Tajikistan’s Academy of Sciences has started to implement the governmental programme to refurbish and restart the Argus-FTI research reactor, Academy President Farkhod Rahimi said on 14 January.

Argus is a 20MW homogeneous molten salt reactor which was built at the Umarov Physical and Technical Institute in Dushanbe but was never operated. A similar reactor was built at Russia’s Kurchatov Institute.

The work to restore Argus-FTI will be undertaken with Russian assistance. The first stage of the programme (2016-2017) provides for training of the staff, design and survey activities, and production of the project documentation. The second stage (2018-2020) will involve the refurbishment of the reactor and construction of facilities to produce radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals.

The cost of the programme is $35m, including $16.34m at the first stage and $18.66m at the second stage. The reactor equipment has been "mothballed" but preliminary investigations have shown that two thirds of the equipment is useable. However, complete replacement of the reactor control system is required.