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Serbia to send spent nuclear fuel to Russia

Serbia will send 2.3 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from its only decommissioned reactor to Russia for reprocessing, Serbia's Science Minister Aleksandar Popovic said. In an interview broadcast yesterday by Belgrade's B92 TV, Popovic said a $10 million agreement was signed last week on the transport and recycling of 8,000 spent fuel rods from the Belgrade-based Institute of Nuclear Sciences. The repacking of rods with varying degrees of enrichment and transport to Russia will be paid by donations collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Popovic said in the broadcast. The entire operation will be completed by the end of 2008, he said, according to B92. The Vinca reactor was built with Russian technology in 1959 as a part of former Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito's plans to develop Yugoslavia's own nuclear technology. It was closed in 2002. About 48 kilograms (100 pounds) of weapons-grade fuel was sent to Russia from Vinca in 2002 in a joint operation funded by the United States, Russia and the government of the former Yugoslavia. (Bloomberg)