German uranium, Russian fuel

Publish date: May 27, 2000

German nuclear power plants use fuel assemblies manufactured in Russia.

The first batch of fuel assemblies made in Russia with use of German uranium was delivered to the German nuclear power plant in Obrigheim and the Swedish nuclear power plant in Oskarshamn, Antinuclear Resistance Bulletin reported.

Nine nuclear power plants in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland are going to burn fuel, which German Siemens produces at the plant in Elektrostal, Russia. It is planned to reprocess 30-50 tons of German uranium there annually. The uranium is primarily enriched in France and England. Siemens will supply casing for the fuel assemblies and other components. The production will be under control of the Russian and German supervisors.

The engineering plant in Elektrostal produces 1000 tons of nuclear fuel annually. Totally 51 reactors in Russia, CIS, and Europe are using this fuel.

The chain of production includes the following stages. First, the 7-8 gram uranium pallets are placed into airtight boxes for reprocessing. After through verification the reprocessed pallets are placed into the assembly casing. This procedure is automatic on the western equipment, while in Russia it is done manually. Then the fabricated fuel assemblies are loaded into the special containers and shipped to St. Petersburg and then by sea to German port Bremerhaven.

“Nearly all German nuclear power plants are ready to use fuel assemblies manufactured in Russia,” Mr. Broskamp, chairman of one of the committees in the Union of German Nuclear Power Plants, said after this project had been launched.

The project has been heavily criticised by German environmental groups.