The news about the U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation agreement put Rosatom on the defensive. The agreement was quickly interpreted (not entirely incorrectly) as enabling the plan to provide the Russian territory for interim storage of foreign-origin spent fuel. But that idea has always been quite controversial. Minatom succeeded in passing a legislation that made this possible and successfully blocked an attempt to call a referendum on the idea. But it looks like the public has never really accepted the plan.

As a result, a Rosatom representative was forced to announce that "Russia has not been bringing, does not bring, and has no plans to bring foreign-origin spent fuel to the country." The Rosatom minister, Sergei Kiriyenko, was also quoted as saying exactly the same words.

I would doubt that these statements signal a shift in Rosatom strategy in dealing with foreign-origin spent fuel. It is true that the plan to provide interim storage services has had no takers so far, but this is exactly what the cooperation agreement with the United States can change. The United States also seems interested in this part of the deal. So, the controversy is far from over.