NF Decomm: Minatom’s engagement

Publish date: February 7, 2003

The funding for nuclear-powered submarines from the federal budget was — and remains — very scarce. In 1998, it was just over $4m. However, starting from 1999, the lion's share of funding started to come from Minatom in compliance with governmental Decree 518, approved in 1998 (See State agencies responsibilities).

The tempo of defuelling activities kept pace with the budget increase. In 1998, four nuclear submarines were defuelled in the Northern Fleet, while in 1999, the number increased to six. I n 2000, according to official returns, 14 submarines were defuelled. In 2001, 16 submarines have been earmarked for defuelling, assuming the availability of funding.

Funding, $m 1998 1999 2000 2001 (planned)
Federal budget 4.1 6.4 5.1
HEU sales 13.8 28.2
Minatom’s budget 3.6 6.9
Total 4.1 23.8 40.2 90.7
Table 7. Funding for decommissioning nuclear submarines in 1998-2001

Minatom also has the responsibility to ensure that no superfluous infrastructure is built. According to Minatom, the number of submarines defuelled per year can easily be increased to 30, but this will require an expansion of a type of infrastructure which will become useless once the spent nuclear fuel is unloaded from all retired submarines. Minatom considers that the optimal solution would be to dismantle 20 to 25 submarines per year. At this rate, the problems revolving around decommissioning would be resolved within six to seven years. The cost would be around $71.4 million per year.