Pr. Mashinostroiteley 12, 164509 Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, Russia Tel.: +7(818-42) 7 93 60 Fax : +7(818-42) 7 28 50
The state engineering enterprise Zvezdochka [Zvyozdochka] is a large industrial company located in Northwest Russia. The company employs 8000 qualified workers, has modern slips, floating docks, ship transporting cars, quays, workshops with up-dated equipment. The Zvezdochka enterprise, located across the bay from the SevMash Shipyard in Severodvinsk, repairs submarines. During the Cold War, Russian workers at Zvezdochka maintained ballistic missile submarines. Today, they spend their days using American-supplied equipment and technology to dismantle Soviet-era vessels. The metal subs are cut into 20-ton sections that are then chopped, formed and pressed into cubic-meter blocks. The European-standard-sized chunks can be smelted all over the continent. The United States provided all of Zvezdochka's scrapyard machinery and infrastructure. US-funded construction is under way for processing facilities that will remove the subs' nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes and convert them into forms suitable for long-term storage or reuse.
By 1996, so much waste had accumulated at Zvezdochka that there was a danger of a serious environmental disaster. On 10 September 1999 a complex for storage of liquid radioactive wastes opened at Zvezdochka after 14 months of construction. The complex was built by Russian workers with Norwegian management and financing, within the framework of Norwegian and Russian governments' agreement on utilisation of Russian nuclear submarines with the aim to improve nuclear and radiotion safety in the region.
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.
Current US Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) projects address solid radioactive wastes as part of the dismantlement and disposal of targeted Russian ballistic missile submarines and their reactor components. CTR has provisions to process solid radioactive wastes only at Zvezdochka near Severodvinsk and Zvezda near Vladivostok in the Far East. The Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation Program (AMEC) solid radioactive wastes processing system will be established at facilities on the northeastern portion of the Kola Peninsula near Murmansk, which are more than 500 miles from Severodvinsk.
In 1998 Zvyozochka built for Gazprom a semi-submersible jack-up rig for prospecting offshore fields in the Barents and Pechora seas. The project to build the rig originated in 1994. Another was built at Sevmash.
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