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Andreeva Bay
Andreyeva Guba
6927'10"N 3222'00"E

Andreeva Bay is the primary spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste storage facility for the Northern Fleet. This facility contains about 21,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies and about 12,000 cubic meters of solid and liquid radioactive wastes. There are three wet storage tanks in the Andreeva Bay facility, containing large volumes of spent nuclear fuel. These tanks are deteriorating due to poor maintenance and the harsh Arctic climate. Much of the legacy fuel at this facility has been stored in unlicensed transportation casks out in the open with no protection from the elements. Many of these casks are also deteriorating. Similar storage facilities exist in the Russian Pacific Fleet on the Shukotovo Peninsula near Vladivostok.

Unlike the US, the Soviet Union made no plans for the "cradle to grave" management of nuclear vessels. The USSR never developed plans for the dismantlement of the vessels and the safe disposition of the resultant radioactive waste. Further, the Soviet military planners considered numerical superiority imperative and few older nuclear submarines were retired as newer more capable platforms came on line.

On 29 July 1993 about 1.8 kg of enriched uranium (approximately 36% enrichment level) was stolen from the Andreeva Guba Fuel Storage Area. The material was recovered in August 1993.

Storage of spent nuclear fuel remains a problem: there is a total of three makeshift storage tanks in the Andreeva Bay facility which contain large volumes of spent nuclear fuel. Andreeva bay is located on the Litsa Fjord only 30 miles from the border of Norway. The storage tanks are deteriorating due to poor maintenance and the harsh Arctic climate with severe freezing and thawing cycles. The deterioration could result in leakage to the marine environment. This has resulted in elevated levels of Cesium-137 in Andreeva bay and Litsa Fjord. Studies have shown that this contamination has not moved into the Barents Sea.

The Russian Navy has completed a new storage facility at Andreeva Bay. A new US developed coating which aids in easy decontamination has been applied at RTP ATOMFLOT storage facilities in Murmansk and a one year field test of the coating started in August 1999. Twenty-two containers for storage and transport of solid radioactive waste were fabricated by a US company and shipped to Murmansk. Half of these containers were evaluated by Nuclide for Russian regulatory certification and the other half went directly to the Russian Navy's new storage facility at Andreeva Bay for proof of process demonstration with Russian Navy solid radioactive waste.

Submarine dismantlement requires infrastructure to deal with spent nuclear fuel. This infrastructure is severely taxed and overburdened in Russia with legacy wastes. Spent nuclear fuel storage facilities and service vessels are nearing capacity. There is a need for safe spent nuclear fuel storage casks for the storage of spent nuclear fuel being generated at an accelerated rate by ballistic missile submarine dismantlement mandated by START.






References

  • ANNEX B. SLBMS AND SLBM LAUNCHERS Russian Federation START MOU dated: 1 July 1998




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