Alexander Rumyantsev, Russia’s atomic energy minister, has approved plans to modernise Russia’s RT-1 spent fuel reprocessing plant at the Mayak Chemical Combine. He said that implementation of the plan would ensure the “complete cessation of radioactive discharges to the Techa river” by 2011.

Modernisation of the plant would allow it to reprocess spent fuel from VVER-1000 reactors. RT-1 is currently only able to process spent fuel from VVER-440 and BN-600 reactors, as well as spent fuel from nuclear-powered submarines, plus other civil and military ships.

Minatom decided to press ahead with redesigning the RT-1 plant after it became clear that previous plans to complete a larger (RT-2) plant at Krasnoyarsk were not financially feasible.