Russia1 October 1998
Russia’s nuclear industry remains one of the biggest nuclear complexes in the world, even after the 1986 Chernobyl accident drastically curtailed its ambitious nuclear power programme.
Before the collapse of the USSR, there was no clear distinction between the military and civil sides of the industry, and strict secrecy was in force throughout the Cold War years. The facilities set up at this time, most of which are now in Russia, still play a key role in the country’s nuclear development.
Chernobyl was not the only blow to the nuclear industry in the mid-1980s. The end of the Cold War led to a drastic reduction in military work for most of the specialised research institutes, design bureaux, special factories and, in particular, for the 10 Closed Towns which housed special nuclear facilities (see table). In addition, the introduction of a market economy eroded the privileged status of nuclear scientists and other specialists who had enjoyed job security, high pay and good living conditions. As the economy sank into chaos they faced unemployment, falling real wages and months without any pay at all. This has provoked strikes in several of the closed towns and power plants and a steady exodus of specialists to better jobs in the West or in local commerce.
The Soviet collapse in 1991 also had an impact on the nuclear establishment which had been developed as an integrated whole. While 70% of the industry’s facilities were in Russia, some key sites were in other republics including most of the uranium resources and some of the processing facilities. Many of the newly independent states with Soviet nuclear facilities initially turned to the West for help but the past few years have seen a rapprochement with Russia which is now seeking to sell its services on a commercial basis, far more cheaply than the West. The past decade has also seen increasing Western interest in Russia’s nuclear industry.
ADMINISTRATION & ORGANISATION
From 1945 until 1953, when the main focus of the nuclear programme was military, the First Main Directorate of the Council of Ministers had direct administrative responsibility of the programme, with overall political control at Politburo level. This ceased after the death of Stalin when the Ministry of Medium Machine Building (MMMB or Minsredmash – Obshchesouyznoye Ministerstvo Srednego Moshinostroyeniya) took over. The MMMB was responsible for design and construction of nuclear power plants while their operation came under the Ministry of the Power Industry and Electrification and the State Committee for Atomic Energy. Radiation monitoring was the responsibility of the State Committee for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Control and after 1983 the State Committee for Control of the Nuclear Industry was appointed to oversee nuclear safety.
After Chernobyl a new Ministry of Atomic Energy took over responsibilities formerly exercised by the Ministry of Power, and a new State Committee for Supervision of Nuclear Safety was formed as well as a special State Committee for Social Protection of Citizens and Rehabilitation of Regions Affected by Chernobyl and Other Radiation Disasters. In 1989 the new ministry was effectively merged with the MMMB to form the Ministry of the Nuclear Power Industry (MAPI) of the Soviet Union. But with the Soviet collapse, MAPI was transformed into the Ministry of Atomic Power of the Russian Federation (MINATOM). MINATOM has a huge research and development capability with some 50 main administrative departments. MINATOM was headed by Viktor Mikhailov until early 1998 when Yevgeny Adamov took over. Mikhailov remains as first deputy minister.
In 1992 Rosenergoatom was formed from MINATOM’s 27th directorate to supervise the building and operation of nuclear power plants. Rosenergoatom is a state-run association with full departmental status within MINATOM. Power transmission is the responsibility of the Russian Integrated Power System Joint Stock Company (YES Rossii), which owns all Russian electricity transmission lines and has a monopoly on sales of electric power inside Russia and for export. Privatisation of the company was completed in May 1995. It is still 51% state owned and incorporates almost half the equity of each of the 69 regional grid operating companies. However, drastic restructuring is planned for later in 1998 in face of mounting financial problems.
Regulation of Russia’s nuclear industry rests with the State Committee under the President for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (Gosatomnadzor or GAN) established in 1992 as legal successor to the Soviet Union State Committee for Supervision of Nuclear Safety. GAN’s responsibilities included supervising safety at civilian and military nuclear installations, and inspecting the facilities under its control for which it issues licences and regulations. It is also responsible for the safe handling and transport of nuclear materials and for issuing licences and regulations for work with these materials as well as for nuclear materials accounting.
