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intended for reprocessing spent fuel from VVER-1000 reactors, had become obsolete and no longer met modern requirements. The only unit of the RT-2 plant that was completed was the spent fuel storage facility, which had a planned capacity of 13,416 fuel assemblies from VVER-1000-type reactors (6000 metric tons of uranium by weight). At this time the facility has been filled to approximately 57 percent of its planned capacity.

In 2002 the above-mentioned enterprises received six special shipments of spent fuel from nuclear power plants in Ukraine and one from Bulgaria (specifically, Mayak received one shipment from the Rovno Nuclear Power Plant, while the Mining-Chemical Complex received one shipment each from the Khmelnitsky, Zaporozhye, and Rovno plants, two from the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant, and one from the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant in Bulgaria). Last year Mayak received 27.4 metric tons. The total amount of spent nuclear fuel received by the existing storage facility at the Mining-Chemical Complex is 140 metric tons from the Ukrainian power plants and 41.5 metric tons from the one in Bulgaria. The following shipments are planned in 2003:

  • Mayak: one shipment from the Rovno plant and one from the Kozloduy plant

  • Mining-Chemical Complex: three shipments from the South Ukrainian plant, one from the Khmelnitsky plant, and one from Kozloduy

The way that the spent fuel is transported is important from the security standpoint. In shipping spent fuel from VVER-440 reactors, 16 TK-6 rail containers are used. Designed in 1973–1978, a period characterized by a lack of experience in such operations and of relevant regulatory documents, the TK-6 is a first-generation container. Its design does not make it completely secure. The TUK-6 transport cask used with this container is categorized as type B(M), which must be used with certain restrictions and constant monitoring by operators.

Spent fuel from VVER-1000 reactors has been transported since 1986, using TK-10 and TK-13 rail containers and TUK-10V and TUK-13V transport casks. The TUK-13/1V includes a vessel made of corrosion-resistant steel (container and documentation produced by the Izhorsk Plants Open Joint-Stock Company).

According to the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the TUK-13 transport casks are considered to be type B(U), and their design fully ensures the security of the spent fuel transported in them. In shipping spent fuel with this sort of packaging no special organizational or technical measures are required to monitor packaging and environmental parameters or to ensure that these parameters are maintained within permissible limits. The TUK-10V transport cask is analogous in design to the TUK-13; however, its capacity is 50 percent lower (6 spent fuel rods as opposed to 12 with the TUK-13), and its body is made of 20-mark carbon steel, just like the body of the TK-6 container.

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