Russia to test spent nuclear fuel from Lithuanian NPP

Publish date: August 9, 2004

Russia will for the first time conduct research in this field for a European Union country, the institute's press service told RIA Novosti.

The Research Institute of Nuclear Reactors in Dimitrovgrad, Russia’s Ulyanovsk region (Volga Area) is expected to study the irradiated uranium fuel to be brought from Lithuania. Four fuel assemblies that are 3.5 metres high, 80 millimeters in diameter and contain 2.4% of uranium each, will be brought from the Ignalinsk nuclear power plant. The project timeframe has not been revealed for security reasons.

“These are the assemblies of an RBMK industrial 1,500 MWt reactor with. Reactors of this type operate in Russia, and the institute has appropriate skills to deal with such assemblies,” said the press service. The fuel for the Ignalinsk plant was produced in Russia. Technical errors were registered at the plant and the reactor had to be switched off, and the assemblies removed, explained the institute.

“Lithuania laid a claim against Russia. However, Russia demanded an expert examination. There is no place in Europe to test the fuel without damaging the assembly, whereas the Dimitrovgrad institute has appropriate techniques. We will have to find out what causes assembly errors,” said the press service.

The contract for the test was agreed on at the inter-government level. The Russian and Lithuanian Prime ministers, and an official from Belarus via which the assemblies will be transported to Russia, signed the agreement, RIA Novosti reported.