Russia to take spent fuel of Uzbekistan's research reactors

Russia and Uzbekistan signed an intergovernmental agreement that will allow Russia to take back spent HEU fuel of Uzbekistan's research reactors. Russia will also supply Uzbekistan with LEU fuel.

Uzbekistan operates a VVR-SM research reactor, located at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Tashkent. In 1998-1999 the reactor was converted from 90% to 36% HEU fuel and in 2008-2009 - to 19.7% LEU fuel (IRT-4M type). The remaining fresh HEU fuel was shipped to Russia in September 2004. Shipments of spent fuel to Russia that occurred before 1991 involved 128 fuel assemblies of the EK-10 type, 32 IRT-2M, and 224 IRT-3M (90%). In 2006, 210 IRT-3M (90%) and 42 IRT-3M (36%) spent fuel assemblies were removed to Russia. The final spent fuel shipment, expected to be completed in 2012, will consist of 2 C-36 and 108 IRT-3M (36%) assemblies.

Another HEU research installation in Uzbekistan is the Foton solution research reactor that contains 4.2 kg of U-235 in a solution of 90% HEU. This reactor is expected to be decommissioned, although no specific plan has been developed so far.

(Information on Uzbekistan's reactors is from Umar Salikhbaev, "HEU Minimization at the Institute of Nuclear Physics, Uzbekistan," International Symposium on Highly Enriched Uranium Minimization Vienna, January 23 - 25, 2012.)