REPROCESSING OF NUCLEAR FUEL: CERTAIN LEGAL ISSUES ARISING FROM THIS UNIQUE TECHNOLOGY

Jakub Handrlica

Abstract


A key, nearly unique, characteristic of nuclear energy is that spent fuel may be reprocessed to recover fissile materials to provide fresh fuel for existing and future nuclear installations. United Kingdom, France, Russian Federation, China, India and Japan have policies to reprocess spent fuel, although government policies in many other countries have not yet come to seeing spent fuel as a resource rather than a waste. In 1997, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management reaffirmed the right of the State to define its own fuel cycle policy, i.e. either to consider spent fuel as a resource that may be reprocessed, or to dispose it as waste. Further, the Convention also reconfirmed the right of its Contracting Parties to export spent fuel for reprocessing in a third country and its return to the State of origin. This article is dealing with topical legal issues arising from this unique technology.


Keywords


radioactive waste management, reprocessing of spent fuel, nuclear safety, nuclear liability, nuclear installations

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