Irradiated nuclear fuel that was damaged at the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary in 2003 has been returned to Russia.

A total of 30 damaged irradiated fuel assemblies, containing 3356.7 kg of uranium, were repatriated from the VVER-440 reactor, Rosatom said.
The fuel was shipped by rail to the Mayak plant where it will be subsequently reprocessed.

"The shipment of the damaged nuclear fuel marks the end of the multi-year joint effort of the Hungarian and Russian specialists," Rosatom said.

The fuel assemblies were damaged in the course of washing operations using technology and equipment supplied by Framatome ANP (see INES Level 3 for Paks for more detail). Russian nuclear fuel company TVEL won the international tender for recovery works in 2004, and they were carried out using specially designed equipment, in collaboration with NIIAR, Sonsy and other Russian companies. Recovery activities at the Paks plant were completed in January 2007.

Rosatom says that some of the funds (about US$ 2.2 million) to be received under this foreign trade deal would be spent to finance social and environmental measures in the territory of Chelyabinsk Region.

Photo: Paks nuclear power plant