The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Economic Council on 28 June appointed TVEL JSC (the management company of the Rosatom’s TVEL Fuel Company) the status of the basic organisation of the CIS countries for the management of used nuclear fuel, radioactive waste and the decommissioning nuclear and radiation hazardous objects. The CIS includes Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Georgia withdrew its membership in 2008 and Ukraine ended its participation in CIS statutory bodies in 2018.
The activities of TVEL JSC as a base organisation will include a wide range of different areas: consolidation and systematisation of accumulated experience and scientific knowledge, development of common approaches, harmonisation of the regulatory framework, training and retraining of personnel, as well as direct assistance in the implementation of projects and programmes for nuclear decommissioning and rehabilitation of territories, including the construction and operation of storage facilities for nuclear materials.
“Giving TVEL the status of a CIS base organiation will expand the existing potential of international cooperation, ensure consistency and comprehensiveness in the formation of approaches to unify the norms and rules for the safe decommissioning of nuclear facilities and radioactive waste management,” said TVEL President Natalya Nikipelova. “The Fuel Company will provide a “single window” function for the competent authorities of the Commonwealth countries in the event of urgent requests from them on the topic of eliminating the nuclear legacy. TVEL is already stepping up work on cooperation in ensuring nuclear and radiation safety in the CIS countries.”
Russia has many years of experience in implementing complex and non-standard projects for the decommissioning of nuclear and radioactive waste and the management of associated radioactive waste. During the implementation of the first Federal Target Programme "Nuclear and Radiation Safety" (from 2008 to 2015), the TVEL enterprises completed 37 projects at seven sites, while 57 facilities were decommissioned and 13 more were prepared for further decommissioning. These included Russia’s first experience of decommissioning a nuclear installation at the Mining and Chemical Combine (Krasnoyarsk) to "green lawn" status. In 2019, TVEL was designated by Rosatom as an industry integrator for the business line decommissioning, including work with NPP reactors with the in-vessel installations of the primary circuit, as well as handling associated radwaste.
“As an integrator for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, TVEL consolidates the industry's competencies and references in this area, develops new technologies, including digital and automated solutions,” said TVEL’s director of decommissioning programmes, Vadim Sukhikh. “In addition to building industry cooperation, an important role of the integrator is to form a comprehensive product offer to provide a full cycle of services from project development to rehabilitation of the territory after the facility is decommissioned.”
Competence centres for decommissioning have been established at several TVEL enterprises including the Siberian Chemical Combine and the Angarsk Electro-Chemical Combine (project implementation), Central Project Institute of Technology (engineering) and the AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Materials (backend technologies). Since 2019, TVEL has also included Germany-based Nukem Technologies Engineering Services Gmbh.
This year the company celebrates its 25th anniversary. Today the company is one of the largest suppliers of fuel for the world nuclear power industry. As the only supplier of nuclear fuel for Russian NPPs, TVEL supplies fuel for a total of 75 power reactors in 15 countries, research reactors in nine countries and for the transport reactors of the Russian nuclear fleet. TVEL is the world's largest producer of enriched uranium, as well as a leader in the global stable isotope market and is developing new businesses in the fields of chemistry, metallurgy, energy storage technologies, 3D printing and digital products.