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Russia’s first nuclear waste repository starts operation via Bellona

Russia opened it first ever repository for low and medium level nuclear waste last week in a major benchmark for the country’s radioactive waste handler and facilitated by consultation from Bellona.

Russia opened it first ever repository for low and medium level nuclear waste last week in a major benchmark for the country’s radioactive waste handler and facilitated by consultation from Bellona.

The project is seen as an important and long overdue step toward securing the Soviet nuclear waste legacy.

Alexander Nikitin, chairman of the Environmental Rights Center Bellona – which facilitated and participated in public hearings around the project – called the opening of the repository “the first important step” of Russia’s National Operator for Radioactive waste management.

The 48,000 cubic meter facility in the Sverdlovsk Region’s close nuclear city of Novouralsk lies at shallow depth and operates as a repository for what state nuclear corporation Rosatom classifies as type 3 and 4 wastes.

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Rosatom plans to build a repository for type 3 and 4 waste at the closed nuclear city of Ozersk, where the notorious Mayak Chemical Combine is located. Another is planned for the closed city of Seversk in the Tomsk Region.

A site for Rosatom types 1 and 2 waste, representing high level nuclear waste, is currently being sited at the Nizhnekansky Rock Mass in the Krasnoyarsk Region.

If the rock mass proves suitable for deep geological storage of intermediate and high level waste, construction of the repository could begin in 2024. How much waste the site would hold has yet to be determined.

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