Russia plans to scrap 18 nuclear submarines next year. Deputy atomic energy minister Valery Lebedev set the target at a meeting on Arctic military-environmental cooperation between Russian, American and Norwegian representatives. 107 submarines are earmarked for decommissioning.
Lebedev acknowledged that existing technologies available to Russia do not permit the process to be speeded up, but said that the ministry’s research centres are working on a new concept for their disposal. According to Lebedev, 500 million roubles ($19 million) in federal funds were allotted this year for dismantling the submarines.
“The seriousness of the problem finds understanding in the government, and this gives us hope that our programme will be implemented,” he said.
Russia plans to set up several storage sites for spent fuel near nuclear submarine bases. St Petersburg’s Izhora plants are designing storage tanks. Some fuel will be transported to the Mayak reprocessing plant in the Urals.
Lebedev said a plant for processing liquid radioactive waste at the Atomflot company in Murmansk would be operating by the end of the year.
The enterprise will meet the northern region’s entire demand for the disposal of nuclear waste. Lebedev denied that the environmental situation in the northern region is dangerous, saying that the only cause for concern is the submarine base at Andreyev Bay on the Kola peninsula, but this situation is being addressed.
MINATOM is searching for places to temporarily store the used fuel from nuclear submarines. It is considering bases on the Kola peninsula, the Andreyev inlet, Gremikha, the Nerpa ship-repairing plant near Murmansk, and Kamchatka in the far east.