Fuel shipment from Severodvinsk delayed

Publish date: April 18, 1997

Written by: Igor Kudrik

According to Leonid Skuratov, leader of Severodvinsk Environmental Committee, the special train for transportation of spent nuclear fuel, scheduled to be in Severodvinsk by April 2, has not arrived yet. The delay is due to technical malfunctions on the train. The train is currently at Mayak reprocessing plant in Siberia for repairs, but lacking funds have slowed the operation down.

In Severodvinsk the loading operation is to be conducted by service boat PM-63 (Malina class) which is assigned to Severodvinsk yards. This boat was inspected by the Northern Fleet’s technical control authorities in the beginning of April. Out of 67 checked loading mechanisms onboard, only 4 were functioning properly. The inspection concluded that the boat requires overhaul repairment.

Moreover, in the morning on April 15, fire broke out at a warehouse at Belomorskay Naval base in Severodvinsk. The fire lasted into the late night. The area of Belomorskaya Naval base is used for spent fuel loading operations. There is no information on the level of damage brought by the fire.

Currently there are two locations in the Northwest Russia wherefrom spent fuel is shipped down to Mayak for reprocessing. One is located in Severodvinsk, while the other one is situated in the eastern part of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula, on the territory of "Atomflot", base of the nuclear-powered ice-breaker fleet. The facilities at "Atomflot" are believed to be safer and more reliable, as spent fuel loading operations in Severodvinsk are conducted by only partly operational service boats.