MOSCOW — The reprocessing and utilization of spent nuclear fuel will be discussed by up to seven countries at a conference starting Wednesday and running through Friday, said Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Russia's Federal Agency for Nuclear Power Rosatom.
"The question of five to seven countries participating in spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and utilization is being discussed now," Rumyantsev said.
The conference, organized by Rosatom with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will focus on creating an international center for spent nuclear fuel management, using the state-owned Mining and Chemical Processing Plant, an underground facility for spent nuclear fuel storage, dumping, reprocessing and transportation, near Krasnoyarsk in East Siberia.
For the first time in the last 50 years, "the spent nuclear fuel stockpile is equivalent to a 4-storey apartment building," Rumyantsev said. "My prognosis is that, if in the next few centuries the world's spent nuclear fuel goes unprocessed, it could fill up a soccer field."
However, IAEA Deputy Director Yuri Sokolov said the exact number of countries interested in founding of an international center for spent nuclear fuel storage and reprocessing has yet to be defined.
"We are at the beginning of that road," Sokolov said, adding that some countries are planning to develop their methods of nuclear power engineering in the near future.
China has a six-gigawatt generating capacity now and intends to increase it to 40 gigawatts by 2030. India plans to boost its generating capacity 10-fold in 20 years.