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Uranium Conversion/Enrichment and Fuel Fabrication - Decommissioning Issues (Asia)

(last updated 4 Nov 2020)


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Angarsk gaseous diffusion enrichment plant

Residents oppose proposed processing of radioactive metal waste from decommissioning of Angarsk gaseous diffusion enrichment plant at Shiryayeva

Participants of a public hearing this summer on the project of building a reprocessing facility to remelt radioactive metal waste of the uranium enrichment enterprise Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Combine (AECC) voted "no" to the proposed location and suggested that the radioactive metal continue to be reprocessed exactly where it was produced in Angarsk.
The hearing was convened on July 24 in a village called Shiryayeva, some 30 kilometers off the big Siberian industrial and academic center of Irkutsk, to discuss the proposed Center for Reprocessing and Remelting of Metal Radioactive Waste of the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Combine.
Shiryayeva has a radioactive waste storage facility managed by RosRAO, one of Russia's two radioactive management entities which handles processing and temporary storage of low- and medium-level radioactive waste, and this rather than Angarsk is where the hazardous work is proposed to be conducted.
"The population does not deem the proposed project safe for the environment and expresses its disagreement with building this facility [at the RosRAO site]. We demand that the question of building this facility at a different site be considered," said the resolution adopted unanimously at the hearing.
The project presented in Shiryayeva is for mechanical, steam, and chemical decontamination, as well as partial remelting, of metal radioactive waste generated as a result of decommissioning the AECC's uranium gaseous diffusion enrichment plant (Buildings 802 and 804).
The project envisions transporting some 35,000 tons of radioactive metal waste from Angarsk, where the AECC the waste's producer is located. The shipping was supposed to be done by motor transport across a bridge which is within the city limits of Irkutsk something that creates additional risks.
The waste conditioning center's capacity will be 2,000 tons of metal radioactive waste a year, of which 700 tons will be remelted. The center will employ 82 workers; construction costs are estimated at 1.228 billion rubles [US$ 18.5 million] in 2014 prices, and the complex's service life is expected to be 30 years. (Bellona Sep. 21, 2015)


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Taiwan in negotiations to dispose of uranium hexafluoride that was never used for enrichment

A move to dispose of Taiwan's uranium reserves is expected to be completed within two years, at a planned cost of NT$150 million (US$4.96 million), Atomic Energy Council Minister Hsieh Shou-shing said Monday (Nov. 6).
A memorandum of understanding was drafted between the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) and an unnamed contractor earlier this year to remove the uranium reserves, Hsieh said in a committee hearing at the legislature. Hsieh told legislators that an earlier draft was initially agreed between the AEC and French multinational group AREVA TN, but fell through for unspecified reasons. Negotiations to remove the uranium reserves are ongoing with a new contractor and hopefully the deal will soon be finalized, Hsieh said, adding that the uranium reserves would be shipped out of Taiwan by 2019.
In the 1980s, Taiwan imported about 35 metric tons of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) from the United States and France to carry out uranium enrichment that produces fuel for nuclear reactors. However, due to changes in the country's nuclear fuel development policies, the uranium enrichment plan was later scrapped. Hence, the uranium hexafluoride has since been unused and is currently stored in cylinders at an AEC facility. (CNA Nov. 6, 2017)

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