Spent fuel bill agreed

2 July 2001

The package comprises amendments to the federal law "On the use of nuclear energy", amendments to Article 50 of the law "On the Environmental Protection", and a set of ecological programmes for the rehabilitation of radiation contaminated land.

The first bill, which introduces amendments and additions to the law on atomic energy use, defines "temporary technological storage" and indicates that all SNF work will be subject to civil legal contracts, was adopted by 250 votes to 125. The second, which introduces an exclusion from the existing ban on imports of foreign nuclear materials was passed by 243 to 125. The third bill was adopted by 266 votes to 117.

The bill is now expected to be approved by the Federation Council, the parliament's upper house. The measure will then need to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Russia will reportedly have to spend $300 million to upgrade existing storage and reprocessing facilities to handle the waste, but fuel processing contracts could earn the country about $20 billion over 10 years.

Meanwhile, the administration of the Dubovsky district in the Rostov region has refused to give land for the construction of repositories to bury nuclear waste from the Rostov plant. Three disposal facilities for expended nuclear fuel, including production and toxic waste, liquid and solid non-radioactive waste, as well as liquid and solid radioactive waste, were to be constructed in 2002.

The refusal was made known at a meeting of the permanent commission responsible for building the repositories and the maintenance of the Rostov plant. This commission was formed by the Rostov regional legislative assembly. The administration said the refusal is due to insufficient financing for the district from the atomic energy ministry (Minatom). The ministry transferred only R7.1m ($240,000) for the development of the social sector of the Dubovsky region instead of the R33.2 million ($1.14 million) provided for in an agreement between the regional administration and the ministry.

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