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The future "nuclear burial ground" blew Primorye

Will the Far Eastern nuclear waste center being built become dangerous, EastRussia found out

31 of December last year, TASS, citing the official Internet portal of legal information, published a message that the Russian government approved the holding between the State Corporation Rosatom and the Russian-Japanese Cooperation Committee to assist in the elimination of nuclear weapons on cooperation in the construction of the Regional Center for the Conditioning and Long-Term Storage of Radioactive Waste in the Primorsky Territory ”. The news was widely distributed in local media and social networks, triggering an outburst of indignation among the residents of Primorye. EastRussia figured out what kind of nuclear surprise the Russian government prepared for the most southern region of the Far East - and whether it prepared at all.

The future "nuclear burial ground" blew Primorye

TWO COUNTRIES - ONE WASTE

In September, at the Eastern Economic Forum (WEF) in Vladivostok, 2017, Russia and Japan agreed to cooperate in the field of the disposal of hazardous radioactive waste. In March of last year, after consultations held by Rosatom and the Atomic Energy Agency of Japan, it became clear that we are talking about neutralizing minor actinides - long-lived isotopes of americium, curium, neptunium, the main sources of radioactivity of waste remaining after reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. The method of processing is transmutation - “burning through” the most dangerous radionuclides in fast-neutron nuclear reactors or using accelerators.

However, installations capable of transmutation are located in Obninsk and at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors in Dimitrovgrad.

In Primorye Territory, only one enterprise operates at Rosatom so far - the Far Eastern Center for Radioactive Waste Management (DalRAO). The center is engaged in the management of spent nuclear fuel, waste accumulated during the activities of military and civilian vessels, including the submarines of the Pacific Fleet, and the environmental rehabilitation of hazardous facilities. The company has two industrial sites - in the Razboinik bay and Sysoev bay. The first one stores spent nuclear waste and houses a point of isolation of accidental nuclear submarines. In the second, the coastal technical base of the Pacific Fleet is deployed. It is in 40 km from the port of Nakhodka and in 120 km from the capital of the region of Vladivostok.

DANGEROUS HERITAGE OF THE SEA

As you know, in the Far East there are many nuclear submarines (APL), the contents of the reactors which need to be disposed of. In the 2000-2018 years, “DalRAO”, according to its website, took out a train of spent nuclear fuel from Primorye, sent for recycling more 43 radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs, sources of electricity based on strontium-150 for unattended automated navigation aids - light beacons , radio beacons, luminous signs). The center provides storage in the Razboinik bay in Primorye of nuclear submarine reactor units and unit packages of nuclear technological service vessels and the large nuclear-powered reconnaissance ship Ural. In 90, they were joined by 2017 units from Kamchatka, in 12, DalRAO unloaded solid radioactive waste from the storage in Vilyuchinsk (the base of the NPS of the Pacific Fleet).

By 2020-2025, a Regional Center for the Conditioning and Long-Term Storage of Radioactive Waste should be created on the basis of DalRAO. The company should move "from the process of accumulation and storage of waste to their conditioning and recycling," explained the director of DalRAO Konstantin Sidenko at the end of 2018. According to him, at that time, the production of waste treatment of the first and second hazard classes (with a long half-life - up to hundreds of thousands of years) was being prepared for launch.

There is no data for 2018 for the year yet, but at the end of 2017, DalRAO, according to its environmental reports, operated with 188 kg of waste of the first hazard class and 860 kg - of the second class. Waste of the third-fifth classes of danger at the enterprise accumulated even more 6,5 thousand tons. By the end of the year 2017 6,43 tons were transferred for processing, almost 38 tons - for disposal, 55 tons - for disposal, 2,2 tons - for disposal. Total 1,14 toned. Based on these statistics, the vast majority of nuclear waste is recycled.

BUILDING ALREADY BEGINS

According to the state procurement portal zakupki.gov.ru, in October 2018, the contract for the construction of a regional center for air conditioning and long-term storage of radioactive waste was won by the Federal Center for Science and High Technologies AO Eleron, which announced the price of 589 million rubles. According to the schedule, which is part of the procurement documentation, the main facilities of the center, “the 100 building. Technological building for the processing and conditioning of radioactive waste ”(352,4 million rubles),“ 100 / 1 building. Storage of conditioned radioactive waste "and" 101 building. The VLLW storage facility must be built by the end of the fourth quarter of 2019.

All external networks (51,2 million rubles) should be laid out by the same date. At 2020, there will be works on landscaping, gardening and other works. Thus, the construction of a radioactive waste storage center in the Primorye Territory needs to be completed by November 2020, and this is an accomplished and contracted fact.

What then resent the inhabitants of Primorye?

The nuclear industry in Russia has longstanding historical ties with Japan, a country with a developed nuclear power industry, since the days of the USSR. According to Rosatom, it sells its goods and services to "nine out of 10 companies operating nuclear power plants in the country." In November last year, the state corporation opened a subsidiary office in Tokyo, Rosatom Japan, headed by Sergei Demin, formerly the general director of Rosatom East Asia.

This suggests that Russia and Japan are only going to increase the scale of cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. Cooperation within the framework of the construction of an air-conditioning center and long-term storage of radioactive waste in Primorye fits well with the logic of the relationship between the two countries. After all, no matter how acute the territorial issues of the “controversial” Kuril Islands may be, Russia was the first to come to the aid of Japan during the aftermath of the terrible disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011, and continues to help develop residual radiation detection tools at Fukushima until now. since then

THERE WILL BE A "GRAVEL"

In a petition on the site change.org, addressed to the governor of Primorye Oleg Kozhemyako, the situation is set at a different angle. In it, cooperation between Japan and Russia in the framework of the construction of the Regional Center for the Conditioning and Long-Term Storage of Radioactive Waste, to which the Russian government agreed, is presented as a decision to “build a center for the storage of nuclear waste in Primorye by agreement between the Russian and Japanese sides”.

“The effect of radioactive radiation adversely affects the health of a person and his offspring throughout life. Now we need to fight for ourselves and for our children. Primorye is not Japan's nuclear dump! This concerns each of us! ”- states in petition published by Anastasia Grinenko. A call to sign the petition in order to “stop the construction of a nuclear repository in the Primorsky Territory”, at the moment, more than 15,5 thousand people have already responded.

At the same time, it is already known that after processing at the Regional Center for Conditioning and Long-Term Storage of Radioactive Waste, waste must be packed in containers and sent outside the Primorye Territory to the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “National Operator for RW Management”. According to the IAEA regulations and the Russian legislation, which was formed in 2011, it is necessary to isolate waste of the first and second classes of danger at deep burial sites. In Russia, there is no such.

Third-fourth grade waste can be isolated at the near-surface final isolation point in Novouralsk (Sverdlovsk Region). The fifth class - liquid radioactive waste, the sixth - dumps of the mining industry with a high radiation background. There are three storage points for waste of the fifth class in Russia - near the cities of Dimitrovgrad, Seversk and Zheleznogorsk. Several more projects, including for storing waste of the first and second classes, are at the development stage. 

But not one such platform will appear in the Far East in the coming years.

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