Ukraine resumes sending used fuel to Russia

12 July 2016

Ukrainian utility Energoatom has resumed payments for the transfer of used nuclear fuel to Russia for processing after the block on its bank accounts was lifted. Energoatom's accounts were frozen in March on the order of Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko, following court action brought in August 2011 by a joint venture company, Ukrelektrovat.

In May Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom postponed removing the first 2016 batch of used fuel after Energoatom failed to pay in line with the contract. “The problem is being solved. We have already started sending the financial payments to the Russian combines,” Energoatom president Yuri Nedashkovsky said in an interview with 112 Ukraine TV channel on 6 July. He said the first batch of used fuel was being prepared for shipment to Russia.

Meanwhile, vitrified high-level radioactive waste (HLW) from processing the used fuel will be returned to Ukraine from Russia in 2018, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRI) said on 2 July. SNRI head Sergei Bozhko said negotiations were underway with Russia on the return of waste from used fuel from units 1 and 2 of Rovno NPP, which have VVER-440 reactors. Earlier, it was planned that Ukraine would start receiving HLW from Russia in 2013. A storage facility was planned to be built for interim (up to 100 years) storage of this waste in the Chernobyl seclusion zone, but construction has been delayed. 

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