Facility for extracting nuclear fuel from floating base “Lepse” opened in Snezhnogorsk
On 26 September 2018, ZATO Aleksandrovsk held a ceremony of launching the facility in Snezhnogorsk for extracting nuclear fuel from the fuel storage system of floating base “Lepse”, says press center of Murmansk Region Government.
The event was attended by the delegation taking part in the 11th Regional Public Forum-Dialogue “Cooperation for Sustainable Development of the Arctic” (Murmansk).
The Lepse came into service well before the atomic age. Built in 1934 as a Ukrainian dry goods freighter, the vessel was press-ganged into nuclear service in 1961. In 1988, it was retired and moored at Atomflot, Russia’s nuclear icebreaker port, where it sat for more than 20 years.
The project on decommissioning of FMB “Lepse” is being implemented under the contract between the Federal Centre for Nuclear & Radiation Safety (FCNRS) and FSUE Atomflot of Rosatom. All operations fully comply with the Russian legislation and international standards. Radiation situation was normal throughout all the operations.
International cooperation on “Lepse” commenced in 1994. In 1996, European Commission included the project into the TACIS programme with the objective of delivering environmental improvements and reduction of risks associated with the nuclear legacy in North-West Russia. The project is financed by the federal budget and by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development under the grant agreement signed between EBRD and FCNRS.
The Murmansk Region has a special strategic status for Russia. Geographical location defined the Kola Peninsula as a priority element in ensuring the geopolitical interests of Russia in the north of Europe and the Arctic. Its non-freezing deep-water the Kola Bay became the main base of the Northern Fleet, and Murmansk sea port became the center of industrial fishing in the Barents Sea and the North Atlantic, and the starting point of the Arctic.
The Murmansk Region located at the junction of transnational routes and having reliable sea, railway, road and air links with industrial Russian regions can surely be called a northern gateway of Russia.