The Russian Government has given Atomflot the task to work out a project for a unified center for reloading and service of all of the country’s nuclear-powered vessels: icebreakers, naval vessels and submarines, including submarines belonging to the Pacific Fleet. The center will probably also be handling the floating nuclear power plant “Akademik Lomonosov”, Bellona writes.
“The idea of concentrating service of civilian and military nuclear-powered objects under the competence of one single company has many advantages”, says leader of Bellona Murmansk Andrey Zolotkov. He believes that such a center can lead to a standardization of processes connected to repairs and service of nuclear installations and reloading of reactors. “Today there are large differences between equipment being used for reloading of civilian objects and military objects”.
But on the other hand is the question of economics and safety. Zolotkov suggests that Atomflot’s special service vessels will be sailing from Murmansk to the Pacific and back again along the Northern Sea Route – “and this is no short distance”, and on their way back they will probably have used radioactive fuel on board. Later the used radioactive material will have to be transported by railway to Siberia, where Russia’s plant for handling such material is located.
Bellona underlines that no decision has yet been taken on the question of establishing an all-Russian service base at Atomflot.