After more than 50 years of operation of the research reactor operated by ÚJV Řež, a. s. (ÚJV) or the Research Centre Řež, as the case may be, a large amount of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) of Russian origin has accumulated.
In 2005, ÚJV joined the Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) program under the US-Russian Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and started the process of SNF shipment from the LVR-15 research reactor back to the Russian Federation (RF) using the ŠKODA VPVR/M transport packaging system (TPS). Two SNF shipments from ÚJV were carried out in 2007 and 2013. After the shipments were completed, only low-enriched nuclear fuel with a maximum enrichment below 20% of 235U remained on the territory of the Czech Republic.
ÚJV also participates in shipments of SNF from other countries. The services of ÚJV comprise mainly ŠKODA VPVR/M TPS leasing, technical oversight and expertise during cask handling, SNF loading and cask closing and sealing. Up to now, ÚJV has participated in thirteen shipments of SNF from eight countries; one shipment is currently being prepared.
High-level radioactive waste (HLW) will be generated from SNF reprocessing. The vitrified HLW will be returned to the Czech Republic as stated in the Russian-Czech Intergovernmental Agreement on Co-operation in Nuclear Energy. The return of the waste represents very complex and complicated work, technically, legally and contractually.