Publish date: June 20, 2003

Atomflot is the service base for the nuclear icebreakers and is located two kilometres from the northern border of city Murmansk, covering an area of 17.2 hectares.

Until 1988 the base was called Base 92 and was a structural subdivision of Murmansk Shipping Company. After the privatisation of MSCo, Atomflot remained a federal property under the Ministry of Transportation.

The name Base 92 appeared in the beginning of the 1960s (92 is an atomic number of uranium). During that period the base represented a strip of land of the Kola Bay’s coastal zone with a small wooden dock, several wooden block constructions, storage facilities and sheds where the equipment of icebreakers reactor installations was stored. The service base began operations in 1960 as a base for the Admiralty shipbuilding yard in St. Petersburg and was engaged to undertake the servicing of the first nuclear icebreaker Lenin.

The active building of the base started in 1970s when it had already been decided that the nuclear fleet would soon acquire new vessels. It was necessary to build mooring lines, modern workshops and departments as soon as possible. The buildings and facilities, which make up the base today, were constructed to a design developed by the Soyuzmorniiproekt Institute in Moscow.The initial buildings went into operation in 1981 as part of the basic maintenance service (including maintenance of the nuclear installation, docks, and storage facilities for solid radioactive waste). Over the ensuing years, the construction of the auxiliary objects was expanded: building of special installation for filtering of radioactive water, new docks, a garage, a fire department, an administration building and other objects. Construction of a new land-based waterpool for storage for spent nuclear fuel was also started, but the construction was stopped in 1987.

Atomflot is a place for the ongoing service of nuclear icebreakers and other nuclear vessels; it is also here that the

following task are carried out:

-maintenance and repair work on vessel systems and equipment;

-refueling the nuclear reactors;

-preparing spent fuel for transportation by rail;

-receiving and loading fresh nuclear fuel onto service ship Imandra;

-receiving, processing and temporary storing of solid and liquid radioactive waste.

Most maintenance work involving radioactive material is carried out in special departments and workshops. Servicing of the icebreaker hull is carried out at dry docks in central dock areas close to the center of Murmansk City. Service and maintenance of the nuclear lighter Sevmorput (length – 260 meter) are done at a Ministry of Defense shipyard in the settlement Roslyakovo (several kilometers north of Murmansk).

887dfddd1fbbecaa4afb41f1eeddf502.jpeg Photo: Alexander Raube

In 1995 Atomflot received a floating dock (from Russias Far East), but a lack of financing has delayed the reconstruction for service of nuclear icebreakers and service ships. In more recent years (1996 -2000), the decommissioning of the floating control-dosimetric boat PKDP-5 and the service ship Volodarsky was carried out in this dock. Atomflot has its own railway connecting the service base to the Murmansk branch of the national railway, which is used for transporting fresh and spent nuclear fuel.To carry out the cargo works, Atomflot has three cranes placed on the mooring line to assist with the loading and unloading of cargo, including a 100-ton crane.

Technological subdivisions currently in operation at the service base include the following:

-maintenance and technology complex including plants for repairing vessel equipment, metalwork, and manufacturing of ship designs;

-special complex for repair of equipment for the nuclear installations;

-storage facility for containers holding solid radioactive waste (volume – 400m3) complete with a plant for processing of inflammable waste;

-storage facility for high level solid radioactive waste (containers) holding spent filter materials and emergency cores – 216 cells);

-storage facility for high level equipment (steam generators and so forth – 12 cells);

-storage facility for special containers holding worn reactor parts, three units;

-pilot plant for cleaning liquid radioactive waste. There are two on-shore tanks, (100m3 in volume) for temporary storage of liquid waste;

-central plant laboratory, environmental protection laboratory, dosimeter control post;

-floating dock;

-important auxiliary units, including a boiler-house, transport department, fire department and so forth;

-technological docks with bridge cranes.