Russia to loose $33 billion due to spent nuclear fuel import

Publish date: November 11, 2004

A new study on the economical aspects of the nuclear waste import to Russia reveals gigantic unaccounted expenses – the cost of radioactive materials storage and disposal.

According to the new study on the economical aspects of the Russian Atomic Agency plans on spent nuclear fuel import, the unaccounted expenses would be $33.87 billion, daily Noviye Izvestia reported. This information is published in the report by Konyashkin (Department of Natural Resources of Tomsk Region Administration) and Malyshev (Tomsk State Architect-Construction University). The report was presented at the international conference ”Radioactivity and human environment”, which took place in Tomsk, Siberia, from 20 to 23 October. The Russian Federal Agency on Atomic Energy was one of the organisers of the conference.

While planning to earn billions on spent nuclear fuel import, the Minatom’s specialists forgot to take into account disposal of the low-, medium- and high-level liquid radioactive waste activity. Such waste would be definitely generated during foreign spent nuclear fuel reprocessing in Russia. Disposal of this waste would additionally require $3.62 billion. Besides, the storage of the spent fuel during 260 years was not counted as well as plutonium storage during 50 years what requires $4.8 billion and $24 billion respectively. Minatom planned to reprocess the part of the fuel and generate plutonium. The major part of the imported spent fuel will be stored and not reprocessed in Russia.

The Minatom’s specialists claimed it would be possible to earn $20 billion during 10 years thanks to the import of 20 thousand tonne of the spent nuclear fuel. Russia should have earned $4 billion already by 2003. But according to co-chairman of Ecodefense group Vladimir Slivyak, all operations with imported spent nuclear fuel from 2001 to 2003 let Minatom earn just $100m.