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Rosatom to Begin Sending Spent Fuel to Siberia via The Moscow Times

Plans to transfer thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel from Chernobyl-type nuclear reactors to a new storage facility in Siberia in the coming weeks have been attacked by environmentalists.

State nuclear monopoly Rosatom announced completion of a new dry-storage facility at the Zhelenogorsk Mining and Chemical Factory, in the Krasnoyarsk region, in December. A train carrying 80 tons of spent fuel for the depot is expected to depart the Leningrad nuclear power plant in the near future.

“Dry storage” is considered safer than the current “wet-storage” arrangements — when nuclear material is kept in a pool of water that acts as a barrier to radiation.

“It will now be stored safely in permanent rather than temporary storage facilities, where it can be kept indefinitely until it is eventually reprocessed,” Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov told The Moscow Times.

Russia currently reprocesses just 16 percent of the spent fuel it produces annually, though it has set a target to raise efficiency to the point where it reprocesses as much as it turns out each year by 2020, Novikov said.

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