Nuclear subs under ban in Severodvinsk

Publish date: May 24, 2000

State Environmental Committee in Severodvisnk put a ban on more nuclear submarines coming to city's shipyards for decommissioning.

The State Environmental Committee of Arkhangelsk County had earlier set a limit of 32 reactor cores allowed in the city’s harbour. At present, 44 reactors with spent fuel inside are located in the water area of Severodvinsk. Each Russian nuclear submarine is normally equipped with two reactors. The city of Severodvinsk hosts two shipyards, Sevmash and Zvezdochka, involved in decommissioning and repair of nuclear powered submarines.

Anatoly Shushkanov, deputy chairman of the envirocommittee, said that the shipyards were not capable of scrapping such numbers of retired nuclear submarines at a time. “We should not continue transforming the city into a nuclear damp, posing a threat to people’s health,” Mr. Shushkanov said.

The ban does not spread over active submarines, entering Severodvinsk to undergo repairs and upgrade.

In 1999, spent nuclear fuel from four submarine reactors was shipped from Severodvinsk to the Mayak reprocessing plant in the southern Ural. According to the envirocommittee that is the limit difficult to overcome. Thus, it might take up to three years to reduce the number of reactor cores from 44 down to 32.

The envirocommittee used to file the same demands earlier, but the military would never follow them. After abolishment of the State Committee on Environmental Protection in Moscow a couple of weeks ago, the military is quite unlikely to follow the demand this time either.

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