Lepse to get patched up

Publish date: June 29, 1999

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

MURMANSK (Bellona Web): Lepse goes into dry-dock this week, Volodarsky undergoes decommissioning, Sevmorput to reload fuel.

On Tuesday this week, the storage vessel Lepse will be towed from Atomflot to the naval shipyard Nerpa, some 20 kilometers northwest of Murmansk. At Nerpa, Lepse will be placed in a dry-dock for hull repairs. The towing of Lepse has been planned for several months, but due to the risk of towing the vessel during the winter period, it has been delayed until now.

The time Lepse will have to spend in the dry-dock depends on the amount of repair work necessary.

Volodarsky undergoes decommissioning
Another storage vessel for radioactive waste at Atomflot is Volodarsky. The vessel is the oldest of the ships at Atomflot, built in 1929. Some 14.5 tons low- and medium-level radioactive waste are stored aboard in the cargo rooms. The waste has an estimated activity of 11 TBq, mostly cesium-137 and strontium-90.

For nearly one year now, the decommissioning work on Volodarsky has been going on in the dry-dock located in the northern part of the Atomflot base. The goal is to remove all radioactive waste from the storage rooms and move it to the onshore storage sites, and thereafter cut up the rest of the ship and sell it as scrap metal.

Sevmorput to reload fuel
Last Wednesday, the nuclear-powered icebreaker Yamal was loaded with new fuel for its two reactors. The unloading of the spent fuel occurred half a year ago, but fresh fuel could not be loaded before now, due to delays in its delivery to the Atomflot base. The fuel was transferred from the special storage vessel Imandra.

The next nuclear-powered vessel in line for refueling is Sevmorput, the world’s only nuclear-powered container ship. Sevmorput has one single reactor, but for more than a year, the vessel has been laid up in Murmansk because the refueling of its reactors has been delayed. Most likely the spent fuel from Sevmorput will be transferred over to Imandra during this summer.