NF: Transport routes

Publish date: February 6, 2003

From 1973 to 1984 sea transport of spent nuclear fuel assemblies went over the following routes:
— Andreeva Bay-Murmansk;
— Gremikha-Murmansk;
— Severodvinsk-Murmansk.

Since 1984, as a result of the cessation of activities of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from pressurised water reactors at Gremikha, sea transport has taken place only from Andreeva Bay. Until 1978, Barge-4 was used for all sea transport of spent nuclear fuel. In 1979-1980, due to its deteriorated technical condition, Barge-4 was written off from the fleet of service ships. After its decommissioning, it was filled with solid radioactive waste from the Northern Fleet and dumped into the Kara Sea. Beginning in 1979, containers of spent nuclear fuel assemblies were transported on the Northern Fleet service ship Severka. Severka has three cargo holds and a capacity of up to 88 TUK-11 and TUK-12 containers. It is, however, unsuitable for TK-18 containers, and has subsequently been laid up.

Until 1993, all rail transport of spent nuclear fuel by rail originated from Murmansk. No less than a third of the spent fuel assemblies originate from Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk. These fuel assemblies may be categorised as "cold". In an effort to reduce the number of unnecessary transfers and to accelerate the defuelling of laid-up submarines, it was proposed to transport the spent nuclear fuel directly from Severodvinsk for reprocessing. Loading the containers would take place at sea on board technical service ships of the type 2020-Malina class. The proposal was adopted in December, 1991.

After 1973, the use of transport containers of type TK-11 and TK-12 was forbidden, and the loading area for spent nuclear fuel was moved from Sevmorput shipyard to the civilian nuclear icebreaker base Atomflot. Atomflot already possessed cranes capable of handling the containers for spent nuclear fuel. Atomflot has reconstructed the storage-ship Lotta so that it can accommodate the new TK-18 type containers. Lotta was built in 1961 and has 12 rooms for storing 68 containers with spent nuclear fuel. About half of the spent fuel was from the Northern Fleet, while the other half originated from the nuclear icebreakers at Murmansk Shipping Company.