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The production of nuclear-grade zirconium sponge and the fabrication of zirconium-base alloys have been considered vital in some European countries, because of the need for zirconium independence for military (atomic bomb) or economic (nuclear power plant) reasons. This paper describes the various steps of this scientific and industrial development, mainly from 1950 to 1984, in which mostly the Federal Republic of Germany and France were involved. The important improvements brought by Europe to the basic processes are pointed out, and the present status of the European zirconium industry is described.
zirconium, hafnium, zirconium sponge, zirconium fabricated products, zirconium history, zirconium economics
Compagnie Européenne du Zirconium, CEZUS, Paris,