Russia is working on the design of a ship to lift 7 of its nuclear submarines sunk in Arctic waters which may be completed by 2032, Russian experts say.
"The total activity of boats flooded in the Kara and Barents Seas is 1 million CI. According to preliminary estimates by Russian experts, boats can be removed in 12 years," Interfax-AVN said quoting a publication of state corporation Rosatom.
CI - Curie (international designation Ci) is a unit for measuring the activity of a radionuclide. According to experts quoted in the publication, underwater research, design and construction of the ship for lifting will last from 2021 until the end of 2026.
“The design and lifting of the K-159 nuclear submarine, together with its dismantling, is four years (2025-2028). The same amount of time is needed to lift the K-27 (2028-2031). The remaining five boats are scheduled to be lifted for 2029-2032,” the newspaper said.
The recovery of (nuclear) submarines and the improvement of nuclear and radiation safety were the main topics of the 23rd meeting of the joint Russian-Norwegian commission for cooperation in the field of environmental protection.
“The goals until 2027 are to remove nuclear fuel from the facilities of the northwestern part of the Russian Arctic, complete the disposal of submarines, nuclear icebreakers and support vessels, and move to the active phase of the facility’s rehabilitation. By this time, the most dangerous of the flooded and sunken submarines in the Arctic, "the publication says.
Projects in the Arctic are funded under the federal target program “Industrial Disposal of Arms and Military Equipment”. Starting next year, funding was laid in the framework of the new state program "Development of the Nuclear Energy Industry", designed until 2027, the newspaper writes.
In particular, the article provides the following data on the radiation situation in the Arctic.
“In the 1990s, more than 100 decommissioned nuclear submarines were located at nine locations, their number grew over time. Now there are two locations (the base at Sayda Bay and the Nerpa Shipyard), the nuclear submarines have been disposed of. The volume of nuclear materials and radioactive waste from 2004, more than halved, the activity - from 11.1 million to 5.09 million Ci. The irradiated nuclear fuel of decommissioned nuclear submarines was almost completely removed," said Interfax-AVN quoting the Rosatom newspaper.