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Current Issues: New Uranium Conversion/Enrichment and Nuclear Fuel Plant Projects - Russia   flag

(last updated 13 Nov 2021)


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Centrifuge Enrichment

Angarsk International enrichment center project, Irkutsk Region

Angarsk International enrichment center signs contract with Ukraine; Armenia to participate, too: Russian-supplied fuel for Ukraine's nuclear power plants is to use uranium enriched at the International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) in Siberia, in which Ukraine holds a 10% stake. Armenia has also agreed to take a similar stake in the enrichment facility.
The IUEC has signed a contract with the Ukraine's Nuclear Fuel Holding Company, SC Nuclear Fuel, for the supply of nuclear fuel assemblies. Under the contract, Ukraine will provide natural uranium for enrichment at the IUEC. Once enriched, this uranium will then be transferred to Russian fuel fabrication company TVEL, who will produce fuel assemblies for shipment to Ukraine. The first shipment of enriched uranium to Ukraine is expected before the end of 2012.
Enriched uranium from IUEC is also set to be delivered to a new fuel fabrication plant being set up in Ukraine with Russia's assistance. SC Nuclear Fuel and TVEL signed an agreement for the facility's construction in late 2010. The plant - with a capacity of 400 tonnes of uranium per year - is scheduled to begin fabrication of fuel rods and assemblies in 2015. It will also begin producing fuel powders, pellets and assemblies by 2020.
While Russia is to maintain majority ownership of the IUEC, up until now Kazakhstan and Ukraine have been the only other nation's to participate in the initiative, both taking a 10% shareholding each. However, last week, Armenia - which has one power reactor in operation - closed a deal under which it will take a 10% stake in the IUEC at a cost of 2.6 million rubles ($77,530). With Armenia now taking a shareholding, Russia now holds a 70% stake in the IUEC. (WNN June 1, 2012)

Attackers of Siberian anti-uranium activists given jail terms: A court in the Irkutsk has sentenced 16 men over an assault on ecological protestors in eastern Siberia in 2007. Four men were sentenced to between eight and nine years in jail, while the remaining 12 were given suspended sentences. The group, described in some reports as skinheads, were armed with clubs and iron bars when they launched their attack on the activists' camp near a uranium enrichment plant in the city of Angarsk. At least one activist died in the attack, which police said at the time was "not linked to political or nationalist motives." (RIA Novosti Nov. 18, 2011)

Mongolia to join International Uranium Enrichment Center in Russia: Mongolia would one of the founders of the International Uranium Enrichment Center, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom, said Friday (Oct. 29). "The Mongolian government has shown big interest in this regard, so the inter-governmental agreement will be signed on Nov. 1," said Kiriyenko, who is visiting Mongolia. Currently, the project has three partners, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Ulan Bator has been seeking access since May 2008. Upon closing the deal, Mongolia will get guaranteed access to the uranium-enrichment facilities in Angarsk, a city in Russia's Irkutsk Oblast region. (Xinhua Oct. 29, 2010)

Ukrainian state-owned company Nuclear Fuel has acquired 10 percent of the shares of the International Uranium Enrichment Center, the Itar-Tass news agency reported on Friday (Oct. 8). Ukraine has thus become the third country in the project after Russia and Kazakhstan. Until today, Russia possessed 90 percent of the center's shares and Kazakhstan 10 percent. Russia's share fell to 80 percent as a result of the latest deal. In addition, Russia's federal nuclear agency Rosatom plans to sell 50 percent of the center's stake package minus one share to the new participants in the project. (Xinhua Oct. 8, 2010)

On 29 March 2010, IAEA and the Russian Federation's State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) signed an agreement to establish a reserve of low enriched uranium (LEU) for supply to the IAEA for its Member States to be located at the International Uranium Enrichment Centre in Angarsk, Russia. The LEU reserve of 120 tonnes is valued at roughly USD $250 million. The LEU reserve is being established to provide Member States protection against possible supply disruptions unrelated to technical or commercial considerations. (IAEA Mar. 29, 2010)

