Italy helps Russia dismantle nuclear-powered missile cruiser

Publish date: December 14, 2004

The Russian budget does not have money to decommission nuclear-powered missile cruiser Admiral Ushakov, but Italy pledged to help with 60m euros.

The surface ship formerly known as the Admiral Ushakov, a heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser of the Northern Fleet awaiting disposal moored at the Zvezdochka military shipyard in Severodvinsk, will be dismantled with Italy’s help, ITAR-TASS reported on November 4.

Italy has announced it is ready to allocate 60m euros to prepare the cruiser to be dismantled, an ITAR-TASS correspondent was informed at the plant today. “Italy’s aid will first and foremost go towards project and documentation development for it to be scrapped, since no technology has to date been developed in Russia to scrap nuclear-powered surface ships. At the second stage of funding, work to ensure that the ship is in a safe state will take place, which means an operation to unload the nuclear fuel from its reactors,” the agency’s source said. This is covered by the Global Partnership programme, which was adopted in 2002. It provides for the allocation of $20 billion over 10 years for the disposal of surplus arms from the Soviet era.

It was earlier reported that the Russian state budget did not earmarked any money for the cruiser’s dismantling in 2005 and that the cost of dismantlement was $40m where $10m is the price of the dismantlement project development. Italy , however, generously offered 60m euros for this project, which is not the most needed from the environmental point of view (the cruiser’s reactors are relatively new),but more needed for the tight Russian budget.

The Admiral Ushakov, which before May 1992 was known as the Kirov, was built at the Baltiyskiy plant in St Petersburg in 1980 and was the flagship of the Northern Fleet. In the 1990s, it required repairs and did not sail. It has been moored at Zvezdochka for the past three years. This name has now been re-allocated to a navy destroyer. Its propulsion plant consists of two nuclear reactors. A total of four cruisers of this type were built, only one of which – the Petr Velikiy – is still in service.