Uzbekistan to decommission research reactor

18 May 2016

The VVR-SM research reactor at the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences is to be decommissioned, according to a presidential resolution of 11 May "On the measures for further improvement of activity of the National University of Uzbekistan (NUU)". The relevant chairs and laboratories of the NUU's Faculty of Physics will occupy its buildings.

The VVR-SM has been handed over to newly established Radiation Safety Centre under the Ministry of Emergency Situations. The centre's main task includes organizing and conducting, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and authorized bodies, the decommissioning of the INP reactor, as well as storage, disposal and elimination of radioactive material storage facilities.

The centre will be also undertake nuclear and radiation safety work including scientific reviews of ionizing radiation sources in use in Uzbekistan. An inventory of INP scientific and technical projects, engineering and technological developments and research equipment will be carried out in the context of its closure to determine whether "they are in demand and it is expedient to retain them for subsequent transfer to the newly established laboratories of the NUU Faculty of Physics.

The 2MWt VVR-SM reactor was designed with participation of Russia's NN Dollezhal Research & Development Institute of Power Engineering (NIKIET) and commissioned in September 1959. In 1980, after reconstruction its power was increased to 10MWt and in 2009, it was converted to use low enriched fuel IRT-4M (enriched 19.8% U-235).

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