Russia and Great Britain signed contracts about nuclear storage facilities’ safety upgrade

Publish date: November 21, 2003

The Russian Atomic Ministry, or Minatom, and the UK Department of Trade and Industry signed four contracts aimed at solving nuclear and radiation safety problems in Murmansk region.

It happened during the IAEA 17-th Contact Expert Group meeting held in Murmansk. RIA Novosti reports this as said by Viktor Akhunov, the head of department for ecology and decommissioning of nuclear facilities of Minatom. Akhunov said three contracts would deal with rehabilitation of the radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Andreeva Bay, in particular, construction of roof over the dry storage section, examination of room # 5, and integrated inspection of the facility on the whole. The forth contract is to develop an onshore spent nuclear storage facility, which is now stored on board Lotta technical support ship.

The Great Britain allocated $8m as the first tranche for the Andreeva Bay rehabilitation. Akhunov believes, it is time to switch from the retired nuclear submarine dismantling problems to the shipment and disposal of spent nuclear fuel stored in on-shore bases, especially in Andreeva Bay. There are 116 nuclear submarines taken out of service in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions; 58 of them were completely scrapped, and 16 are under dismantling now. “This makes a half of all nuclear submarines destined for disposal in the region, and we will solve the problem soon”, Minatom’s official promised. He stressed that the spent nuclear fuel shipment problems were more complicated than nuclear submarine dismantling. Before the operations start the risk and environmental impact assessments should be done and the infrastructure and safe conditions for the storage facility personnel should be created. “We would like to have the first train with spent nuclear fuel leave Andreeva Bay in 2005 already, but only after all safety relevant documents are approved by the independent regulators”, Akhunov said.

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