Russia’s Production Association Mayak (Ozersk, Chelyabinsk region) is ready to help Japan reprocess used fuel removed from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, according to Sergey Kirillov, Mayak’s deputy general director responsible for the production of civilian goods.

Currently Mayak’s RT-1 plant reprocesses fuel from Russian VVER-440 nuclear reactors, reactors used for ship propulsion and research reactors, as well as fuel which is defective of damaged.

The facility is being upgraded and by early 2017, it will also be able to handle fuel from Russian VVER-1000 reactors as well as substandard and defective used fuel of Western design. This would include damaged and undamaged fuel from Japan’s boiling water reactors, such as those at Fukushima.

In late November, a representative of Mayak, as part of a Rosatom’s delegation, visited the Fukushima-Daiichi site and took part in the seminar on Russian back-end technologies.

"Mayak specialists have carried out a comparative analysis of used fuel assemblies from of VVER-1000 and BWR reactors and concluded that handling of the fuel from Fukushima-Daiichi can be done using the transportation and handling scheme for VVER-1000 used fuel," Kirillov said. However the transportation of damaged used fuel from Fukushima and its processing at RT-1 will be possible "only after it is placed in the appropriate storage cannisters on site, so first Fukushima-Daiichi has to develop the technology for this, he added.

At present Mayak, part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, cooperates with more than 30 countries in the field of used nuclear fuel, and radioactive materials and is ready to cooperate with Japan. This would be according to Russian legislation, which specifies that the fuel must be returned to the customer after it is processed.