GAN has been unable to make any proper nuclear materials inventory because of lack of finance and military opposition. Matters came to a head in October 1994 when responsibility for military facilities and materials was taken away from the committee and left in the hands of the ministries concerned (mainly Defence). As a result there is no independent inspection or control of nuclear facilities or materials at military sites in Russia. However, this is in the process of changing again and MINATOM is now taking over direct responsibility for all nuclear facilities and GAN’s authority is expected to be restored.
Over the past few years Russia has begun to put in place a legal framework to regulate its nuclear industry. A wide-ranging law on the use of nuclear energy was adopted in November 1995. Other relevant laws cover environmental protection, environmental expert checks, and radiation safety. In May 1996 President Boris Yeltsin announced that Russia intended to sign the Vienna convention dealing with nuclear-damage liability, but so far has failed to ratify it. A nuclear indemnity statement covering some liability issues was signed by the Russian Federation in February 1995.
NUCLEAR POWER GENERATION
In 1954 the world’s first nuclear powered electricity generator began operation in the city of Obninsk at the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (FEI) The AM-1 (Atom Mirny – peaceful atom) reactor is still working but due for closure. In 1964 the first two Soviet nuclear power plants were commissioned. A 100 MW boiling water graphite channel reactor began operating in Beloyarsk (Urals) and in Novovoronezh (Volga region) a 210 MW VVER (vodo-vodyanoi energetichesky reaktor – water cooled power reactor) was built, both now closed and awaiting decommissioning. In 1973, the first large RBMK (1000 MW) started up at Sosnovy Bor near Leningrad and the first of four small (12 MW) boiling water channel-type units were commissioned in the eastern Arctic town of Bilibino for the production of both power and heat. In the Arctic northwest a slightly bigger 440 MW VVER began operating and this became a standard design.
The early 1980s saw rapid development of the Soviet nuclear power programme with the introduction of 1000 MWe VVERs as well as more RBMKs and a BN-600 fast breeder at Beloyarsk. In 1980 plans were announced for the construction of several bigger fast breeders – BN-800s – in the South Urals at the Mayak Chemical Combine, Russia’s main reprocessing facility, and work began on the foundations. By the mid-1980s the Soviet Union had 16 nuclear power stations with 40 operating reactors producing over 12% of the country’s electricity. Another 22 were under construction and 65 more planned. Construction stopped after Chernobyl and most partly-built plants were mothballed. Expansion plans were cancelled but established nuclear plants continued to operate.
Russia’s nine nuclear power stations produced 99.7 TWh in 1997, accounting for 13.6% of electricity generated. This was less than the 108.8 TWh generated in 1996, but represented an increase in nuclear’s share from 13.1%. In Central Russia the nuclear share in 1997 was 25%, in northwestern Russia 50%, in the Kola Peninsula 70% and in the black soil zone 80%. Several years of power shortages have had their effect on public attitudes towards nuclear energy and the nuclear power sector is now moving slowly to expansion again. Detailed plans up to 2010 announced by Rosenergoatom in August 1998 aim to increase electricity output to 150-170 TWh. The programme includes commissioning new generating facilities by 2010, with large-scale development to begin subsequently.
The first stage up to 2000 includes completing half-built reactors at Kalinin (unit 3), Kursk (unit 5), and Rostov (unit 1). Stage two, up to 2005, will see the commissioning of unit 2 at Rostov, unit 1 at a new plant in Sosnovyy Bor, unit 6 at Novovoronezh, and two heat-only units at Voronezh. In addition, Russia will commission its first floating nuclear plant to be based at Pevek in Chukotka.
