The transportation of nuclear waste from Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant to the Mayak processing plant in Russia has been halted indefinitely. Mayak was supposed to receive 30 tons of spent nuclear fuel according to an agreement with the Bulgarians signed in Sofia in late 1997. Waste shipments were cancelled because the Moldovan parliament forbade the movement of the material across its territory. Finding an alternative route through Romania will require extensive negotiations.

Mayak’s management is angry about its inability to obtain the material because it is losing money. It was to receive $620 for every kilogram of waste processed. According to Mayak Deputy General Director Yevgeny Ryzhkov, Bulgaria and Ukraine are the only countries that accept Russian legislation on handling nuclear waste and continue to send spent nuclear fuel to Mayak for processing. Eighteen months ago, Russia amended its law on accepting nuclear waste to require the country that shipped the waste to take it back. As a result, Mayak no longer receives material from Finland and Hungary, formerly its most important clients.