Investments of up to $3.4 billion are needed over the next 30 years to develop Russia's reprocessing industry, according to Minatom.
The head of Minatom's board for relations with government bodies and information policy, Nikolai Shingarev, said about $1.1 billion alone was needed in the period up to 2010, which would come from electricity tariffs and income raised through imports of spent fuel.
Russia currently accepts spent fuel from a handful of east European countries, and Shingarev said no major imports were expected over the next five to seven years because of "very strong competition" in the international reprocessing market. He also pointed out that Russia had not yet ratified "sub-legislation" regulating the process of import, storage and further reprocessing spent fuel.
However, according to atomic energy minister Alexander Rumyantsev, Russia will be ready to accept foreign spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing by December of this year.
Minatom figures for 2001 show that 64t of spent fuel was imported to Russia from Bulgaria, and about 100t from Ukraine.