A MOX FUEL PLANT IN RUSSIA, THE ENGINEERING WORK HAS STARTED
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NIKITIN-2: JOURNALIST SUSPECTED AS SPY AND ARRESTED BY FSB
(AAP, Kaliningrad, November 25)
Journalist of the russian military pacific fleet' newspaper "Boevaya Vahta"
Grigory Pasko was arrested last sunday, november 24, by federal security service (FSB,
i.e. ex-KGB) in Vladivostok, Far East of Russia. Pasko is charged as spy.
Last November journalist visited Japan as member of official delegation sponsored by
the city authorities of Vladivostok. Pasko was arrested immediately after he returned
Since 1995, Grigory Pasko wrote many articles as journalist for local military
newspaper about catastrophic situation with radioactive waste and environmental protection
issues. He also collected large amount of information and photos for the book Pasko
planned to publish. This publication was planned as analysis of environmental situation in
the places where nuclear submarines of Pacific Ocean Fleet are based.
RUSSIAN TV HIGHLIGHTS DANGERS OF NUCLEAR FUEL STORAGE
(Russia TV channel, Moscow, November 4)
[Correspondent] All the nuclear waste storage problems of northwest Russia are
concentrated in Andreyev Bay. This is where the shore engineering base for nuclear
submarines and the nuclear waste storage facility are located. The storage conditions of
these potentially dangerous materials do not comply with modern requirements.
[A.Zolotkov, captioned as chemical engineer, Murmansk Shipping Company] You only need
to think back to the accident in Andreyev Bay in the 1980s, which led to quite a large
amount of radioactive water entering the bay. As a result of this, the entire storage
facility had to be refilled.
[Correspondent] Nuclear specialists and the command of the Northern Fleet never tire of
saying that the amount of spent nuclear fuel here poses a threat to us all.
The fleet is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain control of written-off
submarines - it has neither the manpower nor the resources. Keeping just one nuclear
submarine afloat costs the fleet 4,500 million roubles (US$ 750,000) a year. And there are
about 100 written-off submarines on the Kola peninsula. It would only take one of them to
sink and the result would be a tragedy more terrible than Chernobyl and would clearly
affect not only the peninsula. The lack of funds has brought yet another problem - the
inability to remove radioactive waste on time. Temporary storage points are now full to
bursting point and it would take over 150 special trains to have the waste sent off for
reprocessing. But there is only one such specially-equipped train, with four to six
wagons, in all of Russia. The removal process is therefore proceeding at a snail's pace.
Russia has signed the START-2 treaty, under which many more nuclear submarines will have
to be taken out of service and have their weapons removed. The professionals think it will
cost over 20,000bn roubles to put the treaty into effect.
ANTINUCLEAR ACTIVISTS CLIMBED THE ROOF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
EMBASSY IN MOSCOW ...and met the EU vice ambassador
(AAP, Moscow, November 18, 1997)
Today, at 12.00 (noon) about 10 activists from Socio-Ecological Union's Antinuclear
Campaign held an action to protest the issue of a European Commission loan to finish the
Kalinin-3 nuclear reactor. Euratom, a European Commission agency, declared its intent to
issue Kalinin-3 loan before the beginning of 1998. Action started near the subway station
Kitay-gorod, not far from the embassy of the European Union in Moscow.
Three activists demonstrated with 10-metr-long banner that said "Nuclear Power?
No, Thanks!". Other activists, dressed in white skirts painted with radiation
symbols, were giving away leaflets about European Union funding to the former Soviet
Union's nuclear industry. Hideous monstr in a skirt that said "Don't touch my nuclear
plant!" was posing to photographers. Action participants said the monster symbolized
the nuclear madness of the European Union and the Russian Ministry of Atomic Power.
At 12.30, activists walked to the EU embassy, where two activists climbed onto the roof
and put up a 7-metr-long banner reading "Stop Kalinin-3!". Other protesters
demanded a meeting with the EU ambassador.
Ten minutes later, the EU vice ambassador came to talk to the protestors, who gave him
a potition demanding the rejection of the Kalinin-3 loan proposal. The ambassador said all
the documents he got from the protestors would be sent to Bruxelles and promised to give
russian public a consultative place in the Environmental Impact Assessment of Kalinin-3
In 1996 European Commission issued grant to Euratom to prepare the necessary
documentation for the Kalinin-3 loan, which is intended to provide Russia with funding to
complete the unit-3 at Kalinin nuclear power plant. Euratom's russian partner is
Rosenergoatom and according to our source in the European Commission, the amount of the
loan will be about $ 170 million.
