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Mongolia Might Store Foreign Spent Nuclear Fuel, Senior U.S. Official Says

March 31, 2011 Comments off

globalsecuritynewswire

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has held informal talks with Mongolia about the possibility that the Central Asian nation might host an international repository for its region’s spent nuclear fuel, a senior U.S. diplomat said yesterday (see GSN, March 9, 2010).

(Mar. 30) - A herder last year guides cattle through a frozen area in Mongolia's Tuv province. The United States and Mongolia have informally discussed the possibility of the Asian nation hosting a spent nuclear-fuel repository for the region, a high-level U.S. diplomat said yesterday (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images).

U.S. Energy Department officials and their counterparts in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, are in the early stages of discussion and there has been no determination yet about whether to proceed with the idea, according to Richard Stratford, who directs the State Department’s Nuclear Energy, Safety and Security Office.

Speaking at the biennial Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Stratford said a spent-fuel depot in the region could be of particular value to Taiwan and South Korea, which use nuclear power but have few options when it comes to disposing of atomic waste.

“If Mongolia were to do that, I think that would be a very positive step forward in terms of internationalizing spent-fuel storage,” he said during a panel discussion on nuclear cooperation agreements. “My Taiwan and South Korean colleagues have a really difficult time with spent fuel. And if there really was an international storage depot, which I have always supported, then that would help to solve their problem.”

Stratford is Washington’s lead envoy for nuclear trade pacts, which are sometimes called “123 agreements” after the section of the Atomic Energy Act that governs them.

The United States provides fresh uranium rods to selected trade partners in Asia, including South Korea and Read more…