By 2010, the first BN-800 fast breeder unit will be commissioned in the South Urals as well as unit 7 at Novovoronezh, units 5 and 6 at Kola and unit 5 at Leningrad. There may also be a further unit at Kursk and a second floating nuclear plant for the far east. Rosenergoatom also plans to extend by 5-10 years the service life of some first-generation units reaching the end of their working lives starting in 2003. However, nine units will be decommissioned by 2010, including the four at Bilibino, the oldest unit at Leningrad and the two oldest units at Kola and Novovoronezh.
Russia’s nuclear plants include several different reactor types. Of the 29 power units in operation, 11 are RBMKs (graphite-moderated channel-type reactors) similar to those at Chernobyl. Four are the small EPG boiling water reactors, one is a BN-600 fast breeder and the rest are pressurised water reactors of various types: four old-generation VVER-440/230s, two later generation VVER-440s, and seven VVER-1000s. Those which are causing most concern with respect to safety are the RBMKs and older generation VVER-440/230s.
Since 1986 Soviet-designed reactors have been the subject of intense international study and a major upgrading programme. Over the past nine years Russian engineers have upgraded many of RBMKs, eliminating the most glaring of the design faults and in particular problems relating to the core physics. But refinement of this work is being hampered by financial restraints and there is still a need for improved safety systems. Western expertise and instrumentation and control systems are being solicited for these. In April 1996 the RBMK safety review which had been working since 1992 concluded that there was, in fact, no need to close down the newer reactors provided they are carefully monitored, and older models could also continue to operate provided they were fitted with improved emergency core cooling and confinement systems.
The VVER-440/230 reactors have pressure vessels made of steel which tend to become brittle after some time and the reactors have no proper containment systems (in the conventional Western sense). Their emergency cooling systems are only very rudimentary and instrumentation, control and fire protection systems are inadequate. Most of these units are due for decommissioning. There is general agreement that other VVER designs – later 440/213s and the VVER-1000s – conform more closely to Western safety standards, although improvements are still needed.
In terms of efficiency, Russia’s single BN-600 fast reactor has the best record, with a stated average capacity factor of over 74%. Next come the RBMKs at 70% followed by the VVER-440s at 61% and the VVER-1000s at 52%.
Several new reactor designs already on the drawing board incorporate passive and enhanced safety systems. Those accepted for development include a modified VVER-440 known as the VVER-640 or V-407, a modified VVER-1000, a modified RBMK with much improved safety systems and reactor confinement designated MKER-800, an 800 MWe fast reactor known as the BN-800, and a heat-only nuclear plant designated AST-500. There are also well developed designs for small stand alone nuclear plants based on advanced submarine reactors for use in remote areas and for floating plants.
Safety improvements appear to be having some effect. The number of accidents in the industry declined from 95 in 1994 to 62 in 1995. These included two rated at Level 1 on the International Nuclear Events Scale (INES) compared with one in 1994, and one at Level 2, compared with seven in 1994. There were no serious incidents at Russian nuclear plants in 1996 or 1997.
Russia’s nuclear power plants continue to be plagued with economic problems. YES Rossii is facing serious financial difficulties because its customers are not paying for power supplied. Consequently the company has failed to pay the nuclear power plant for power purchased. This has regularly caused serious problems with nuclear plant operators periodically threatening to take strike action. In 1996 the nuclear plants were owed a total of R 6200 billion including R 4900 billion for power supplied to YES Rossii, which at present pays in cash for only 1.5% of the electricity it buys from the power plants. The main burden of this falls on nuclear utility Rosenergoatom, which is now owed over $2.5 billion by its customers and in turn owes the state budget $53 million. A proposed restructuring of Rosenergoatom may see it assuming extra responsibilities including the centralised purchase of nuclear fuel and and sale of electricity. These responsibilities currently rest with individual power plants.
As a result of the chronic non-payment problems, wage arrears to nuclear plant operators continued to mount in 1996 and 1997 provoking protest marches and strike action. However, so far MINATOM has managed to find sufficient funds to avert a crisis, although payment of power plant operators is not its direct responsibility. Mikhailov did everything possible to cushion the nuclear industry from financial constraints. Faced with drastically reduced federal budget allocations, he raised money by pushing foreign contracts, including the sale of reactors and fuel cycle services such as reprocessing and enrichment of uranium. Adamov is continuing this policy.
