Rossiya refuelling its reactors

Publish date: December 15, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

The nuclear powered icebreaker Rossiya will refuel its two reactors this week. The operation takes place at Atomflot in Murmansk. Ten years ago, there was a serious incident during a similar refuelling operation on Rossiya.

The refuelling of the two reactors onboard Rossiya is scheduled to take a week. The fuel assemblies will be transferred from the reactors to storage casks onboard the service ship Imandra at the nuclear powered icebreaker fleet’s service base Atomflot, just north of Murmansk. Each of the two reactor cores consists of 241 fuel assemblies. Imandra has six storage sections. Each section contains 50 storage containers, each of which has room for five fuel assemblies.

Refuelling takes place some every third or fourth year. In November 1988, a serious incident happened during refuelling of Rossiya. The incident involved one of the two reactors, and according to the Russian Magazine Vodny Transport, a reactor meltdown was narrowly avoided. The exact cause of the incident is not clear. The nuclear-powered icebreaker Rossiya has been in normal operation since.