Short funds slow Russian submarine decommissioning

Igor Kudrik
1997-03-06 12:00












Russian Parliament to adopt another resolution:

Short funds slow Russian submarine decommissioning

By the end of 1996, Russian Government debts to the shipyards involved with decommissioning of nuclear powered submarines reached 26 million US dollars. During 1996, only 14 percent of budgeted funds were actually transferred to the operators.

Early in 1997, the Russian Parliament Committee on the Problems of the Extreme Northern Regions of Russia received two letters describing the critical economical situation of the ongoing decommissioning of nuclear submarines. The first letter came from the headquarters of the Northern Fleet, while the second was written by the newly elected Governor of Murmansk County, Yury Evdokimov. Both letters said that only a quarter of the nuclear-powered submarines pulled out of service had been defuelled. Most of the laid-up submarines were in operation 10 years past the operational limits, leaving them in quite unsatisfactory technical conditions.

The committee will make a special resolution addressed to the Government on this problem.

The last defuelling operation was performed in Severodvinsk at Zvezdochka repair yard, on K-418 (project 667A, Yankee class). This submarine was put into operation in the Northern Fleet on September 22 1970. The lid of the port reactor was lifted on December 19 1996. Later, the fuel was transferred to storage tanks onboard radiological servicing barge PM-124. On January 27 1997, the lid was lifted off the starboard reactor, and the spent fuel transferred to radiological servicing boat PM-63.

Currently approx. 90 subs are awaiting decommissioning at the Northern Fleet, 70 of these have not been defueled.

References:

“Severny Rabochy”, 1996-12-25 and 1997-01-29
“Vecherny Severodvinsk”, 1997-03-03
Nilsen, T., Kudrik, I., Nikitin, A., The Russian Northern Fleet – sources to radioactive contamination, Bellona report no.2:96.

Igor Kudrik

igor@bellona.no