May be stored on Novaya Zemlya

Igor Kudrik
1997-12-09 12:00












RBMK spent fuel:
May be stored on Novaya Zemlya


Minatom plans to build a new facility on Novaya Zemlya to store spent fuel from RBMK
reactors, reported Nuclear Engineering International. There is no project as yet for the facility or
repository on Novaya Zemlya, says senior researcher in Minatom institute.


According to Nuclear Engineering International, Ministry for Atomic Energy of Russia (Minatom)
plans to build facility on Novaya Zemlya to store spent fuel from RBMK-type reactors. This fuel is now
stored in on-site facilities at Russia’s three RBMK nuclear power plants – Kursk, Leningrad and
Smolensk. Stores are almost full, as this type of fuel is not subject for reprocessing in Russia.

— There is no ready project as yet for storage facility or repository on Novaya Zemlya, said in the
interview to Bellona WEB Vladimir Mankin, senior researcher in All-Russia Research and Design
Institute of Production Engineering (VNIPIpromtechnologii). The Institute has developed a feasibility
study for construction of a test industrial object for underground radioactive waste isolation in
permafrost of Novaya Zemlya and completed a part of engineering research field work this year.

Mankin said that the funding of the project remained scarce during 1997. The planned completion of
engineering and geological research on Novaya Zemlya by the end of 1998 is likely to be beyond the
schedule.

— The studies we are conducting today are related to the prospects of creating a repository for low-
and medium-level radwaste. No detailed research has been done to define the possibilities for disposing
spent nuclear fuel on Novaya Zemlya, added Mankin.

According to Mankin, given stable funding, the first shipments of low- and medium-level radwaste for
disposal on Novaya Zemlya are possible in 5 years.

The Novaya Zemlya study was launched in 1991. The repository was to be located by settlement
Bashmachnyi on the southern island of Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Due to the lack of funding, the
engineering research field work has been hardly completed so far.

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Igor Kudrik

igor@bellona.no