Rosatom confirms it will not bring foreign-origin spent fuel to Russia

Speaking at a conference in St-Petersburg, the head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, confirmed once again that Rosatom has no plans to bring foreign-origin spent fuel to Russia. At the same time, he said that Rosatom is taking back some of the Russian-origin spent fuel and will continue this practice.

Amendments to the Russian law "On protection of the environment" that were accepted in 2001 allow Rosatom to bring foreign-origin (as well as Russian-origin) spent fuel to the country. The changes in the law were made to facilitate the project that would allow Russia to take foreign fuel for storage and reprocessing. In particular, Russia considered a possibility of taking some U.S.-origin fuel from South Korea and Taiwan. Some prospective sites were considered at the time. However, in 2006 Rosatom reacting to considerable public pressure publicly stated that it will not bring any foreign-origin fuel to Russia.

Concerns about spent fuel take back were raised again in connection with the U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation agreement, which entered into force in January 2011. The agreement would allow the United States to give its consent to taking U.S.-origin fuel to Russia. Kiriyenko's statement in St-Petersburg was probably a response to these concerns.