FUEL CYCLE FACILITIES
The collapse of the Soviet Union left Russia with most of the major fuel cycle facilities and large stockpiles of nuclear materials produced for the nuclear weapons programme. However, Russia has only one operating uranium mine and most of the known uranium resources and mines are in the central Asian republics and Ukraine.
A dramatic fall in the demand for uranium followed the end of the Cold War and the post-Chernobyl slow down in civil nuclear power programmes. This eased pressure on Russian uranium resources which would otherwise have followed the break up of the Soviet Union. In 1993 Russia stated that it had uranium stocks sufficient for its needs up to 2010. The total Russian stockpile was then put at more than 100,000 tonnes but this was an over-estimation and supplies ran low in 1996. Russia will face shortages as its nuclear power programme gets into gear again unless new reserves are identified. Prospecting is under way in Siberia, Karelia and the Urals for new commercial deposits, but funding for exploration is short.
Uranium production now stands at around 2500 tonnes a year in addition to around 1000 tonnes produced from enrichment tailings. However, it is estimated that Russia will need to produce 4500 tonnes by 2005. The then MINATOM head Viktor Mikhailov announced in September 1996 that Russia planned to increase production to 10 000 tonnes in the coming years by opening new mines in the southern Urals area and western Siberia, and changing to in-situ leaching technology.
Russia’s enrichment technology is acknowledged to be the best in the world. It has four sites with facilities for the conversion of uranium into UF6 and for its enrichment – near Angarsk, Krasnoyarsk and Tomsk in Siberia and near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. All except Krasnoyarsk have conversion facilities, although those at Tomsk are now closed. The estimated total conversion capacity stood at 26 000 tonnes per year in 1995. The enrichment facilities are all gas centrifuge (fifth generation) – gas diffusion technology was phased out in the 1960s but is still used as a first stage to eliminate chemical impurities. The total enrichment capacity is 20 million separative work units (SWU) but since 1994 enrichment facilities have been working at less than 60% of their capacity.
Only the Urals plant is licensed to enrich uranium up to 30%. The others are restricted to 5%. Russia is currently reducing the level of enrichment needed for research reactor fuel from 50%-90% to less than 20% in co-operation with the US DOE’s Reduced Enrichment in Research and Test Reactor (RERTR) programme.
Russia has two facilities where enriched uranium is fabricated into fuel elements – at Elektrostal near Moscow and Novosibirsk in Siberia. In addition, fuel assembly components are manufactured at a plant at Chepetsk near Glazov in Udmurtia. In the case of research reactors and reactors for nuclear submarines this will include highly enriched uranium (up to 80% enriched). Most Soviet-designed fuel is based on uranium dioxide powder which was previously produced and made into special pellets at Ust Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan using enriched UF6 shipped in from Russia. However, this is now done increasingly at the Mashinostroitelnyi zavod Manufacturing Association in Elektrostal near Moscow as part of a policy to reduce Russian dependence on Kazakhstan.
Overall responsibility for fuel fabrication rests with the TVEL concern, which has the status of a department within MINATOM and is essentially a consortium of the fabrication plants and several other fuel organisations. In 1992, TVEL, along with MINATOM and various research institutes, produced a programme for fuel technology development in response to the growing interest of western companies in supplying fuel for Soviet-design reactors. The programme aims at improvements in the stability and quality of uranium oxide powder, improved pellet fabrication technologies, improved materials for casings and cladding, better quality control, and MOX fuel development.
Russia only has semi-industrial scale plants for MOX production at present – the Paket plant at the Mayak Chemical Combine in Ozersk and a similar size facility, using a different technology at the Research Institute of Nuclear Reactors (NIIAR) at Dimitrovgrad in Ulyanovsk. These have been used to make experimental fuel assemblies for testing in the BOR-60 at Dimitrovgrad, the BN-600 at Beloyarsk and several critical assemblies operating at the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering in Obninsk (FEI).