New gas cetrifuges for the enrichment of uranium have been put into operation at the Angarsk chemical electrolysis plant (ACEP), an official at the management office of the enterprise told Itar-Tass on Thursday (Nov. 19). Plans to increase the ACEP capacity by about 50 percent -- from 2.6 million to four million separative workunits (SWU)(a uranium processing measure) were announced by the management of the Rosatom State Corporation in view of the establishment of an International Uranium Enrichment Center (IUEC) on the basis of the ACEP. (Itar Tass Nov. 19, 2009)

Russian and Japanese NGOs are opposing the possibility of extracting uranium from spent nuclear fuel reprocessed in the UK and France and re-enriching it at the planned Angarsk International Enrichment Center in Russia. The NGOs are concerned about the transportation hazards, the enormous amounts of radioactive waste (including depleted uranium) generated during the process, and about proliferation risks. (Green Action (Japan), Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (Japan), Ecodefense (Russia), May 11, 2009)

Ukraine is to acquire a 10% share in the planned International uranium enrichment center in Angarsk. (RIA Novosti Dec. 1, 2008)

Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers has approved a draft agreement with the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan about the joint participation in the International uranium enrichment center in Angarsk, Irkutsk region, Russia. (Interfax-Ukraine Nov. 26, 2008)

Marina Rikhvanova received the 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia for her fight against a pipeline project near Lake Baikal and the International enrichment center project near Angarsk.
> View Announcement Apr. 13, 2008 · Details on Marina Rikhvanova (Goldman Prize)

On August 1, 2007, twenty participants of the eighth all-Russian antinuclear camp occupied the unfinished office building for the Kirov area in the center of Irkutsk and declared it the "Baikal nuclear-free republic" (BBR). They demanded the stop of the plans for the enrichment center in Angarsk and the halt of all imports of radioactive wastes, including depleted uranium. After several hours, the police stopped the protest and interviewed the participants at the Irkutsk police station. (Ecodefense, RIA Novosti, August 1, 2007)

Three environmental groups have started setting up a new camp in Siberia to protest against nuclear waste disposal at a local chemicals plant and across Russia. (RIA Novosti July 26, 2007)

On July 21, 2007, a participant of the ecological protest camp held against the International enrichment center project at Angarsk was killed and seven others were injured during an attack on the camp. A criminal investigation has been opened in connection with the attack. (AP July 21, 2007)

The uranium enrichment capacity of the Angarsk Electrolysis-Chemical Combine is to increase almost 300% by 2015 due to the implementation of a development program by the plant and a joint project with Kazakhstan, Federal Atomic Energy Agency Director Sergei Kirienko told journalists in Angarsk. (Interfax June 22, 2007)

An ecological protest camp against the International enrichment center project at Angarsk is organized by Baikal Ecological Wave and Autonomous Action of Irkutsk. The protest camp will start on July 15, 2007.

On May 10, 2007, Russia and Kazakhstan signed a deal on an international uranium enrichment center to be set up at Angarsk. The center will come on stream in 2013 and offer uranium enrichment services to countries interested in developing nuclear energy for civilian purposes. (RIA Novosti May 10, 2007)

On Dec. 3, 2006, more than 200 participants held a demonstration at Irkutsk against the establishment of an international enrichment center at Angarsk. The event was organized by Baikal Movement, Baikal Environmental Wave , Ecodefense , and the Irkutsk chapter of the National Bolshevik Party (NBP). The participants also protested the import of depleted uranium hexafluoride from Western Europe for re-enrichment at Angarsk. (Baikal Environmental Wave, Dec. 3, 2006)
Another demonstration was held at Irkutsk on Dec. 16, 2006. Some 80 people, who gathered for the rally organized by the non- governmental organizations Baikal Ecological Wave and Baikal Movement, called for ensuring the environmental safety of the region in general and Lake Baikal in particular. (Interfax Dec. 16, 2006)

Russia is establishing a uranium enrichment center on the premises of the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Combine. Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko said in an earlier statement that the center would begin operation in 2007. Kazakhstan has made a decision to join Russia's initiative to set up an international nuclear-cycle center under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Russian territory. (Kazatomprom Nov. 28, 2006)



