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By Vladimir Mikheev,
special for,
23 June 2005

Rosgortekhnadzor of Russia issued a license to build "dry" repository for spent nuclear fuel at the Mining-Chemical Combiner (MCC) in Krasnoyarsk-26

Today MCC stores hypothetically 108 "Chernobyls" of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel...

Translated by Victor Ouskin, Citizens` Center on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Krasnoyarsk.

Federal service for ecological, technological and atomic inspection issued a license to build a "dry" repository for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in Krasnoyarsk-26. According to Russian Information agency "Novosti" and this was reported by Andrei Malyshev - head of the Service.

Malyshev specified that the repository is to be built on the site in Krasnoyarsk Mining-Chemical Combine, where "wet" repository for spent nuclear fuel was built in 1985.

Along with this Malyshev noted that the project to build RT-2 plant, which was earlier planned to process the spent nuclear fuel from VVR-1000-type reactors is not implemented, even though it is in the plan as further development of the area.

Quantity and activity of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel stored at MCC

The problem of liquid radioactive wastes with high activity level is among the most important problems of nuclear fuel cycle. These wastes contain up to 90% of all fission products generation by reactor operation, transplutonium elements and uranium and plutonium underextracted during radiochemical processing. This material summarizes all figures on the quantity and activity of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel handled at MCC.

Radiochemical plant

For 30 years of its operation the radiochemical plant (RCP) accumulated a great amount of active wastes. A part of them are stored in repository vessels divided into three classes: 300 m3, 30000 m3 and 8500 m3 [1]. These repository vessels (tanks) contain about 200 million curie of active wastes in the form of liquid and solid phases - sediments [1]. In addition, RCP has accumulated medium-active wastes in 7 concrete tanks of 20000 m3 volume with total activity 11 million curie [2].

Shop #1 of the isotope-chemical plant (ICP)

In the vessels of shop #1 of the isotope-chemical plant (ICP) the volume of medium-active wastes is 40000 m3, with total activity up to 20 thousand curie [2]. Along with this there are 4 water ponds (open type) with the volume from 80000 m3 to 360000 m3. These four settling tanks contain more than 700000 m3 of medium-activity wastes with radionuclide content up to 32 thousand curie [1]. Unfortunately, activity of solid radioactive wastes stored in reinforced concrete and earth facilities is, so far unknown.

"Severny" polygon

Underground layers of "Severny" polygon have been pumped with more than 4 million m3 of liquid radioactive wastes, mostly of medium and low activity, with total activity 700 million curie [2].

"Wet" storage of spent fuel assemblies (SFA)

According to official data as of 20 June 2005 the SFA storage has 4500 tons of spent nuclear fuel (reduced to uranium). Using data given in [3], it is not difficult to calculate: with total capacity of the repository 6 thousand tons the total activity is 6 billion curie. Consequently, the today`s activity of the storage is 4 billion 500 million curie. Filled with spent fuel assemblies to its full capacity the operational storage have 1500 tons more with total activity 1 billion 500 million curie.

Summarizing all figures yields more than 5.4 billion curie. For information: Chernobyl catastrophe emitted into the atmosphere about 50 million curie, this means, that hypothetically MCC stores 108 "Chernobyls" of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel.

The problems of long-term and safe storage of accumulated radioactive wastes and their burial are among the most expensive and technically complicated for MCC. Prospects for the future of the combine are dismal and are associated with storage and processing of spent nuclear fuel only.

By 2007 Rosatom plans to build the first phase of the new dry storage for spent nuclear fuel. Total capacity of the storage is 38 thousand tons (27 thousand tons - for RBMK-1000-type reactors and 11 thousand tons - for VVER-1000-type reactors). In addition, the operational "wet" storage of spent nuclear fuel shall be expanded to 8.6 thousand tons. All this is done in the hope for supplies of foreign spent nuclear fuel from the countries of South-East Asia and other countries, e.g. Iran, and of course, domestic spent nuclear fuel from RBMK-1000-type reactors. "Dry" storage is tremendous additional load of 20 billion curie.

