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Snezhnogorsk
Murmansk-60
6911'40"N 3314'00"E

    Navy Yard No. 85
    NERPA Ship-Repair Plant
    184680 Snezhnogorsk,
    Murmansk region, Russia
    Tel: +7 (81530) 60 386
    Fax: +7(81530) 60 596
    

Shipyard No. 85 Nerpa is situated in the innermost part of Olenya Bay. Today, it falls under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy. The town of Snezhnogorsk, also known as Vyuzhny or Murmansk-60, is located approximately five kilometres south-west of Nerpa. Nerpa, located near Polyarny on the Kola fjord, is one of three naval yards where nuclear submarines are dismantled. It has an open-air solid radioactive waste storage facility about 100 meters away from the sea as well as a storage tank of liquid radioactive waste.

NERPA, where the Northern Fleet's nuclear submarines undergo recycling, is a state owned ship repair yard located in the ice-free Kola Bay, established in 1970. The word "nerpa" also refers to a type of seal that is found in Lake Baikal. During the Cold War, Russian workers at Nerpa built and maintained ballistic missile submarines. Main activities include maintenance of nuclear submarines and Navy ships, shipbuilding for civil fleet and maintenance services, production of fishing equipment, and utilization/cutting of vessels and nuclear submarines. Resources include production facilities for building ships of up to 1000 DWT (cargo ships, fishing ships for coastal fishing, bulk carriers and similar), a modern scrap metal cutting complex of 73 t/hr capacity, and knowledge of maintenance of nuclear submarines.

As of 1997 about 100 submarines had been withdrawn from the Northern Fleet, but nuclear fuel had actually been unloaded from only one-third of the ships. And even fewer reactor compartments had been cut out and transferred for long-term storage at special sites.

Although a hundred decommissioned nuclear submarines are awaiting their turn to be dismantled, the shipyard can only handle two or three a year. To expedite the recycling of nuclear submarines, the Russian Federation Government adopted special decree No. 644-47, which was given the status of a Presidential Program by Russian Federation presidential edict No. 767 of 27 July 1995. Under the decree, the NERPA plant was obliged to construct a complex for nuclear submarine recycling with a design capacity of five or six submarines a year. The "Trest Murmanskstroy" Open Joint-Stock Company soon started building the complex. However, by 1997 the Finance Ministry had failed to find the necessary funds. As of late 1997 the unit being built at Nerpa, intended to handle six or seven nuclear submarines a year, was over a year behind schedule. Construction of the US-financed project was being paid for by Russia.

In September 1996, defence ministers from Russia, the United States, and Norway signed a cooperation agreement which, among other things, envisaged the rendering of assistance to Russia in its efforts to ensure radiation safety at sites where Northern Fleet's decommissioned nuclear submarines are dismantled and at spent nuclear fuel depositories. By late 1998 the US had allocated $2 million to pay for the dismantling of two nuclear submarines. In August 1999 the US earmarked an additional $15 million dollars for the scrapping program of strategic atomic submarines at Nerpa.

Responsibility for decomissioned nuclear-powered submarines was transferred from the Defence Ministry to the Ministry of the Atomic Energy in late 1998 under Government Resolution No.518. Consequently, all the operations for the dismantling of nuclear-powered submarines and ships was transferred totally to the industrial sector -- the defence enterprises Zvezdochka and Nerpa located in the North, and Zvezda in the Far East -- the three Russian enterprises that scrap old submarines.

As of October 1999 the Nuclear Ministry was searching for places for temporary storage of the spent fuel from nuclear-powered submarines. It was considering bases on the Kola peninsula, the Andreyeva inlet, Gremikha, the Nerpa ship-repairing plant near Murmansk, and Kamchatka.

In 1999 Gazprom and the administration in Murmansk region signed an agreement on further cooperation in business and research. The agreement covers gasification of cities, towns and villages in the region. It also included construction of a repair base for special-purpose ships at the Nerpa ship repair yard in Snezhnogorsk.

In October 1998 the Union of Russian Fisheries announced plans to build 30 new trawlers in 1999-2000 to fish in the northern fishery. The ships were to be built in Russia and China. Preliminary agreement had already been reached with the Nerpa shipyard in Murmansk. Germany's Schiftscommerz is also taking part in the project, having is raising $250 million- $300 million in loans to finance construction.

Snezhnogorsk is a Closed Administrational and Territorial District (ZATO - zakrytye administrativno-territorial'nye obrazovaniia). There is a modern enterprise on repair and technical support of the nuclear submarines of the Northern Fleet with nuclear power plants. At present the enterprise masters new kind of activity, which is the utilisation of old nuclear submarines. Snezhnogorsk is one of the most developed towns of the region.

There are 4 comprehensive schools, one musical school, one united library, 6 pre-school institutions, 4 institutions of the additional education, the Palace of the culture, hospital complex, the House of teacher, two branches of higher institutions and etc. in the town.

Since 1997 Snezhnogorsk has been one of the founders of the Interregional association of the subjects of the Russian Federation and towns, patronising three formations, nuclear submarine and separate regiment of the Northern Fleet, regiment of air defence, Marine brigade, ship and frontier post of the Northwest frontier district of the Federal frontier service of Russia. Snezhnogorsk is the member of the Association of closed towns and the Union of small towns.







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