Russia also has a half-built full-scale facility for MOX production at the Mayak Chemical Combine (Complex 300) in Ozersk which would have had an annual throughput of several tonnes of plutonium. Plans for a pilot plant at Complex 300 and for a full-scale plant at Krasnoyarsk-26 to make MOX fuel for VVER-1000s never materialised.
Russia’s reprocessing and waste management facilities are very basic and in need of modernisation. Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is undertaken at three of the closed towns in Russia – The Mayak Chemical Combine at Ozersk (Chelyabinsk-65), the Siberian Chemical Combine at Tomsk-7 (Seversk) and the Mountain Chemical Combine at Krasnoyarsk-26 (Zheleznogorsk). Originally the purpose was to extract plutonium for the weapons programme from fuel burnt in the on-site plutonium production reactors and to deal with spent fuel from research reactors and naval propulsion units.
But as the civilian nuclear programme developed the reprocessing plants also began to recover uranium for re-use in power reactors. By 1976 there were 17 operating reactors of various design and facilities were needed to reprocess and manage their spent fuel. The closed city of Chelyabinsk-40 was chosen and the chemical separation plant there (RT-1) was adapted so that it could deal with fuel from breeder and VVER-440 reactors. After that, spent fuel from the five military plutonium production reactors on the site had to be transported to Tomsk-7 for reprocessing.
That same year construction began of a large spent fuel store and a new reprocessing plant in Krasnoyarsk-26 (RT-2) for fuel from the larger VVER-1000s. The spent fuel store was opened in 1985. Plans were also drawn up to use plutonium as reactor fuel for fast reactors. However the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Chernobyl accident put a brake on these developments and now many half-built facilities stand idle while other projects never left the drawing board.
Most radioactive wastes are either disposed of underground or stored at the facility where they arise. In the past wastes were often dumped directly in rivers and lakes with little concern for the environment, leaving large areas now in need of clean up. Russia has plans to build a permanent deep waste repository but these are being hampered by lack of money. Major sites where wastes have accumulated include uranium mines the nuclear closed towns and especially those with reprocessing facilities, nuclear power plants, nuclear research institutes and naval shipyards. Russia’s wastes include growing stocks of spent fuel which cannot at present be reprocessed.
Russia’s nuclear industry depends on a huge scientific and technological base involving hundreds of research institutes, design bureaux and manufacturing enterprises. Some of these are located within the closed cities but others are in the major industrial centres where they offer a wide range of support services. As well as fundamental and applied research, these services include the production of radioisotopes, instruments and equipment.
While the Soviet Union did not separate its military and civilian nuclear programmes administratively, there were certain institutions and centres which clearly concentrated on weapons research, design and production, in particular the closed towns of Sarov (Arzamas-16), Snezhinsk (Chelyabinsk-70), Zarechny (Penza-19) and Trekhgorny (Zlatoust-36), all belonging to MINATOM. Similarly research, design and construction relating to nuclear submarines centred mainly in the St Petersburg area and Nizhny Novgorod and in the shipyards of the Arctic and far east. These were controlled variously by MINATOM and the Defence Ministry.
Basic research supporting both these areas was carried out at most of the major research centres located mainly in Moscow, St Petersburg, Obninsk, Dimitrovgrad and Novosibirsk, which also conducted research and development for non-military nuclear applications. Not all of these institutions belong to MINATOM. Some belong to the Academy of Sciences and others are independent. Similarly many design bureaux and industrial enterprises undertake work for both sectors and with the end of the Cold War distinctions have blurred further with many formerly military centres converting to civilian projects as defence contracts and funding dry up. However, the share of military production in MINATOM’s work had fallen to 10% by 1995 with military projects accounting for just 0.4% of all federal expenditure. The institutes are now offering their expertise and facilities on a commercial basis. Russia has well over 50 major scientific institutions involved with nuclear research, many of them operating one or more research reactors. MINATOM’s R&D establishment now employs approximately 150 000 people.