The conclusion is obvious: by 2015 MCC shall more than 25 billion curie (!) or hypothetically 500 "Chernobyls" (!). Today the activity of radioactive wastes in the territory of Russia is more than 6 billion curie [4], this amount has been accumulated from the moment nuclear weapons and "peaceful" nuclear power plants have been invented, according to other sources - about 6 billion curie [5]. Therefore, in the next 10 years MCC shall turn into the dirtiest place not in Russia only, but on the entire globe. Time flies inexorably problems with radioactive wastes grow, and when representatives of Rosatom and MCC state the only storage of foreign spent nuclear fuel and construction of RT-2 plant can help solve the problem one can but be surprised with this standpoint. RT-2 plant will no solve the problem- it will exacerbate the situation.

Refused to be processed spent nuclear fuels is classified as highly active radioactive waste [4], therefore it has to be reliably isolated, otherwise will be damned by our descendants.

Commercial activities of Rosatom in MCC territory- import for long-term storage to be followed by processing of foreign spent nuclear fuel is fraught with much trouble. First, these dangerous plans violate principles of nuclear nonproliferation and lead to further proliferation of fission materials. Second, concentration of mammoth amounts of spent nuclear fuel in one place is the feasibility of terrorists actions and diversions with unpredictable consequences... for Krasnoyarsk krai territory. Third, tremendous storage of spent nuclear fuel in the center of Russia - Krasnoyarsk - is sword of Damocles raised over the head of our ancestors... And, finally, "dry" storage for spent nuclear fuel should not be built behind the backs of Russian public.


[1]. Revenko Yu.A. Termination of production, storage and disposal of weapon-greade plutonium. Proceedings of "Plutonium accumulation in Russia: science&technology, social-economic, environemtnal and political aspects " (27-28 April 1995 ). Center for Investigation of disarmament, energy and ecology problems of Moscow Physical-Technical Institute. Moscow, 1995.

[2]. Mikheev V.I., Khizhnyak V.G. MCC: Problems and Reality. Krai Ecological Movement движение, Krasnoyarsk, 1995.

[3]. Correction of feasibility study for RT-2 construction at MCC. VO VNIPIET, St.-Petersburg, 1993.

[4]. Nuclear Encyclopedia. Yaroshinskaya Charity Fund publication. Moscow, 1996.

[5]. Polyakov A.S., Borisov G.B. (VNIINM). Radioactive waste handling at radiochemical enterprises of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for atomic energy. Bulletin of the Public Information Center for atomic energy № 7. TsNIIatominform. Moscow, 1996.


Radioation contamination of the Yenissei river - results of Krasnoyarsk Mining-Chemical Combine activities.

Today`s problems of the Mining-Chemical Combine are the future problems of RT-2.

Arguments against processing of spent nuclear fuel.

Reuse of nuclear materials: myth and reality. Michael Sneider, Director, World Information Service of Energy (WISE-Paris), editor-in-chief of "Plutonium Investigation", Paris, France.

Your opinion (comments to the article)?

Гражданин S., 20.08.2012 22:58:53

Спасибо за позновательный ресурс. Да, печально становится когда начинаешь вникать сложившуюся картину. Чтож, пусть каждый занимается своим делом и быть может тогда мы изменим ситуацию к лучшему...

Валентина, 24.01.2013 10:25:52

Прочитав все письма-сложилось мнение,что тем кто там служил,ничего хорошего не было,

Валентина, 24.01.2013 10:32:13

Хотелось бы найти родственников,но видно-это невозможно,Всюду деньги,деньги деньги,акак же быть нам -пенсионерам?,,,,Может быть как-то можно это сделать,и через какой сайт?

Наталья, 16.02.2013 13:56:27

Слышала кто служил Красноярск-26 полагается льгота правда ли это мой муж служил 1975-1977 г.

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