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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

R4.03/04 - Preparation project for the facility for Remediation of Murmansk Radon, Site Co-ordination Unit (ref AP

Benefitting Zone
Eastern Europe / North Asia
€ 1,003,735.50
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2006
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States


Type of activity

Waste Management



Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

(FR2007) Restricted Call for Tender - External Actions


01/12/2006 - 01/05/2009



Project / Budget year

TACIS 2004 - Nuclear Safety Action Programme / 2004


The project goal was to enhance the level of radiation safety in the Murmansk region, through the remediation, upgrading and return to use of the Murmansk RADON radioactive waste storage facilities, including:
retrieval of the solid and liquid radioactive waste currently stored at the Murmansk RADON facilities, and conditioning and packaging it according to current standards
establishing radioactive waste reception, conditioning, packaging and storage facilities providing appropriate standards of radiation safety and physical security to allow Murmansk RADON to operate again, and thus to reduce the safety and security hazards associated to on-site storage of radioactive waste.
transferring sufficient and adequate western know-how and technology to the end-user and local experts in Russia.
The purpose of the project was to establish and manage a Site Coordination Unit, the Murmansk RADON remediation project coordination unit (MRRPCU) to assist the European Commission (EC) in the management of the project by:
specifying the turnkey works and equipment required to construct and operate the new waste retrieval, reception, conditioning, packaging and interim storage facilities
supporting the tender procedure for the Works Contract
acting as resident engineer, representing the end-user and the EC during the implementation of the turnkey Works Contract
ensuring the transfer of relevant know-how and technology, especially in the field of project management.


