Senator Sam Nunn expected to visit the central base of Russia’s Navy
A ceremonial opening of a unique onshore complex designed for unshipping of spent nuclear fuel from submarines will take place in the Russian northern city of Severodvinsk on August 23. The complex was built with money appropriated by the USA in the network of the Co-operative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, also known by the names of its authors as a Nunn-Lugar program.
Unshipping of spent nuclear fuel from submarines is really very important for a complex process of spent nuclear fuel utilization. Before construction of the new onshore complex, the Severodvinsk enterprise Zvezdochka used a PM-124 conveyer ship for unshipping of spent nuclear fuel from submarines; the ship had been built for the Soviet Navy in 1960.
High ranking American officials are expected to come to the ceremonial opening of the complex, one of the CTR authors, Sam Nunn among them.
In accordance to a program adopted by the Russian and American defense ministries in the network of START agreement in 1992, three special platforms for cutting hulls of nuclear submarines and an automated section for cable processing were opened at the Severodvinsk enterprise Zvezdochka. Later, in autumn of 2000, a division for utilization of solid and liquid low activity wastes was also opened there. Specialists say, co-operation with the USA in this sphere is very likely to continue.
A year ago, Senator Richard Lugar visited Severodvinsk to check purposeful spending of funds appropriated for realization of the program and see utilization of nuclear subs. The senator also negotiated further CTR expansion with Zvezdochka Director General Nikolay Kalistratov. Some new projects in the CTR network are to be discussed during forthcoming visit of Americans to the Russian northern city of Severodvinsk. Construction of an additional temporary depot for nuclear fuel storage at the Zvezdochka enterprise is one of the projects to be discussed at the meeting. So, a closed technology for utilization of spent nuclear fuel will be created at the Severodvinsk enterprise. Putting of the onshore unshipping complex into operation will allow to discharge reactors of four submarines of a Delta-4 class or two strategic atomic-powered vessels of a Typhoon class off spent fuel per year. Specialists say, the new complex will secure nuclear and radiation safety of the whole process of unshipping, transportation and storage of spent nuclear fuel. So, the visit of Senator Nunn promises to be really very interesting.
Vitaly Bratkov PRAVDA.Ru Severodvinsk
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/08/21/45983.html