disposal of research SNF from 41 states in facilities of U.S. design in the United States.
The program’s major goal is the reduction of HEU quantities contained in SNF assemblies at research reactor sites, as well as advocating that the reactors be converted to use low-enriched fuel. From the U.S. perspective the issue of nuclear proliferation risk reduction in the area of research reactor fuel cannot be resolved completely without the involvement of Russia, the second largest world supplier of corresponding facilities, technologies, and fuel.
In 1999 Techsnabexport (a company authorized by the government of the Russian Federation to conduct foreign deals related to the management of spent nuclear fuel from foreign nuclear reactors) began several rounds of negotiations with the operators of foreign research reactors. Preliminary consultations have revealed a keen interest by a number of foreign states to begin regular shipments of their spent research nuclear fuel to Russia. However, in view of the limited budgets (or in some cases, the complete lack of funds) of the research reactor operators to finance SNF operations, large-scale fuel shipments hardly seem possible without the assistance of sponsors, such as the IAEA, the United States, EUROATOM, and private funders.
The United States has expressed its readiness to provide financial assistance to countries returning their fuel to Russia, on the condition that the HEU gradually be converted to that with enrichment of less than 20 percent U-235. At the same time, during trilateral meetings among the IAEA, Russia, and the United State, possibilities were discussed for the return of the spent nuclear research fuel to the Russian Federation.
In 2001, as a result of IAEA-Russia-U.S. technical missions to research reactor sites in Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia, Uzbekistan was selected to be the first state from which the return of the spent fuel assemblies would be executed. The complex political situation in Central Asia and the maximum technical and organizational preparedness for the Uzbekistan export operation were factors in this decision.
The Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences, Institute of Nuclear Physics was founded in 1956. It is one of the largest scientific institutes in Asia, currently carrying out fundamental and applied research in nuclear and elementary particle physics, solid body physics, radiochemistry, biology, element analysis, and many other areas.
Initially the power of the VVR-SM reactor, which was put into operation in September 1959, was 2 Mwt. In the Soviet era the reactor was used for both