The All Russian Scientific & Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES) (part of Russian nuclear utility Rosenergoatom, a subsidiary for state nuclear corporation Rosatom) has drawn up a programme for management of used nuclear fuel from Russian NPPs for 2016-2018 to 2020. It will replace the previous programme which has come to an end, VNIIAES said on 25 August. The new used fuel management concept provides for its transportation from NPP sites either to Production Association Mayak in Ozersk for reprocessing or to the centralised facility at the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) in Zheleznogorsk for storage and subsequent reprocessing.

The program aims to solve the main problems facing NPP used fuel management, VNIIAES said. For example, used fuel container storages with facilities for cutting used fuel assemblies (SFAs) and systems for removing them from NPP sites are being set up at NPPs with RBMK reactors. At Leningrad NPP the container storage facility in pilot commercial operation, with the cutting facility has been commissioned and is in commercial operation. At Kursk NPP similar facilities are in pilot commercial operation.

A centralized 'dry' interim storage facility for used RBMK-1000 fuel began operating at MCC in February 2012. This stage of the facility can store 8,129t of RBMK fuel from the Leningrad, Kursk and Smolensk NPPs, where RBMKs operate. The used fuel from these plants is initially stored in on-site water-filled pools, but these are reaching full-capacity.

At NPPs with VVER reactors, used nuclear fuel is held in pools at the plant site and then moved to the fuel recycling plant or to storage. Currently VVER-440 fuel from Novoronezh (units 3 and 4) and Kola NPPs goes to Mayak for reprocessing and VVER-1000 fuel from the Balakovo, Kalinin, Novovoronezh (unit 5) and Rostov NPPs goes to MCC for pool storage. It will be moved to dry storage when the dry storage facility is expanded. Long-term plans include the construction of a reprocessing plant (RT-2) at MCC to deal with VVER-1000, RBMK-1000 and possibly BN (fast reactor fuel).

Date: Tuesday, 30 August 2016
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