Russia Wants to Process Germany’s Used Nuclear Fuel

Russia and Germany have agreed to set the conditions for future processing of spent nuclear fuel from German research reactors in Russia, state nuclear corporation Rosatom said on its procurement website, according to RIA news agency.

The facilities in question are the research reactors in Rossendorf and Garching, the website specified.

German company Pflueger International, commissioned by a Rosatom subsidiary, TENEX, is now required to provide the nuclear corporation with the results of a legal analysis of conditions for the possible processing of spent fuel from German research reactors in Russia and also the treatment of processed products.

The German firm will also analyze technical and logistics possibilities and obstacles for transporting used nuclear fuel to Russia.

The first research nuclear reactor of the former German Democratic Republic, which was built by the Soviet Union and worked on Soviet-made uranium, was put into operation back in 1957 and decommissioned in 1991. According to common practice, such fuel is returned to the supplier country — Russia.

The reactor’s remaining unused fuel was exported to Russia back in 2006, while spent fuel is still being kept at a temporary storage facility in Germany.

Germany planned to transfer the reactor’s used nuclear fuel to Russia back in 2010 but the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety refused to issue a permit for the transportation of spent fuel, citing the lack of necessary facilities at Rosatom’s Mayak plant at that time. Russia has since completed preparations to take in this fuel, providing safety guarantees.