Atomflot LRW facility enters testing period

Publish date: June 20, 2001

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

It took seven years to construct, but today the new Atomflot liquid radioactive waste cleaning facility was officially handed over. Now it enters one year testing period.

Since the construction started back in 1994/95, the liquid radioactive waste (LRW) cleaning facility at Atomflot in Murmansk has been visited by the Norwegian King, the foreign ministers of both Norway and the United Kingdom, and an unknown number of official delegations from Europe and the United States.

Norway and the United States provided the financial aid for the construction of the plant, which aim is to push Russia into signing the London Dumping Convention. The convention prohibits radioactive waste discharge into seas. The total cost of the plant is more than $4 million.

The new plant will enhance the capacity and the treatment capabilities of LRW atAtomflot up to 5,000 cubic meters annually. The old treatment plant at Atomflot has a capacity of 1,200 cubic meters. When the new plant enters normal operation, the old plant will be shut down.

The new treatment facility use a Russian technology, based on the use of filters, electrolysis and sorbent. These filters are back washable while the sorbents become contaminated and must be stored as solid radioactive waste at Atomflot.

With its capacity to treat 5,000 cubic meters annually starting from next year, the plant can teoretically take all liquid radioactive waste generated from both by Murmansk Shipping Company’s nuclear icebreakers fleet and by the Northern Fleet. However, this is only teoretical, since the question about, who is going to cover the expences of the treatment of navy’s liquid radioactive waste at the plant is still unaswered.