Areva and EDF have reached an agreement covering the transport, treatment and recycling of used nuclear fuel, bringing an end to a dispute between the two French engineerig giants.

The agreement lays down the conditions for applying the framework agreement signed in December 2008, which sets out the principles of a long-term partnership for the treatment-recycling of used fuel and reprocessed fuel fabrications.

The two state-owned companies say that they will sign a contract covering the services by the end of March 2010. In January the French government stepped in to mediate talks between EDF and Areva, and gave the companies two weeks to resolve their differences.

The two firms have agreed that from 2010 onwards, EDF will increase the amounts of fuel sent for treatment at Areva’s La Hague site from 850 tons to 1050 tons per year. In addition, the amount of MOX fuel fabricated at the Melox site will increase from 100 t/year to 120 t/year.

In a joint statement, EDF and Areva said that the agreement will give them “long-term visibility on their recycling partnership”. They say that they are continuing talks to resolve issues surrounding the enrichment of EDF uranium at Areva’s Eurodif site.

The dispute between EDF and Areva turned to public hostility in January when Areva briefly halted fuel deliveries to and the collection of waste from EDF sites after a deadline to renew their contract expired.