Japan to begin dismantling 5 subs under a Moscow-Tokyo deal

Publish date: September 12, 2006

Pursuant to a deal struck between Japan and Russia in November of last year, Tokyo inked an agreement to begin the demolition of five Victor class I nuclear submarines from the Russian Pacific Fleet in a project expected to be completed by 2010, Russian news agencies reported Tuesday.

The subs will be dismantled under the “Star of Hope” programme for the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines in Russia’s Far East. The “Star of Hope” programme was inaugurated during a 2003 visit to Russia by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the Mosnews website reported.

“The international “Star of Hope” programme is oriented on the disassembly and dismantlement of Pacific Fleet Submarines that have been taken out of service with the financial support of the government of Japan,” a Naval source familiar with the project told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.

Deputy Foreign Minister Shintaro Ito told a news conference in Vladivostok, where the headquarters of the Russian Pacific Fleet are located, that Japan had allocated 20 billion yen (about $171 million) for the project, said Mosnews.

Ito, who will remain in Russia until Friday, said the dismantling of the first decommissioned Victor I class sub under the project would start in the “near future” at the Far East shipyard of Zvezda, near Vladivostok, and would take some 10 months to complete, Russian news agencies reported.

During the dismantlement process spent nuclear fuel is removed from the submarine’s reactors and sent to storage. The hull is then cut into three sections, and the bow and stern sections are removed and destroyed. The reactor section is sealed and transferred to storage.

There are some 30 to 40 decommissioned nuclear submarines moored at various ports over a vast area in the Russian Far East.

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