Two VVER-1000 reactors are currently in operation at the Kalinin plant, 3th is
completed for 60%. The plant has lowlevel of safety: about 120 incidents related to safety
systems occured from 1991 to 1994, including two INES level-2 incidents and nine INES
level-1 incidents. Plant uses natural sources of water to cool the reactors, and since
1990, such water has been in significantly short supply.
An expert commission from Russia's Ministry of the Environment assessed the proposal
for the construction of the third unit at KNPP in 1991. It stated that government's
expertize, or analysis, will not be positive until its recommendations are put into
effect. A key recommendation was to find an alternative source of water to use as reactor
coolant, and it has not been implemented. The project will not be legal without a positive
The Ministry of Atomic Power is building Kalinin-3 as part of its MOX program. MOX is
mixed plutonium-uranium oxide reactor fuel, in which Russian plans to use weapons-grade
plutonium as a fuel component. The VVER-1000 was designed for fundamentally different type
of fuel, and MOX technology is not developed enough to be safe for commercial use. In
Russia, it has been tested only in research reactors.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE BEST OF ACTION PHOTOS VIA THE INTERNET:
(see next article for more information on russian MOX plans)
A MOX FUEL PLANT IN RUSSIA - The Engineering Work Has Started
(AAP, Kaliningrad, December 1)
A technical programme has been set up by Cogema and Siemens, in partnership with Minatom,
to construct a MOX fuel fabrication plant in Russia dedicated to weapons-grade plutonium.
Europe has 22 reactors presently using MOX fuel. A MOX industrial capabilities operate at
Cadarache, France, giving 40t per year; at MELOX, France, whose new automated design
enables production of over one 500 kg assembly per day and whose capacity is 160 tHM per
year; and at Dessel, Belgium capacity 35t per year. But Europe also has problems with MOX:
Germany's Hanau plant (capacity 25 t) exist but not in operation, french SuperPhoenix -
world's largest fast-breeder - doesn't have commercial license anymore.
Russia has experimented with plutonium fuel in research reactors since the 1950s, and
the Paket plant near Chelyabinsk can produce 40 plutonium fuel assemblies per year. Work
on the Complex 300 MOX fuel plant has halted to due lack of finance. At present time
Minatom promotes High-Tempertature Reactor for MOX program in Russia as absolutely new,
safe, cheap and effective in plutonium burning. The US National Academy of Science stated
in its report in 1994 that HTR was assessed by the US government and rejected as expensive
among other types of reactors which can be used for plutonium disposition.
Both France and Germany have recently increased their bilateral cooperation with Russia
on MOX fuel. Studies concluded that MOX fuel from weapons plutonium can be loaded into
Russian VVER-1000 reactors and fast reactors, and that a pilot MOX plant should be built;
this culminated in the trilateral initiative of the DEMOX plant, to process 1,300 kg of
weapons-grade plutonium per year from 2001 or 2002, and loading the MOX fuel assemblies
into Russian reactors. At the same time soviet-designed commercial fast reactors has never
worked with MOX fuel. Specialists which tested VVERs with MOX assemblies says technology
is not developed enough.
Minatom officialy stated that DEMOX plant construction began in March 1997 (the same
was stated in Uranium Institute' 1997 Symphosium abstracts at its Internet server) with a
joint French-German team. This is good example how russian dream becomes true ... in the
abstract. Phase One, which really started that time, of the programmes comprises
harmonisation and consolidation of the existing bilateral projects (DEMOX benefits from
Cogema's and Siemens' experience in utilising the MELOX Advanced MIMAS fabrication
process, the Hanau design and unused equipment, and the technological and commissioning
experience from the Cadarache and MELOX plants);and completion of the basic design. This
should be finished by June 1998 and that's what really goin on. Phase Two is construction,
and Phase Three, operation of the plant by Minatom.
"These plans could, by 2001, provide an entire industrial system for the peaceful
disposition of weapon plutonium", - says Guy Bousquet & G Broehler in their
abstract which Uranium Institute in London put on the internet. Well, in 1992 Minatom
promised to construct 26 new nuclear reactors in Russia before 2005. In fact, only one new
reactor was put into operation during last 5 years.
Sources: Uranium Institute Information Service, 1997 Symposium Abstracts by Guy
Bousquet & G Broehler
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Sidst opdateret 8. december 1997