NF decomm: Severodvinsk shipyards – Zvezdochka and Sevmash

Publish date: February 7, 2003

Severodvinsk lies on the White Sea, 35 kilometres west of Arkhangelsk, and has been a closed city ever since it was founded in 1936. Visitors to the town today require security clearance from the Russian Security Police, the FSB.

The town grew up around the two large shipyards Sevmash and Svezdochka which are located on the northern edges of the city and cover an area of 15 square kilometres. These are the largest naval shipyards in Russia and nuclear submarines are both built and serviced here. Both shipyards are subject to the Ministry of Economy. Sevmash is the only shipyard in Russia engaged in the construction of nuclear submarines for the Russian Navy. Submarines with titanium hulls and one Yankee class submarine have been dismantled at Sevmash. The servicing and most of the dismantling work on SSBNs is undertaken at Zvezdochka.

Project/Class K-no. (Factory no.) Date of reactor compartment transfer
to Sayda Bay
667A — Yankee K-214 (N452)
705 — Alfa K-463 (N915) 1995
  K-316 (N905) 1996
  K-432 (N106) 1998
  K-493 (N107) 1998
661 — Papa K-222 (N501) ~1998
Table 9. Submarines decommissioned at Sevmash shipyard

All in all, six submarines have been dismantled at Sevmash shipyard. One Typhoon class submarine is currently stationed at Sevmash, but no clear plans exist as to whether the submarine will be scrapped, upgraded or reconstructed to carry civilian cargoes under the Arctic ice. One Yankee class submarine was dismantled at Sevmash as an experiment to determine whether the yard can handle such operations. Two Oscar-I class submarines are presently laid up at Sevmash awaiting decommissioning. Of the Alfa class submarines with titanium hulls, there are only two left, and these are stationed at Bolshaya Lopatka, Zapadnaya Litsa waiting to be dismantled. The process has been delayed in that the vessels’ liquid metal cooled reactors must first be defuelled, and the facilities at the Gremikha naval bse for removing the fuel from such reactors in Gremikha base are currently out of order.

Project/Class K-no. (Factory no.) Date of reactor compartment transfer
to Sayda Bay
667A — Yankee K-216 (N424) 1994
  K-415 (N451) 1994
  K-137 (N420) ~1995
  K-140 (N421) ~1995
  K-210 (N401) 1995-1996
  K-228 (N470) 1995
  K-444 (N461) 1995
  K-241 (N462) ~1996
  K-418 (N418) 1999
  K-32 (N423) 1999
667B — Delta-I K-279 (N310) ~1999
  K-385 (N324) ~1999
  K-472 (N338) 1999
  K-475 (N339) 1999
667BD — Delta-II K-193 (N353) 1999
667BDR — Delta-III K-441
Table 10. Submarines decommissioned at Zvezdochka shipyard

Zvezdochka has dismantled 17 SSBNs so far, five of which have been dismantled with CTR funds. One more Delta-I is due to be dismantled shortly, also utilising CTR funds. It is expected that Zvezdochka will dismantle 11 Yankee class submarines in the future, and discussions are also being held with CTR concerning the dismantling of one Delta-I and one Delta-IV submarine.

Severodvinsk storage capacity for spent nuclear fuel is limited by the Project 2020 — Malina class nuclear service ship, which can hold around six submarine reactor cores at a time. This explains why the tempo at which decommissioning occurs is largely dependent on the speed at which the fuel is unloaded from the submarines and shipped on to the Mayak plant. CTR is currently funding the construction of a loading point in Severodvinsk to increase the decommissioning capacity in Severodvinsk (See Chapter 5 — ‘Projects for securing nuclear waste’).