France to invest 900,000 euros in Russia’s nuclear waste storage

Publish date: June 2, 2005

France is ready to invest some 900,000 euros in the program of environmental rehabilitation of the coastal storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Gremikha (Kola Peninsula).

The federal state unitary enterprise SevRAO has already signed a 150,000-euro contract with France’s Commissariat for Atomic Energy to produce and supply the first mobile decontamination and sanitary inspection facility to Gremikha. Its installation in Gremikha is expected to be carried out in August 2005.

Another 750,000 euro contract has been also signed. The agreement includes construction of the second sanitary facility, purchase and supply of equipment for radioactive examination of the storage facility’s territory and ensuring the safety of the maintenance staff.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the EU Tacis (Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States) program take part in the project together with France, which is Russia’s main ideological foreign partner in the implementation of the program of Gremikha environmental safety. Gremikha is the second coastal storage facility of Northern Fleet’s spent nuclear fuel, it is also the largest centre for decommissioned nuclear submarines mainly belonging to the first generation.

The mobile decontamination station is a 40-feet 10-tonns shipping container. It can accommodate 10 people at a time and is used for radiation control and decontamination of the personnel engaged in operations with the radioactive waste. The equipment for the stations will be delivered from France. At the next stage of the Gremikha rehabilitation project the specialists of the Kurchatov Institute will conduct a detailed radiation examination of the site This study will be also funded by France, for an amount of about 3 millions euros, and also by TACIS program.

The France takes part in the project in the frames of the agreement signed by France, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, or EBRD, and TACIS program. The strategic master plan on the submarine dismantling presented by the EBRD stipulates funding of the nine first-priority projects in 2005, five of them are in Gremikha, and the France is the main ideological partner, Interfax reported.

Gremikha is the second land storage facility of the Northern fleet and is the biggest site for the laid-up nuclear submarines, mostly first generation. The base is situated approximately 350km from the Murmansk harbour and cannot be reached by land transport. The connection is only by sea or air. The base is accommodating 800 rods with spent nuclear fuel and six active zones from the reactors with liquid coolant of Alfa class submarines, project 705. Besides, 19 submarines and 38 reactors with unloaded spent nuclear fuel are also stored at the site. In 2001, the navy on-shore facilities in Gremikha and Andreyeva bay were handed over to the ”Northern Federal Company on handling with radioactive waste”, or SevRAO, which was established by Russia to create infrastructure on nuclear submarines dismantling, handling of the nuclear spent fuel and radioactive waste, rehabilitation of the nuclear sites in the North of Russia, reported Interfax.