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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tomsk-7 / Seversk
Combine 816 / Siberian Chemical Combine
N 56°38' E 84°55'

The Siberian Chemical Combine (SKhK), located in Seversk (formerly known as Tomsk-7), is one of the principal nuclear materials production sites in the MINATOM complex, with uranium processing facilities, production reactors, a spent fuel reprocessing plant, a uranium enrichment plant, and a variety of other processing and storage facilities. Tomsk-7 was established in 1949 to produce and process fissile materials for the nuclear weapons program. The Siberian Chemical Combine (originally the Combine 816) is Russia's largest plutonium production and fissile material management complex.

Tomsk-7 is located on the Tom' river in Tomsk oblast, about 12 km northwest of the city of Tomsk. The Tomsk-7 sanitary protection area is approximately 200 km2. The industrial areas are located north-east of Seversk and include: the fuel complex and a fossil fuel plant, a UF6 conversion and enrichment plants, two reactor areas, chemical and metallurgical plant, a reprocessing plant, waste injection wells (sites 18 and 18a), and support and storage areas.

Tomsk-7 has a population of 119,000. Of them, approximately 15,000 work at the nuclear complex.

The production of plutonium took place in the reactors I-1, EI-2, ADE-3, ADE-4, and ADE-5, which were brought into operation in the period from 1955 to 1967. The first three reactors were shut down between August 1990 and August 1992. The ADE-4 and ADE-5 reactors are still in operation and produce heat and electricity for the nuclear complex, as well as provide heat to Seversk and the nearby oil and chemical complex.

Irradiated reactor fuel is reprocessed at the radiochemical plant, which was brought into operation in 1956.

Until recently, plutonium was transferred to the chemical and metallurgical plant where it was converted to metal and fabricated into warhead components. Since October 1, 1994, newly produced plutonium is converted to plutonium dioxide and is placed in storage.

The chemical and metallurgical plant also was designed to manufacture HEU warhead components. In 1994, the plant began to convert HEU weapons components into HEU oxide that is subsequently downblended to low-enriched uranium reactor fuel under the U.S.-Russian HEU agreement. In 1996, an HEU fluorination and downblending facility was brought into operation in Tomsk-7 as well.

The Tomsk-7 enrichment plant was built and brought into operation in 1953 and was USSR's second enrichment facility. Presently, the plant accounts for 14 percent of Russia's total enrichment capacity. It also is involved in HEU downblending under the U.S.-Russian HEU agreement. In addition, Tomsk-7 operates one of Russia's two large conversion facilities producing UF6, the feed material for enrichment facilities. (There might have been no conversion plant in Tomsk-7 during the Corona program period.)

In 1994 the US and Russia signed a 20-year $12-billion covering the purchase of 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) recovered from Russian weapons. The uranium will be blended down to low-enriched uranium (LEU) and shipped to the US for use in commercial power reactor fuel. The transparency protocols for the HEU purchase are intended to confirm for the US that the shipped material is derived from Russian weapons material, and to confirm for Russia that the LEU is not used the US weapons program. This requires access to the uranium processing facilities of both sides. US monitors are allowed access to the three principal Russian plants involved in the conversion of HEU to LEU. At the plant in Seversk, HEU metal is processed into an HEU oxide before being shipped to the electrochemical plants in Novouralsk or Zelenogorsk. In these facilities, the oxide is fluorinated and combined with a slightly enriched blending material to turn it into LEU suitable for civilian power reactor fuel. Monitoring at Seversk and Zelenogorsk is confined to periodic visits, but monitors have continuous access to the Novouralsk plant through the US Permanent Presence Office there, which Lawrence Livermore manages for DOE. At all three plants, US monitors have access to relevant documentation and accountability records.

The Russian Reactor Core Conversion project, directed by a Gore-Chernomyrdin signed agreement, is a high priority of the Administration. This project will stop Russian production of weapons grade plutonium and improve operational safety by converting the reactor core design configuration of the reactors at Seversk and Zheleznogorsk. Currently, each of the three reactors can produce up to a total of 1.5 metric tons of plutonium per year. These reactors also provide critically needed district heat and electricity to Seversk and Zheleznogorsk. Total project costs including the value of the uranium is estimated in October 1998 to be $310 million. Due to the financial situation in Russia, the DoD intends to request additional funding for the design of converting the cores; improvements in safety systems; and infrastructure and materials needed to assure the actual conversion of the reactors; acceptance testing; and, regulatory approval.

