Reprocessing costs USD 100 billion

Publish date: November 24, 1997

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

--Reprocessing of all spent nuclear fuel accumulated in Russia is going to cost at least USD 100 billion, says Vladimir Goman, head of the Duma Committee on Northern Russia.

Some 65,000 naval spent fuel assemblies is stored at temporary storage sites, onboard rundown service ships and in the reactors of some 90 old submarines. In addition, all storage facilities at the nine Russian nuclear power plants are overfilled, while some spent fuel also is stored at various research reactors. The total cost for reprocessing of all this waste will be at least USD 100 billion, according to Goman. Russia intends to organize an international conference on reprocessing of nuclear waste in 1998.

Another problem area, where progress is limited by the economic crisis in Russia, is that of maintenance on the civilian nuclear reactors. According to the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta on November 20, only one trillion rubel (approx. 200 million USD) out of 10 trillion needed for maintenance, has been transferred.

–Unless Russia acts quickly about replacing spare parts on its ageing nuclear reactors, the country could witness an accident possibly worse than the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta Editor Alexei Chadaev. The situation is particularly critical at Bilibino, Kursk, Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants.