The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has supported the idea of creating an international centre for the development of technology to deal with irradiated graphite, at Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom’s Pilot Demonstration Centre for Decommissioning of Uranium-Graphite Reactors (PDC UGR) in Seversk (Tomsk region). The centre will be part of the IAEA’s international project for management of irradiated graphite GRAPA (Irradiated Graphite Processing Approaches), which will be implemented over three years.

In 2015, the PDC UGR was involved in decommissioning the EI-2 production uranium-graphite reactor , which operated at the Siberian Chemical Combine from 1958 to 1990 As well as producing plutonium it supplied electricity to the site. EI-2 was the first Russian industrial uranium-graphite reactor to be decommissioned and the project included the development of special technology to deal with the irradiated graphite.

The world has accumulated about 250,000t of irradiated graphite (including 60,000t in Russia). "Given the availability of infrastructure (two industrial sites with the closed uranium-graphite nuclear reactors) and a technical base, the IAEA supported the proposal to establish its international centre at the PDC UGR, a company statement said.

Specialists from the PDC UGR took part in developing the GRAPA project at a meeting earlier in February in Vienna. project includes the development of sound technologies for removing graphite from the reactor, its processing, temporary storage and disposal. GRAPA will see the transition from laboratory research to pilot demonstration of technical solutions. The project will involve other countries with treatment experience with graphite waste including the UK, USA, France and Germany.