To achieve the project results, the Consultant implemented the following tasks:
- Preparation of the kick-off meeting and the Inception Report. (Task 1)
Project preparation activities, including mobilisation, establishment of working relationships, collection of information, settlement of offices, work planning, etc. During the inception stage, the review of the documentation revealed shortcomings and problems in the original Work Design, absence of safety reports, and absence of an appropriate license. Considerable discrepancies between the actual situation regarding the Work Design and the information of the ToR, as well as inaccuracies in some other data were identified. After technical discussions and additional works, the task was completed and the Inception Report was approved.
- Review of available documentation and data. (Task 2)
Detailed review of the available documentation and data showed that the Project Working Design could be improved to meet regulatory approvals, including those due to recent regulatory requirements. The review showed that data on the stored radioactive waste was incomplete. This task was delayed due to difficulties encountered in obtaining information on the storage conditions of solid and liquid radioactive waste on site, delays in the approval of proposed experts, problems regarding translation of the work design documentation into Russian, shortcomings in some radiological data, and changes in applicable regulations. During the time elapsed since the working design was prepared until its implementation, improved technological solutions for the solid and liquid radioactive waste treatment had been developed. Additionally, the review confirmed that a Safety Analysis Report (SAR), a description of radioactive waste control and identification system and a description of certification system for packages with radioactive waste were needed to be drafted in order to obtain a license to proceed with the works. The EC requested MRRPCU to review and update the original Working Design documentation, and to carry out some waste characterization studies. The review of the Working Design resulted in the proposal of different technical alternatives to the solutions described in the original Working Design documentation.
- Rectification of Working Design Documentation Deficiencies.
This additional task comprised the preparation and signing of a contract with a specialized local company to undertake the Visual and Radiation Inspection and Characterization of the Radioactive Wastes Stored at the Murmansk RADON site, supervision of such works, preparation and signing of a contract with the original project designer to update and review the initial Working Design documentation, preparation and submission to the project designer of the Technical Requirement for the Establishment of the Radioactive Waste “Passportization”, Accounting and Control System at Murmansk RADON, and overall coordination of the revision of the Working The system was based on recording the radioactive waste data in a “passport” for each container, that is required for tracking movements inside Russia.
The scope of the radioactive waste characterization activities comprised collection and analysis of existing data, preparation and revision of the working plan, preparation of materials and equipment, visual inspections (photograpy and 3D models), radiation measurements and estimations, data processing and reporting. The characterization identified some singularities that were addressed in the course of the project.
The preparation of the Technical Requirements for the Establishment of a Radioactive Waste “Passportization”, Accounting and Control System comprised additional works in connection with the initial Working Design document “Renovation and Technical Upgrading of Radioactive Waste Facility at FSUP Murmansk Specialized Combine of Radiation Safety Radon”, to comply with current regulatory requirements to obtain a license for construction and operation. During the period of 5 years time elapsed, both the technologies and the regulatory requirements had evolved significantly, and new control technologies had become necessary (like radioactive waste characterization systems and registration and control). As a consequence, Technical Requirements for the establishment of a Radioactive Waste “Passportization”, and Accounting and Control System were drafted, in full agreement with the Rostechnadzor guidelines on “Requirements towards the structure and contents of the documents substantiating nuclear and radiation protection of a nuclear power plant, storage facility, radiation source and/or declared activity (for nuclear stations)”. The requirements allowed for the design and creation of a integrated three component system: characterization, package marking, and recording and communication of the data. The coordination of the Revision of the Working Design Documentation included the tasks: preparation of the Terms of Reference for the Revision of Working Design and the Coordination of the revision of the Working Design documentation. The ToRs were issued with a significant delay due to long negotiations between the involved organisations, discrepancies in the scope of the works, and delays in the approval of the document. Subsequently, the revision of the Working Design documentation was carried out in three different stages with intensive reviewing and checking for compliance with Russian standards and regulations that led to the production of 12 volumes of documentation.
The coordination of the Revision of the Safety Report comprised the identification of the funding source and the determination of the time schedule for the drafting of the Safety Report. Several organisational changes concerning the End User and Beneficiary functions took place, and regardless of the efforts made during the project implementation period, the Safety Report issue remained opened at the end of the project.
- Task 3 consisted in the preparation of the Technical Specifications, Contracting Strategy and Tender Evaluation Criteria. The unavailability of a complete set of updated, reviewed and approved Working Design documentation to support the preparation of the Technical Specifications for the procurement of the turn-key works led to a different strategy to support and justify the Technical Specifications. The approach consisted in organising and participating in meetings between MRRPCU experts and VNIPIET (designer) specialists to make the selection of the most adequate types of technological equipment to be used in the project. With the outcomes of the meetings, the Consultant drafted both the general and functional technical specifications within the time limits required by the EC. The Task was completed by the Consultant inputs to the open tender works procurement procedure set by the EC (i.e. the tender Evaluation Criteria).
- Task 4 aimed at assisting the EC in the procurement process of the turn-key works, including a site visit and organising and holding a clarification meeting. Seven companies were initially interested, but none of them submitted a tender. MRRPCU expert opinion on the absence of tenders was due to:
Important uncertainties linked with the Russian Governmental reforms (,as a matter of fact, the original project beneficiaries ROSSTROY was replaced by ROSATOM and the original project End-user Murmansk RADON was replaced by RosRAO).
The unavailability of a revised and approved Working Design, which would imply huge uncertainties in the work schedule and work development.
Interferences with other works performed on-site and still subject to legalization.
Alternative procurement procedures were investigated, but time constrains led to the cancellation of the tender procedure.
Lessons learned.
At the tender stage, it was not clear whether the turn-key contract should include also the site remediation, but the clarification done by the EC eliminated the question which was anyway raised again by the Beneficiary.
It was generally understood from the ToR that the existing documentation regarding Working Design, expert reviews and positive conclusions from the State Expertise were in order, and that the existing design documentation was sufficient to prepare the Technical Specifications for the turnkey Works Contract and subsequent Works tender. However, during the early stages of project implementation, it turned out that the expert review was negative or outdated, that the Working Design documentation was not compliant with the normative requirements, son it could not be submitted to the Authorities because it was not compliant with the requirements Moreover, the Safety Report was missing, and the data of the radioactive waste stored at the Murmansk RADON site was inaccurate and incomplete.
Additionally, it was found that one of the Beneficiaries had not approved the project and that the end-user did not have the required construction license to start the civil works on site.
As a consequence, discussions and agreement with the EC regarding the new scope of the project took place to account for these shortcomings( radiological examination of the site, complete revision of the Working Design and preparation of the Safety Report).
The following factors led to important delays in the implementation of the project, and prevented the Consultant to fulfil its commitments to assist the End User in facilitating the expert review of the Design and licensing activities.
- disagreement between EC and Rosstroy on the scope of the project
- Structural changes of the organisations involved (abolishment of Rosstroy and transfer of waste storages from RADON to Rosatom)
- New radiation data resulted in hot spots and in the need to undertake a full review of the technological concept of the project as well as development of non-standard ad-hoc technological equipment.
- Different organisations were responsible for different parts of the project, which provoked inefficiencies and inconsistencies in managerial decisions.
Recommendations for future works.
Even considering the difficulties of the project implementation, which prevented the facility construction to take place, the main outcome of the project was an up-to-date revised Working Design. The new design is based on accurate information concerning the solid radioactive waste stored at Murmansk RADON site, and is fully compliant with international and Russian requirements for solid radioactive waste management.
At the end of the project implementation, the design had not passed the State Examination.
Two options were suggested to finalise the project, namely funding from Russian Federation, or funding from international technical assistance programmes.