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Russia Authorizes Export of Up to 30 Percent of Enriched Uranium Nuclear Fuel to China

According to a government decree released on May 2nd, Russia has authorized its state-owned nuclear fuel company, TVEL, to export new nuclear fuel to China for the next three years. The fuel to be exported will be enriched with uranium-235 to no more than 30.4 percent purity. The Federal Service for Technological and Export Control (FSTEC) of Russia is responsible for issuing the necessary licenses to TVEL for exporting such nuclear fuel to China, and should do so before April 12, 2026.

Russia and China are actively cooperating in the peaceful nuclear energy sector, including in the field of fast neutron reactors, which use uranium-235 of higher purity than traditional thermal neutron reactors. The two countries are working together to construct a 600 MW CFR-600 fast neutron reactor, which is China’s flagship project in the field of “fast” nuclear energy. In late 2017, China began building its first fast reactor at a nuclear power plant in Xiapu, Fujian Province. In June 2018, Russia and China signed an agreement to cooperate in building and operating the CFR-600 fast neutron reactor, and subsequently signed an agreement to provide nuclear fuel for the reactor.

In addition, the government decree also authorized TVEL to export new nuclear fuel with uranium purity not exceeding 5 percent to India before April 12, 2026, which will be provided to nuclear power plants under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India, in which Russia is a partner, has already commissioned units 1 and 2, and construction of another four units is underway as part of the plant’s second and third phases.

Source: Sputnik News (Russia), May 3, 2023