Fuel Fabrication

Seversk REMIX fuel fabrication facility project, Tomsk Region

Seversk fuel plant produced first pilot batch of REMIX fuel

The Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC JSC, an enterprise of the TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom) manufactured and accepted the first batch of [reprocessed] uranium-plutonium REMIX fuel for the VVER-1000 reactor.
Each of the six fuel assemblies of the standard TVS-2M design consists entirely of fuel elements containing [reprocessed] uranium-plutonium fuel pellets instead of traditional enriched uranium (one VVER-1000 fuel assembly has 312 fuel elements in its design). REMIX fuel pellets were manufactured by the Mining and Chemical Combine of Rosatom in Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory (FGUP MCC).
The manufactured batch of REMIX fuel must go through a full cycle of pilot operation in a VVER-1000 reactor. (SCC Nov. 10, 2021)

Seversk fuel plant starts pilot production of REMIX fuel

The Siberian Chemical Combine (SCK JSC, enterprise of Rosatom Fuel Company TVEL in Seversk, Tomsk Region) has put into operation the equipment of the sites where pilot fuel assemblies with uranium-plutonium REMIX fuel for VVER-1000 reactor will be manufactured. (SCC June 3, 2021)

Rosatom to develop REMIX (MOX with reprocessed uranium) fuel fabrication at Seversk

The Investment Committee of Rosatom has approved the project of modernization of the experimental shop-floor for nuclear fuel fabrication at the site of the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC), an enterprise of TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom in Seversk, Tomsk region (West Siberia). This will enable SCC to manufacture fuel assemblies with uranium-plutonium REMIX fuel matrix for VVER-1000 reactors.
REMIX (regenerated mixture) fuel is made from a mixture of reprocessed uranium and plutonium, extracted from spent nuclear fuel, with addition of small volumes of enriched uranium. (TVEL Aug. 26, 2020)


Seversk MOX fuel fabrication facility project, Tomsk Region

U.S. and Russia sign liability protocol for plutonium disposition program

View here


Cogema to supply U.S. DOE with MOX technology for Russia

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will contract with Cogema to transfer mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication technology to Russia, DOE announced. Under the contract, which has yet to be negotiated, Cogema would provide "proprietary intellectual property" and "limited technical support" to the U.S. DOE for construction of a mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility in Russia. The MOX fuel will be fabricated using some 34 metric tonnes of former Russian weapons plutonium as part of the U.S.-Russian plutonium disposition program. (Platts Nov. 12, 2004)

> View Presolicitation notice, Russian MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility - Transfer of Cogema Technology, DE-AC02-05CH11253, Nov. 12, 2004


Angarsk nuclear fuel bank, Irkutsk Region

IAEA establishes reserve of low enriched uranium

On 3 December 2010, the IAEA Board of Governors authorized the IAEA Director General to establish a reserve of low enriched uranium (LEU), or an IAEA LEU bank. Owned and managed by the IAEA, the IAEA LEU bank will help to assure a supply of LEU for power generation.
Should an IAEA Member State's LEU supply be disrupted, and the supply cannot be restored by the commercial market, State-to-State arrangements, or by any other such means, it may call upon the IAEA LEU bank to secure LEU supplies, without distorting the commercial market.
The IAEA LEU bank will keep enough LEU to meet the fuel fabrication needs for one full core of a 1000 MW(e) pressurized water reactor, or three annual reloads of fuel.
> View IAEA Factsheet: IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Reserve

First global nuclear fuel bank built in Angarsk (Russia)

The first global deposit of low-enriched uranium has been set up in Russia pursuant to an agreement between the Russian government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It is part of the storage facility at the International Centre for Uranium Enrichment (ICUE) in Angarsk, in Russia's Siberia.
The centre will be open to IAEA member-states that are experiencing difficulties with energy supplies. (Voice of Russia Dec. 2, 2010)

IAEA governors approve first nuclear fuel bank plan

International Atomic Energy Agency governors on Friday (Nov. 27) approved a Russian plan for a multilateral uranium fuel bank, seen as a way to stem the spread of nuclear arms. Backed by the United States, the plan would allow uranium producer Russia to set up an IAEA-supervised bank to provide low-enriched uranium to countries for their civilian nuclear programmes if they can show a perfect non-proliferation record. Under the plan, Russia would host a 120-tonne LEU reserve to supply the IAEA. Countries would be able to tap the bank if their fuel supply is cut off for political reasons. (Reuters Nov. 27, 2009)
> View IAEA release Nov. 27, 2009
> Download IAEA Board of Governors resolution Nov. 27, 2009 (PDF)


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