A tender for the construction of a fuel reprocessing demonstration plant at Zheleznogorsk for the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel has been announced by Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
The pilot demonstration centre (PDC) will be built on the site of the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) at Zheleznogorsk near Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Under the terms of the tender, the facility must be in operation by 10 December 2015 and cost RUB 5 billion ($166 million). The deadline for offers is 18 March and the result will be announced on 22 March.
Rosatom said it is ready to provide some RUB 1.2 billion ($40 million) in financing for the PDC project in 2013, RUB 1.7 billion ($56 million) in 2014 and RUB 2.1 billion ($70 million) in 2015.
The centre will initially be used to develop and test new technologies for reprocessing used fuel from VVER-1000 reactors. The PDC is expected to later develop technology for the reprocessing of used fuel from fast reactors.
The PDC is expected to provide the necessary data for the design of a large-scale reprocessing plant based on innovative technology. This will also be located at MCC's Zheleznogorsk site and could be operational by around 2025-30.
According to Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov, the tender for the construction of the full-scale reprocessing facilities will be announced after the approval of a new federal program for 2016 and beyond.
Used VVER-1000 fuel from reactors at the Balakovo, Kalinin, Novovoronezh and Rostov plants will be stored at a new centralized 'dry' interim storage facility (ISF) under construction at Zheleznogorsk. Such fuel has already been sent to Zheleznogorsk for storage in water pools.
Rosatom's long-term strategy up to 2050 involves moving to inherently safe nuclear plants using fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle and mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. The country's federal target program envisages nuclear providing 45-50% at that time, with the share rising to 70-80% by the end of the century.