Depleted uranium hexafluoride, or uranium tailings are a side produce to the uranium enrichment process in making fuel for nuclear power stations. Several thousand tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride has piled up in Russia and in other countries and there are no long term plans for their further use, meaning uranium tailings are classifiable as radioactive waste. According to the Russian legislation radioactive waste is defined as those nuclear and radioactive substances for which no further use is envisioned.
Russian legislation forbids the import of pure radioactive waste. Nevertheless, uranium tailings are imported to Russia via a variety of contracts between Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom and the German-British-Dutch enrichment giant Urenco, the French Eurodif enrichment concern, and others.
The current contracts between Rosatom and the western enrichment firms are valid until 2009 for Urenco and 2014 for Eurodif.
The recovery of highly radioactive leakage resulting from a leak discovered April 18 within the fuel clarification cell of the Thorp reprocessing facility at the UKs Sellafield site began late last week, and will take around four weeks to recover a British Nuclear Group official told Bellona Web.comments
The Tectonic-1 giant landslide which is pending over the tailings dump of uranium waste near the town of Mailuu-Suu has become active in the south of Kirghizia, RIA-Novosti reported on April 23th.comments