Kurchatov to shut reactors

27 August 1998

Yevgeny Velikhov, President of the Kurchatov Institute, has asked the federal government again to allocate funds to shut down three nuclear reactors. He is supported by the Moscow local authorities.

Velikhov said that the federal government is legally obliged to provide funding for such purposes. However, he is aware that, with the present economic situation, the state cannot finance this work 100%, so the institute must find one third of the expenditures.

To attract more funds, Velikhov is going to ask the federal government to turn the Kurchatov Institute into a high-tech zone, focusing on telecommunications, biotechnology and medicine, to which customs and tax concessions should be applied. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said funds for rehabilitating part of the institute’s site and removing waste from the capital should be supplied by the federal and Moscow budgets and by the institute’s financial sources. “Laws to this effect should be passed at the federal and municipal level,” the mayor said.

The institute’s experts estimated that the programme for closing hazardous facilities, to be implemented by the year 2005, requires R750 million.

The clean-up work involves removal of seven reactors and a large amount of waste. The three most dangerous reactors will be taken outside of Moscow and 4200 to 4800 m3 of radioactive waste will be recycled, Velikhov said. At present some waste stores produce 200 milli-roentgen/hour. The institute wants to keep one reactor as a museum exhibit, he said.

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