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On 17 September 1998, Minatom subsidiary Tekhsnabeksport signed its first letter of intent, with Internexco (a Tekhsnabeksport subsidiary, in Germany)[39] and the Swiss company Suisse Utilities, on the import of over 2,000 tons of SNF for reprocessing and subsequent repatriation between 20.[37] The following year contacts were made with the nuclear industries of Switzerland, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.[40] However, some 80 percent of the non-Russian origin nuclear fuel in the world is of U. C., developed the idea of establishing a non-profit trust located outside of Russia that would control the spent fuel profits, assist in the creation of a safe geologic repository for SNF in Russia, and make sure that all additional profits are spent on securing fissile material, environmental remediation, and the provision of alternative jobs for nuclear workers as well as support for pensioners and orphans, while no funds would be spent on reprocessing plants.[47] A trust, named the Nonproliferation Trust (NPT) Inc., was then established,[48] and on Minatom and NPT signed a memorandum, according to which NPT would hold title to the fuel in storage.[47] An additional agreement, signed on 25 October 1999, also mentions the receipt and disposal of radioactive wastes.

That agreement specifies that after 40 years, the spent fuel could be removed to another "duly authorized location" or transferred to Minatom for ultimate disposition, at NPT II's sole discretion.

If Russia can come to an accommodation with the United States regarding Russia's nuclear reactor projects in Iran, the United States has suggested it would conclude a nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia and authorize the export of U. Although Minatom statements regarding the possible profits resulting from SNF import plans far exceed the revenues from constructing reactors in Iran (particularly since the construction projects are all funded from cheap loans offered by Russia itself), Russia has yet to indicate that it might consider dropping its Iran projects.

However, it seems likely that an agreement will eventually be concluded.

According to the second agreement, the spent fuel would never be converted for weapons use or be reprocessed, even were its ownership transferred to Minatom.

The spent fuel would be stored in accordance with Russian and IAEA safety requirements and the storage facility under Gosatomnadzor review.[49] [For more information on NPT, see the Spent Fuel Imports Overview in the NIS Nuclear Profiles Database.] Some nuclear industry sources have reportedly questioned who will accept liability for the operations and how the money will be raised up-front.

If the United States accedes to something less than cancellation of Russia's projects in Iran, it should push for further transparency of the Iranian program, and ask Russia to demand that Iran sign the Additional Protocol that would make spot inspections by the IAEA possible.

The SNF import project has been touted as a possible source of funding for plutonium disposition and safer storage of Russian SNF.

[3] "Russia May Make Bln Processing Used Nuclear Fuel," Interfax, 23 June 1999.

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The Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy plans to commercially import, temporarily store, reprocess, and repatriate spent nuclear fuel (material that has been withdrawn from a nuclear reactor following irradiation, or SNF). S.-origin SNF exports to Russia hinge upon the cancellation of Russian nuclear projects in Iran.

The Russian public will surely blame a new influx of SNF for stressing their SNF storage system to the brink of collapse, and argue that the storage of imported SNF in "safe" storage facilities takes up space that may otherwise have been used for Russian material (even if the facility might not have been built without SNF import money). [49] Non-Proliferation Trust II, Long-Term Fissile Materials Safeguards and Security Project, Unpublished Draft, 25 October 1999. This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

While opening up the process with have no affect on legal liability, it will make a great difference in public opinion, and thus increase the likelihood that an accident would affect U. Without democratic involvement, it will be difficult to control Minatom, while other Russian organizations are unlikely to promote project success, help alleviate project problems, or shoulder the responsibility for dealing with Russia's own legacy of spent nuclear fuel. 2060-1, On Environmental Protection, 19 December 1991. Holdren, and Anthony Weir, "Securing Nuclear Weapons and Materials: Seven Steps for Immediate Action," Harvard University, May 2002, pp. [47] "Russia Considers International Waste Stores," Nuclear Engineering International, July 1999, p. [50] Ann Mac Lachlan, "Moscow Conference Vets Key Hurdles to Any Russian Spent-Fuel Import Deal," Nuclear Fuel, Vol.

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