The end of the Cold War, the break up of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the centralised economy have all helped to promote nuclear co-operation and trade between Russia and the West. In particular, Western concerns in the aftermath of Chernobyl have been the spur for technological support to improve safety and begin to clean up the environment. Multilateral assistance has been forthcoming from the EU through various programmes such as TACIS and Phare and from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). There has also been bilateral assistance from many western countries, in particular from nuclear safety bodies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the US and SKI in Sweden.
At the same time Russia is offering its technology and expertise for sale. The Soviet Union began selling its uranium enrichment services as early as 1973 and Russia has continued to do so. Tomsk-7 began to sell its services in 1991 and arranged long term contracts with France. The export of a range of radioactive isotopes worldwide is also well established and developing.
Up to 1990 the Soviet Union did not export uranium which was classed as a strategic raw material but when the restriction was lifted in 1990 cheap uranium flooded the world market and in May 1992 the US and Europe adopted protectionist policies. Russia’s stocks of highly enriched uranium, partly from dismantled weapons, are put at around 550 tonnes. In 1992 the US agreed to buy 500 tonnes of HEU from Russia for $12 billion over 20 years. This deal is now enmeshed in complexities following the privatisation of the US Enrichment Corporation and other complications.
However, Russia has also begun to export nuclear reactors, concluding deals for their construction in Iran, China and India. Fuel cycle services are also on offer with plans to accept spent fuel for reprocessing from any states with Soviet/Russian built reactors. According to Mikhailov, who still has an important post within MINATOM, Russia intends to boost nuclear exports to $3.5 billion by the year 2000. Russia is also looking to its nearer neighbours.
Russia’s nuclear industry depends for its immediate survival on continuing to export. It is only the foreign currency from sales abroad that have enabled it to avoid collapse so far. And even then the sector is hard pressed with lack of funding for wages and research. Mikhailov says the nuclear industry has had an unprecedentedly difficult time over the past five years. But even so, the industry kept working steadily, continually increasing production. And despite the virtually non-existent budgetary capital investment, MINATOM managed to increase investment by 23%. About $100 million worth of foreign investments were channelled into various construction projects. With its sales to Iran and India, Russia has shown that it is prepared to go where the West fears to tread. So far, this policy seems to have paid off and will undoubtedly continue for the foreseeable future.
|Major departments within MINATOM|
|Uranium Mining and Ore Concentration (Atomredmetalzoloto concern) Nuclear Metallurgy and Nuclear Fuel Production (Tvel concern) Fundamental Research in Nuclear Physics and Thermonuclear Fusion (Fundamental problems) Research and Development on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Scientific and Production Nuclear Chemical Administration) Isotopes, Fission, Breeders and Industrial Technology (Science and Technology) Safety Control and Supervision of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Committee for Ecology, Nuclear and Radiation Safety, Emergency Situations and Radioactive Waste Management) Electronics, Automatic Hardware, Computer Technology and Instrument Making (Karat concern) Future Development of Nuclear Power Plants (Design and Investment) Development and Reconstruction of Nuclear Power Plants (Atomic Power Development) Operation of Nuclear Power Plants (Rosenergoatom – see below) Control Service (Administration Service) Nuclear Reactors and Experimental Development (Development of Nuclear Reactors and Special Nuclear Power Plants) The Atomic Energy Technology Industry (Co-ordination Centre for Atomic Power Machine Building) Social Organisation of Industry and Training (Committee for Social and Personnel Policy) Development of Enterprises in the Nuclear Industry (Sredmashinvestconcern) Economic Organisation of Industry (Economics and Forward planning) Foreign Relations (International Relations Committee) Physical Protection of Nuclear Enterprises and Materials (Protection of Information, Nuclear Materials and Installations) Research, Development and Testing of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Warhead Design and Testing) Nuclear Weapons Production Commercial Bank for Funding Military Conversion (Konversbank) Export of Nuclear Materials (Techsnabexport) Construction (Atomstroi concern) Import and Export of Nuclear Power Equipment (Zarubezhatomenergostroi) Public Relations and Information Data Management and Standardisation (Tsniiatominform)|
