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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

R5002/96 Design and Set-up of three Laboratories at VNIINM-Bochvar Institute

  • Closed
All Countries
Benefitting Zone
€ 1,139,461.50
EU Contribution
Contracted in 1997
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States


Type of activity




Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

Direct Agreement & AV DA


28/11/1997 - 28/09/2001


MINATOM RF, later ROSATOM (since 12/2007)



Project / Budget year

WW9608 Nuclear Safety 1996 / 1996


In December 1994 the European Council and the European Parliament considered a proposal from the European Commission to strengthen the co-operation with the Russian Federation in the area of Nuclear Material Accountancy and Control (NMAC). The Commission Services after extensive contacts with Russian Authorities identified this as a priority area and established a comprehensive assistance programme.

This particular project contributed an essential element to the programme of the Government of the Russian Federation aimed at improving the State System for Accounting and Control (SSAC) of Nuclear Materials in the country and it was one of the first TACIS projects dealing with this issue in the RF. It addressed one of the key elements of NMAC by supporting the installation of three laboratories and equipping them with modern instrumentation dedicated to analysing the composition and the origin of the nuclear material and at conducting independent analysis for the Russian nuclear regulator (GAN-RF) as well as other organizations. The project aimed at providing assistance in improving the NMAC measurement technology in order to meet internationally accepted performance levels by transferring essential measurement instrumentation, laboratory equipment and related operational know-how.


The objective of the project was to transfer western know-how and technology in the field of measurement of samples of nuclear material for purposes of Nuclear Materials Accountancy and Control (NMAC) by assisting the Beneficiary to install qualified and suitably equipped laboratories at a central institution, the AA Bochvar All-Russia Research Institute of Inorganic Materials (VNIINM) in Moscow.

It was intended that the developed analytical capabilities would be complemented by nuclear forensic capabilities that would allow the analysis of nuclear material of unknown origin (e.g. seized from illicit trafficking) enabling the detection of its origin and intended use. In addition, a nuclear metrological laboratory would complete the suite of analytical capabilities, assuring that measurement results are of highest possible quality through the supply of reference materials and provision of quality control.
More specifically, the objectives of the project were to design, set up and assist in starting up the operation of three laboratories for:

  1. Analysing samples of nuclear materials originating from Minatom for nuclear material accountancy purposes or originating from GAN for safeguards verification purposes (Analytical safeguards laboratory);
  2. Analysing seized nuclear materials in order to reveal their origin (Laboratory for the identification of nuclear material of unknown origin).
  3. Providing metrological support in the form of reference materials, consultancy and quality control (Nuclear metrological laboratory).

The project originally comprised 7 tasks:

  • Task 1: Definition of the laboratories’ basic parameters - Identify the goals of each laboratory and prioritised list of instrumentation and training needs;
  • Task 2: Conceptual study on the implementation of the laboratories - Prepare all the necessary information for the installation of the laboratories;
  • Task 3: Specification on instrumentation and site – Prepare the set of technical documents describing the parameters of the required locations and performance requirements of the identified instruments. Prepare the technical specifications for the procurement of the instruments. Assist in the procurement procedure;
  • Task 4: Instrument acceptance tests - Prepare the test schedules and test reports
  • Task 5: Training of staff - Training sessions at consultant’s premises. Preparation of the training schedule, training scheme for each area of training and training records of each participant;
  • Task 6: Operational tests of laboratories and laboratory modules; Develop the test programme and procedures, perform the tests and record the results of comprehensive operational tests of laboratory modules and the laboratory as a whole;
  • Task 7: Exchange of samples – Perform and report on comparative analysis of samples, measured at the new laboratories of the recipient and at the consultant’s laboratory.


At an early stage in the project, the goals of each laboratory (task 1) with its related analysis capabilities (task 2) have been defined. These results allowed the required equipment to be specified in technical documents as the basis for the tender for the supply of these instruments (task 3). Furthermore Russian specialists (about 30) have been trained to operate the new equipment (task 5). These activities were completed in 2001.

The instrument acceptance tests (task 4) were only performed on manufacturer’s premises for the Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (Part A). The supply contracts for the other instruments had not been placed by the end of the Consultant’s contract. The operational tests (task 6) and exchange of samples (task 7) could no longer be completed under this contract due to the long delay of the equipment procurement. Operational testing had to be considered in the follow-up project R5.01/97B (see Contract 30307). In summary, the results achieved by the end date of the contract were:

  • Task 1 “Definition of the laboratories basic parameters”: completed (September 1998).
  • Task 2 “Conceptual study on the implementation of the laboratories”: completed (July 1999).
  • Task 3 “Specification on instrumentation and site”:
    • Part A: Supply contract endorsed by EC on 6 February 2001.
    • Part B, Lots 1 - 8: Technical specifications approved in December 2000.

For information on the equipment supply contracts of Part A and Part B, Lots 1 – 8 see R5.02/96B (7 separate contracts).

  • Task 4 “Instrument acceptance tests”: The factory acceptance test were only performed for the Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (Part A) in April 2002 and since May 2002 the spectrometer was stored at the Supplier ThermoFinnigan waiting for custom clearance required for being imported to Russia.
  • Task 5 “Training of staff”: Completed in June 1999.

Additionally a workshop on chemical separation was held, in October 2000.

The Russian Project Partner significantly contributed to the project results. The recipient institution, VNIINM, made a substantial investment for providing premises with adequate support facilities for the delicate equipment. Highly qualified specialists from VNIINM have been trained in the utilisation of the sophisticated equipment to be delivered. VNIINM’s experts significantly contributed to the “Definition of the laboratories basic parameters” and the “Conceptual study on the implementation of the laboratories”. All work has been implemented in close co-operation with the Consultant. Staff of VNIINM translated more than 700 pages of technical documents.

The project started on 28.11.97 and was extended in December 1999 from 24 to 46 months as the contractual activities could not be completed in the original schedule. After a second extension the Contract finished on 18.05.02. The Consultant was not able to complete the project during the contract duration due to the delay of procurement of all planned equipment (beyond the responsibility of the Consultant).

See follow-on contract (contract 30307).