The Siberian Chemical Combine (SKhK) joined the the Laboratory-to-Laboratory Nuclear Material Protection, Control, and Accounting Program (Laboratory-to-Laboratory MPC&A Program) in the Summer of 1995, with the signing of a contract to begin technical cooperation on portal monitors. In October 1995, the scope of the portal monitoring work was expanded to include equipping the entire Combine with new portal monitors, specifically pedestrian radiation monitors, metal detectors, and handheld radiation monitors. As of July 1996, all of the pedestrian radiation monitoring equipment had been delivered; most of it had already been installed, with the rest to be completed within a few months. Twenty-seven metal detectors had been ordered from Eleron, a Russian vendor, and were delivered and installed. Vehicle monitors (a total of twelve) were also part of this project, but because of the need to assure their performance under Siberian winter weather conditions, the schedule for their installation was later than for the pedestrian monitors. All of these portal monitoring enhancements were scheduled for completion in 1996.

Additional work on MPC&A enhancements was planned at several facilities. The first of these was the Radiochemical Plant, i.e., the reprocessing plant, which was also the focus of an International Science and Technology Center Project (ISTC-40) on materials control and accounting. The Laboratory-to-Laboratory work, which complements the ISTC project, started with a plutonium storage facility at the Radiochemical Plant, and then proceeded to other locations at the Radiochemical Plant and eventually to the entire Combine. The cooperation encompassed bar codes, computerized accounting, seals, measurement methods (neutron counting, gamma spectroscopy, and others), enhanced access control (e.g., an upgraded badge system), physical protection upgrades, MPC&A system effectiveness assessments, video surveillance systems, statistical analysis of inventory data, and transportation security. Because of the scale and complexity of the SKhK's nuclear operations, this joint work was expected to continue for several years.

The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has awarded a total of $466 million to US firms Washington Group International and Raytheon Technical Services to begin work to shut down the last three remaining weapons-grade plutonium production reactors in Russia. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced the contracts at a May 27, 2003, press conference with Russian Ambassador to the United States Yuri Ushakov at DOE Headquarters, Washington, DC. On March 12, 2003, in Vienna, Austria, Secretary Abraham and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Alexander Rumyantsev signed an agreement to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction by stopping plutonium production at the Russian reactors. As part of the agreement, DOE, working with its partners in Russia, will provide replacement fossil-fuel facilities to produce energy for heat and electricity currently produced by the reactors serving the cities of Seversk and Zheleznogorsk.

At Seversk, the US will assist in refurbishing an existing fossil fuel plant. Major work will include refurbishing or replacing existing coal-fired boilers, providing one new high pressure coal-fired boiler, replacing turbine generators, completing con-struction of the fuel supply system, and refurbishing the industrial heating unit and ancillary systems. The refurbishment work is estimated to take five years, at which time the plutonium production reactors will shut down.

Regional Context

The Tomsk region is located in the south-eastern part of western Siberian lowland. Its territory is 317,000 square kilometers (ranked13th in Russia). It is the second largest territory of west Siberia, after the Tyumen region. The region stretches 600 kilometers from north to south. The climate is continental, though it varies. Almost the entire region is located within the taiga zone. Winters are long and severe (average temperature in January is minus 20 Celsius); summers are warm and short. Agricultural lands occupy 1,373 hectares, or 4.3 percent, of the region's territory. There are extensive water resources: about 100,000 large and small lakes and 18,000 rivers that belong to the Karskoye Sea basin. The main river is the ob.5. the population of the region is over 1 million people (ranked 57th in Russia). 698,000 are urban, and 373,000 are rural. 500,000 live in Tomsk, the regional center.

The Tomsk region provides a remarkable combination of rich natural resources, developed science and industry, a highly educated labor force, and old cultural traditions. The Tomsk region has rich reserves of oil, gas, wood, and other natural resources. It has developed industries, including energy, machine building, and power engineering. Certain industry sectors, like food processing, telecommunications and consumer goods, require modernization and radical expansion.

Tomsk is one of the oldest scientific and higher education centers in Russia. There are 6 higher educational institutes, including 3 universities (state, polytechnical and Siberian medical), 12 scientific research institutes, 20 colleges and 3 scientific centers(the Siberian divisions of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, and Russian Academy of education). Total number of people involved in science and education is over 20,000. 27,000 students are trained each year to be specialists in 124 professions. Main scientific efforts are theoretical and experimental physics, mathematics, nuclear physics, petrochemistry, optics, electronics and precise instrument making..

In 1991, Tomsk became an "open city" which marked the beginning of foreign economic activity in the region.

Imagery Evaluation Report

As of 07 October 2000 the Space Imaging Carterra Archive had four images of this area, two of which were essentially cloud-free.

Sources and Methods

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