Ukraine’s Energoatom has signed a contract with US nuclear engineering firm Holtec International to build a spent nuclear fuel (SNF) storage facility.

The facility will store SNF in a dry cask system that is expected to be located in the Chernobyl exclusion zone given parliamentary and regulatory approval.

The first phase will be developed at a cost of around $153 million that will provide sufficient storage capacity for 7-8 years. Ultimately the facility will be expanded over the next 20 years at an estimated total cost of around $482 million, Kris Singh, chief executive of Holtec, told NEI. Given approvals, construction is due to begin next year and take three years.

The SNF is currently sent to Russia for reprocessing, although the transportable canister storage system will provide a minimum service life of 100 years.