Increased number of incidents at nuclear research installations: May/June incident statistics

Publish date: July 14, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The frequency of incidents has increased lately at nuclear research installations, an official from the Russian State Nuclear Inspection (GAN) informed a correspondent of RIA Novosti. GAN ascribes the alarming statistics to the fact that a number of highly qualified workers have left the research institutes after funding shortfalls have occurred.

In 1997, according to GAN, out of 113 nuclear research installations, only 61 were in operation. 30% of the installations, both those still in operation and those taken out of service, are more than 30 years old, and their service life has expired.

May/June incident statistics
In May this year, there were seven instances of emergency shut-downs at Russian nuclear power plants (NPPs) due to malfunctioning equipment: Two times at Kalinin and Kola NPPs, and one time each at Smolensk, Kursk and Novovoronezh NPPs. One emergency shut-down took place at Kursk NPP as a result of human error.

During operations of nuclear research installations, seven shut-downs were documented:

  • two times at installations AM-1 and BR-10 in Obninsk Physics Energy Institute due to electricity distortion
  • five times due to equipment malfunctions: two times at SM-3 installation in Dimitrovgrad Research Institute for Atomic Reactors; two times at IBR-2 installation in Dubna Joint Institute for Nuclear Research; one time at AM-1 installation in Obninsk Physics Energy Institute

In June this year, six instances of emergency shut-downs at Russian NPPs were registered: five as a result of malfunctioning equipment (Smolensk, Kursk, Balakovo, Novovoronezh and Leningrad NPPs), and one at Leningrad NPP due to human error.

The research reactors suffered two shut-downs in June: one at Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in Moscow, and one at Dimitrovgrad Research Institute for Atomic Reactors.

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