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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Facilities and/or equip­ment dedicated to RRC-KI Nuclear and Radioactive Dangerous Objects decommissioning, SNF and RW management and territory remediation - Lot 1

  • Closed
Benefitting Zone
Eastern Europe / North Asia
€ 482,800.00
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2008
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States


Type of activity




Contracting authority

Kurchatov Institute

Method of Procurement

(FR2007) Negotiated Procedure - External Actions


17/10/2008 - 17/05/2011



Project / Budget year

TACIS 2005 Nuclear Safety Action Programme / 2005


The Russian Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute” (RRC KI) in Moscow is the leading Russian scientific organization in the field of nuclear science and technology. It was launched in 1943 for the Soviet nuclear weapon programme. It was also the leader of the State programme concerning nuclear power plants and installations for navy and space applications.

The territory of RRC KI is about 100 ha, including a 4-ha enclave hosting the VVR-2 reactor (“Gas factory”), and is located on the bank of the Moskva River. At the time of this contract RRC KI had 12 research reactors (6 of which were still in operation), 17 critical assemblies and several hot laboratories for material testing.

As a result of the research and experimental activities, considerable quantities of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and radioactive waste (RW) had been generated and were stored at RRC KI site. Storage facilities were full and storage conditions were often inadequate. In 2005, the total activity of Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) stored on the site was estimated to be about 3 MCi, and the total activity of radioactive waste (RW) – about 0.1 MCi.

When founded, RRC KI was on the outskirts of Moscow (about 12 km North-West of the city centre). However, as a result of the growth of the city, residential districts housing more than 100 000 people had developed around the Institute’s site within a radius of 1 km of the Institute’s perimeter. In addition, there were over 20 scientific and industrial organisations around the Institute having more than 20 000 employees. There was an urgent need to minimize potential risks of accidents and leakages of radioactive substances that could impact the nearby population.

Remediation of RW storage facilities had already started in 2002-2003 (partners of RRC KI were MosNPO RADON and the Ministry of Extraordinary Situations – EMERCOM) and a programme of international and national support had been established for the decommissioning of the unsafe facilities. The first spent nuclear fuel shipments to the “Mayak” reprocessing plant had taken place. At the time of this project, the Institute was decommissioning several of its nuclear research facilities. Of these, the MR reactor decommissioning was the most important.

The MR reactor – a 50-MW multipurpose material testing and research reactor equipped with nine experimental loop facilities representing prototypes of nuclear power reactors developed in the USSR – was shut down in 1993. It was one of the largest research reactors in Russia. For this reason, it was intended that the MR reactor would be used as a pilot plant for studying and testing the techniques and technologies, as well as for collection and dissemination of practical experience in complex research reactors’ decommissioning. The central hall of MR also contained the pit with reactor core equipment of the RFT reactor (shut down in 1962), which also had to be decommissioned.

Some preparations for decommissioning, including removal of spent fuel from the reactor and partial fulfilment of the comprehensive radiation and engineering survey had already been implemented following the final shutdown. The MR reactor decommissioning concept, the basic decommissioning programme, the comprehensive engineering and radiation survey programme and the decommissioning design specifications had been developed as part of these activities.

The preparatory works for the final comprehensive engineering and radiation survey of the MR reactor and its loop facilities had just been initiated. These were rather complicated works, due to the specific features of the reactor, as well as the level of the radioactive contamination. Results of preliminary radiation surveys carried out in 1993 and 1996 showed the necessity of numerous spectrometric measurements to be performed in conditions of high radiation background and various nuclide compositions of the reactor equipment and compartments’ contamination. Compact spectrometric systems with high resolution were needed to perform the measurements, taking into account the requirements of Rostechnadzor and MosNPO RADON.

Various testing and research programs performed on the reactor and its loop facilities had resulted in an excessive radioactive contamination of reactor equipment, systems and pipelines of cooling circuits and loop facilities, as well as high gamma-radiation fields in the reactor premises.

Dismantling activities in the reactor compartments would be performed under the following conditions:

  • a large amount of experimental equipment and devices, including large and heavy items, present in the reactor compartments;
  • narrow openings between contiguous process rooms; in some cases the width of openings does not exceed 70 cm.

Therefore the following factors had to be considered in the MR reactor decommissioning works:

  • high radiation background in the reactor and its loop facility compartments;
  • dismantling to be performed in the tight reactor compartments containing a great number of radioactively contaminated equipment items;
  • need of in-situ dismantling and fragmentation of large and heavy equipment before their removal and transportation;
  • need to remove dismantled (fragmented) equipment from the reactor building basement through transportation hatches in the room ceilings at ground level; and
  • need to open the RFT reactor pit (with its in-vessel parts buried inside) in the central hall of the MR reactor.

The present project was programmed under the TACIS 2005 nuclear safety programme for the purchase of tools and equipment for the internationally supported decommissioning programme of the RCC KI.


The overall objective of the project was the purchase of tools and equipment required for:

  • the dismantling of the MR and RFT reactors, their supporting equipment and related experimental facilities;
  • the decontamination of the premises;
  • the site remediation;
  • the processing of the resulting radioactive waste.

The requested equipment was divided into four lots:

  • Lot 1: Special lifting equipment:
    • One crane with telescopic boom and 60 ton lifting capacity.
  • Lot 2: Technological equipment and tools:
    • Heavy duty, remote controlled manipulation, cutting, scrubbing tools.
    • In-drum compactor.
    • Decontamination equipment.
  • Lot 3: Radiation protection equipment, process control and waste characterization equipment (equipment of priority 1):
    • Gamma spectroscopy systems.
    • Gamma scanning systems for radiation surveys.
    • Drum assay system.
    • Laser scanner for 3d mapping of compartments.
    • Alpha spectrometric sample measurement system.
    • Laboratory liquid scintillation system.
  • Lot 4: Radiation protection equipment, process control and waste characterization equipment (equipment of priority 2).
    • Gamma-spectroscopy semiconductor detector system with electric cooling.
    • Portable gamma-spectrometer with La-Br detector.
    • Workstations for data input and processing, database support and modelling of operations.
    • X ray system for non-destructive inspection of objects with restricted access.
    • UV radiation discharge detection device for daytime application (for remote surface alpha contamination detection).

The contractor’s scope of work comprised: delivery, installation, commissioning, personnel training and after-sales service (warranty).

The equipment was purchased through two separate contracts – contract 160687 for Lot 1 and contract 116779 for Lots 3 and 4. No suitable offer for Lot 2 was received following the call for tender.


Contract 160687, for Lot 1, was signed in December 2008 with an initial contract duration of 8 months up to provisional acceptance. The contract duration was later extended. The equipment was delivered and the final payment was made in October 2009.