Mayoral candidate for Ozersk Vladimir Malkov has joined general director of the Mayak reprocessing plant Vitaly Sadovnikov in a campaign to resurrect the South Urals plant. Construction at the plant was abandoned ten years ago, ostensibly because it ran out of funds. Malkov said Russia’s previous leadership lost sight of domestic strategic objectives preferring to wait for western help to solve problems. “Improvement of the economic situation in the country allows us to resume realisation of investment projects of national importance. These should include the South Urals plant,” he added.
The campaigners say that South Urals should be based on new BN-800 fast reactors that can use plutonium as fuel.
At the same time managers at the Mayak reprocessing plant are hoping for an upgrade if the facility is to begin accepting imported spent fuel in line with new government policy. Until the 1990s, Mayak reprocessed spent fuel from all former socialist countries. At the moment it is only taking spent fuel from Ukraine. Negotiations are in progress to resume cooperation with the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, but contracts with other countries will require significant upgrading at the facility.