Russia to reprocess foreign spent nuclear fuel

Yevgeny Adamov, the acting minister for atomic energy of Russian Federation, stated that Russia could earn some 5-6 billion USD by taking spent nuclear fuel from other countries for reprocessing. The statement was made by Adamov at Ministry’s workshop outside Moscow on April 21.

According to Adamov, Russia is one of the few countries with a closed nuclear cycle; thus the market for such services are quite big. Adamov believes that the earned funds can be forwarded to completion of RT-2 reprocessing plant in Krasnoyarsk-26, as well as for construction of new nuclear power plants.

Currently Russia operates one reprocessing plant in Chelyabinsk county, Mayak, and 9 nuclear power plants (for a total of 29 reactor units).

Construction of the new reprocessing plant in Krasnoyarsk-26 was authorised in 1977, although actual construction works were not started until 1985. The RT-2 plant will reprocess spent nuclear fuel from light water reactors such as the VVER-1000. In 1989 the construction works, then 30-40 % complete, were halted, due both to a lack of funding and strong opposition against the facility on the local level.

The plans for new nuclear power plants presume commissioning of 6-7 reactor units by the year 2005. Today, the funding shortfalls hamper the scheduled construction works.