|Major nuclear organisations|
|Main institutes • Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in Moscow developed Europe’s first atomic reactor, U-1 later known as F-1 (Fizik-1), which is still operating. In February 1992, by Presidential decree, it became the “Russian Research Centre, the Kurchatov Institute”. It comprises 11 institutes including a large number of research reactors and critical assemblies. The centre is working on a large number of international and national projects including a joint venture with OKBM Design Bureau and General Atomics of the US to develop a Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor which will use plutonium as fuel. • Research and Design Institute of Energy Technologies (NIKIET) in Moscow, is a major designer of Soviet commercial reactors (RBMK and BN models) and has helped to design a new channel-type reactor, the MKER-800. Along with the Kurchatov Institute, it is designing and developing a small heat and power reactor for use in remote areas known as Uniterm. It is also designing Ruta heat only reactors with capacities of 20 MW and 55 MW. These are envisaged for water desalination and heat supplies for industry. Another high-priority project is the design and development of lead-cooled fast breeder reactors. • All Russia Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES) in Moscow deals with the operation of nuclear power stations, in particular the economic aspects and safety. • Physics Energy Institute (FEI) in Obninsk is the main institution doing design work on power reactors. It is the site of the world’s first power generating reactor, the AM (Atom Mirny or Peaceful Atom), a 5 MWe (EGP-6 channel-type), put into service in 1954 and only recently closed down. • Research Institute of Nuclear Reactors (RIAR) in Dimitrovgrad deals with complex scientific and technological problems. It has seven research reactors and three major research divisions dealing with reactor metals, power reactors, and chemistry and technology. • All Russia Research and Design Institute for Integrated Power Engineering Technology (VNIPIET) in St Petersburg prepares designs and project documentation for plant construction and renovation. This includes design of the Chernobyl Sarcophagus and development of the MKER-800, an advanced channel-type reactor, intended as a replacement for the RBMK. • Technological Research and Development Institute (NITI) in Sosnovy Bor, near the Leningrad nuclear power station used to test nuclear submarine reactors but is now the site of a new nuclear power plant based on a new-design VVER-640 reactor. Main design and research organisations • Atomenergoproekt designs reactors of all types with branches in Moscow, St Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. • Gidropress Experimental and Design Bureau (EDO Gidropress) in Podolsk designs nuclear reactors working with Atomenergoproekt and the Kurchatov Institute. This group has designed the new VVER-640 and upgraded VVER-1000. • Experimental Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering (OKBM) in Nizhny Novgorod focuses on the design of nuclear reactors and related systems, controls, and equipment. Military conversion is now well under way with work on development of small reactors (between 10 and 180 MW) for remote communities based on the KLT-40 marine PWR, heat-generating units such as the AST-500 as well as combined heat and power plants. Industrial enterprises • Sverdlovsk Scientific Research Institute of Chemical Machine Building (SverdNIIKhimmash) in Yekaterinburg produced all the equipment and process systems for reprocessing and waste management at Ozersk, Zhelznogorsk and Seversk. • Atommash in Volgodonsk in the Rostov region, was Russia’s major factory for VVER reactors, able to turn out eight reactors a year. It is now in receivership. • Izhorsky Zavod (Plant) is one of the leading metallurgical and machine-building enterprises in Russia with 20 separate plants and departments and five design bureaus. Izhora was one of three major builders of nuclear reactors in the former Soviet Union. • Kirovsky Zavod Manufacturing Association in St Petersburg, which produces heavy vehicles and turbines, built the USSR’s first gas diffusion uranium enrichment plants.|