The world’s most northerly nuclear reactor, four kilometres from Norilsk in north-western Siberia, has been closed down. Spent fuel from the reactor has been shipped to Murmansk in north-east Russia and to the Mayak reprocessing plant in the Southern Urals.

The materials testing reactor has been operated by the Norilsk Mining Combine since 1966 but became obsolete when the combine bought modern spectrometers abroad.

The Norwegian Bellona foundation says that in June 1998 the reactor core, containing 71 fuel assemblies, was removed and placed into an on-site storage pool.

The fuel loaded for the first and last time in 1966 was only slightly irradiated showing that the reactor has been hardly used during its 33-year lifetime.