The nuclear plants in Western Europe are claimed to have offloaded 100,000 tonnes of waste uranium to Russia. The Greenpeace says this as it comments the nuclear industry has a dirty secret.
The Western European nuclear fuel companies and the Russian uranium enrichment company Tenex are accused to have entered into confidential contracts. Under the contracts Tenex accepts depleted uranium and returns it after treatment as low-enriched uranium fuel. The low-enriched uranium fuel contains a few per cent fissile uranium-235.
But according to Greenpeace, 90 per cent of the waste remains in Russia, while only 10 per cent is returned as fuel. This claim is confirmed by the World Nuclear Association, an industry body. Arguing that the uranium trade breaches a Russian law forbidding the import and storage of foreign waste, Greenpeace alleges this to be illegal, and is taking Tenex to court in Moscow.
But, Tenex tries hard to justify its activities and business, as it says the uranium is not waste because it will be used in future fast breeder reactors. Urenco, a major uranium enrichment company based in the UK claims that it is since 1995; it had exported several thousand tonnes of depleted uranium to Tenex.
Via: New Scientist