Russia to check facilities for dismantling nuclear submarines

Publish date: August 11, 2005

Russia plans to inspect all its facilities for dismantling retired nuclear submarines in order to allay the fears of Western investors after the accident in August 1 which killed two workers during a recycling operation, a senior executive said to Interfax.

An 18-year-old worker was killed at the Zvezdochka plant in Severodvinsk as fuel and lubricant fumes exploded inside a submarine that was undergoing recycling. Another worker, aged 22, died in intensive care afterwards.

“We intend to shake up all the units that have anything to do with hazardous operations,” Rostistav Rimdenok, chief engineer of the Nerpa 1 ship repair plant, told Interfax. Nerpa 1 is recycling two multipurpose Project 671 (Victor-III) nuclear submarines with funds provided by Britain and Norway.

“The tragedy that took place at Zvyozdochka is something for everyone in the industry to think about,” Rimdenok said. “It proves yet again that all risks should be taken into account during the recycling processes,” he said. Rimdenok said Britain and Norway might “set stricter standards for safety rules” after the incident.

Recycling at Zvezdochka is financed by Canada as part of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, a program approved at a 2002 summit of the Group of Eight industrialized countries (G8).