Science » Technologies and discoveries
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russia closes plutonium-making factory in Siberia

The last industrial reactor of the chemical plant in the town of Seversk, the Tomsk region of Russia’s Siberia, was shut down on June 5 at 8:00 a.m. Moscow time. The event marked the end of the production of weapon-grade plutonium in the region, ITAR-TASS reports with reference to the press service of the enterprise.

The previous reactor of the plant was shut down on April 2008. Specialists currently unload nuclear fuel from the reactor.

The construction of the reactor works of the Siberian chemical plant started during the Cold War era. The plant was built to produce weapon-grade plutonium on carbon-uranium reactors with the simultaneous generation of heat and electric power. As soon as the international Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons came into effect, the reactor works started to mainly generate the heat power for the city of Tomsk, near which it is situated.

Now that the nuclear reactors have been shut down in the region, Tomsk faces the problem of serious shortage of energy. The closing of the reactor works have deprived the city of 430 megawatts of electric power and 250 gigacalories of heat. This is a significant loss for the city for it makes up about a quarter of the total energy consumption.

The two nuclear reactors of the Siberian chemical plant were shut down in accordance with the Plutonium Disposition Agreement signed between Russia and the USA in 2003.

The plant will now deal with the production of fuel for nuclear power plants. One of them is to be constructed not far from the Siberian chemical plant.

The first block of the new nuclear power plant is set to be launched in 2015. The new station will belong to the third generation of nuclear plants. It will be outfitted with all latest safety means.

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