Rosatom looks to efficient decommissioning

23 August 2016

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom plans by 2025 to develop efficient decommissioning technologies for nuclear facilities as part of its Innovative Development and Technological Modernisation Programme up to 2030. By 2025 it plans “to develop efficient technologies for dismantling and decontamination of nuclear power units, including steam generators of VVER reactors. This will involve decommissioning with subsequent disposal of reactor vessels and internals. The programme also designs robotics for dismantling and decontamination of VVER and RBMK reactors. In addition, technology of conditioning of ion exchange resins for VVERs and RBMKs will be developed.

By 2025, efficient decommissioning technologies for VVERs along with implementation of the decommissioning project at unit 1 of the Novovoronezh NPP should be in place. Also, RBMK decommissioning proposals should be developed using unit 1 of the Leningrad NPP as the example. Technologies will be developed for dismantling, mothballing and decontamination of nuclear research installations. Also by 2025, an integrated programme will be put in place for handling graphite from uranium-graphite reactors, including technologies for disposal of irradiated graphite and dismantling of graphite stacks.

Meanwhile, decommissioning of chemical and metallurgical plant (CMP) at the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) in Seversk in 2017 will be funded using RUB1-1.2bn ($15.7-18.8m) of federal money, according to SCC director general Sergey Tochilin. CMP will be stopped and decommissioned early in 2017 in line with a Rosatom resolution which was taken after the governmental defence order had been fulfilled. “The plant is to undergo a lengthy procedure of decommissioning, which will take several decades, Tochlin told journalists in Tomsk on 17 August. He added that all personnel working at CMP would keep their jobs. “We are not to axe anyone,” he said, explaining that “nearly half of the CMP staff” would remain at the plant and would be doing decommissioning work while the others would work on the fabrication of mixed nitride uranium-plutonium (MNUP) fuel.

SCC is also preparing to decommission the highly enriched uranium (HEU) reprocessing facility (M2079) on the site of the conversion plant. On 12 August bids were invited for producing design and justification documentation for this work. The initial (maximum) contract cost is set up at RUB12.9m, Rosatom’s procurement website said. The work would last 315 calendar days. Facility M2079 was designed for implementation of the Russian-US programme for conversion of highly enriched uranium extracted from nuclear weapons into low enriched uranium for use as fuel of US NPPs (Megatons to Megawatts HEU programme). SCC worked on this programme from 1996 until the HEU deal was completed in 2013. In 2014 Facility ?2079 was rendered nuclear safe.

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