowadays in charge of operational management of one of the world's vastest program of  nuclear facilities dismantling and legacy waste retrieval.

CEA Marcoule is located in south of France (The Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region), along the Rhone river.


​CEA Marcoule's
​Key figures

- staff : 1,500 (Marcoule site : 5,000)
- Budget : EUR. 500 millions
- Patents (stock) : 285​
- Scientific publications : 300 / year​​

  • ​​Download our english leaflet

R&D for nuclear fuel cycle

CEA Marcoule provides support to industrial partners to improve the performance of existing fuel reprocessing plants and to assist their engineering teams in proposing competitive new facilities for export.The research involves studies and experimental campaigns carried out in several facilities on the site, including Atalante, the only laboratory of its kind in the world (tens of thousands of square meters dedicated to high-activity chemistry research). Teams are a​lso involve​d in the studies in preparation of future nuclear fuel cycle, the so-called Gen4 nuclear systems.

Recognized international expertise in nuclear R&D, as well as in rare earthes and strategic metals (read below) is involved in many international projects and networks, especially in the framework of EU programs such as :​

Dismantling operations

It is just as important to be able to dismantle a nuclear facility as to build it. Decontamination and dismantling work on legacy facilities at Marcoule (the first reactors G1, G2, G3, and the UP1 reprocessing plant) constitutes a world's first by the magnitude of the project and by the highly innovative technologies developed and implemented.

Development of tools for remote handling in hostile highly radioactive environment and testing platform, such as robot arm with force feedback, laser cutting,etc. The teams also conduct R&D on 3D simulation tools based on virtual reality technologies in order to test the dismantling scenarii: accessability checking, dosimetry calculations.​

Technology transfer

CEA promotes technology transfers formany of its R&D fields. If you are a company interested in getting in touch with some of our experts, please use our contact form.​

New projects and opportunities​

Rare earthes / strategic metals​ : the ieh project

With over half a century of experience and unique skills in separative and extractive chemistry, the CEA Marcoule currently develops a cutting-edge hydrome​tallurgy-based R&D offer in the field of ra​re earthes / strategic metals. The teams are dedicated to technolgy transfers and address the mining & recycling industries. A new European Institute of Hydrometallurgy (IEH) is due to open soon in Marcoule.​

  • A spin-off of CEA Marcoule, EXTRACTHIVE desig​ns and tests metal extraction and recovery processes for the mining and recycling industries​. Visit the company's website to be put in touch with a sales representative
  • Also discover PROMETIA, the international non-profit association promoti​ng innovation in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy for mining and recycling of raw materials.​ Visit the associations's website.

valorization of industrial sites : the pvsi initiative

With nuclear facility dismantling set to be an ongoing growth activity not just in Europe but worldwide, the French nuclear industry is rea​dy to capitalize on its long experience in this field. Created in 2014 around Marcoule, the Industrial Sites Valorization Pole (PVSI) has a skill set based on 20 yea​rs of lessons learned from completed or in-progress nuclear dismantling operations on the Marcoule nuclear center and other French D&D projects. The PVSI is focused on valorization in D&D both for nuclear and non-nuclear sectors.​ A nationwide initiative, PVSI comprises 20 members among which major french nuclear contractors (CEA, AREVA, EDF) and numerous supply-chain actors.

  • ​​The PVSI focuses on 5 strategic fields of action : investigations and diagnoses, treatment decontamination-depollution, waste management, hostile environment interventions, and dismantling project management.
  • Visit PVSI's website