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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

R5.04/96 Administrative arrangements DGIA & JRC

Establishment of the Ural Siberian Methodology and Training Centre (UrSiMTC) for Nuclear Materials Accounting and Control: Feasibility Study

Status
Closed
All Countries
Benefitting Zone
Worldwide
€ 126,912.53
EU Contribution
Contracted in 1998
TACIS
Programme
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States

Details

Type of activity

Safeguards

Nature

Services and Supplies

Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

Direct Agreement & AV DA

Duration

10/04/1998 - 10/04/1999

Partner

MINATOM RF, later ROSATOM (since 12/2007)

Contractor

JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE

Project / Budget year

WW9608 Nuclear Safety 1996 / 1996

Background

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. The Overall Objective of this Programme was to support the Russian Federation to transform and reinforce the State System of Accountancy and Control of nuclear materials (SSAC).

In the Ural/Siberian region, there are a number of bulk handling facilities for enrichment, fuel fabrication and reprocessing. A large number of people are involved in the management of nuclear materials. In addition to the facilities at the back end of the fuel cycle, there are facilities involved in the dismantling of nuclear weapons. In this context, the Russian Federation Nuclear Centre - All Russia Research Institute of Technical Physics (Russian RFNC-VNIITF) in Snezhinsk was proposed by the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy (Minatom) as the lead institute to develop transparency measures in the dismantling process and to provide safeguards and non proliferation assurance for the nuclear materials no longer needed for defence purposes.

In order to transfer Western know-how and technology in the field of Nuclear Materials Accountancy and Control (NMAC) to facility personnel in the Ural-Siberia region, it was decided to establish a methodology and training centre (The Ural-Siberian Methodology and Training Centre (UrSiMTC)) and to organise a programme of training courses. Ideally, the centre would cover all aspects of NMAC for fuel cycle installations in the Ural-Siberia region (mainly installations related with the back-end of the fuel cycle), and would have a customer base including Minatom and GAN (Russian nuclear regulatory authority) inspectors for these installations, as well as other facility personnel involved in implementing NMAC.

This contract, signed in April 1998, forms a part of the comprehensive assistance programme on NMAC mentioned above. The objective of the project was to perform a feasibility study, assessing the possibility and practicality of establishing a methodology and training centre for NMAC, aimed at providing a focal point for technology transfer and training in advanced NMAC techniques for the fuel cycle installations in the Ural-Siberian region. The project became the first phase of a series of projects aimed at establishing the UrSiMTC.

The project was followed by the project R5.04/97 (also called R5.01/97D, see contract 26512).

Results

The contract was signed on 10 April 1998.

As a result of the feasibility study, it was considered expedient to support the creation of the MTC in the Ural-Siberian region. In addition to training of personnel of the relevant enterprises of the region regarding new technologies in the field of NMAC, the centre should also comprise a number of training laboratories which demonstrate advanced technologies in the field that are likely to be applied at real nuclear facilities in the future.

It was proposed that in the next stage of the series of projects, a pilot laboratory should be established within the centre which simulates modern approaches to NMAC related to plutonium dioxide storage facilities (Pu laboratory). The laboratory should represent a real physical space with real equipment and software (instruments, methodologies, appropriate laboratory and training facilities), but with nuclear material simulators in containers rather than real plutonium dioxide. This lab would be used for demonstrating NMAC technology for Pu storage facilities, as well as for training facility personnel in charge of NMAC implementation in storage facilities. The UrSiMTC should provide suitable training of future trainers, in particular on the themes related to the overall concepts of NMAC in storage facilities and on the use of the specific equipment and software installed in Pu laboratory. This is an important area concerning many Ural based facilities and would be a starting point for developing working relationships with staff of the different facilities. On the basis of a positive result, other laboratories dedicated to other specific NMAC problems (e.g. spent fuel in dry storage) could possibly be envisaged in later phases of the programme.

It was intended that the UrSiMTC would be primarily a centre where advanced NMAC approaches and technology would be demonstrated, where staff from facilities could familiarise themselves with such approaches and technology and would be able to receive the necessary training to be able to develop valid specific solutions for their facilities.

The main users of the centre would be the people that would be involved in implementing NMAC in the facilities in Snezhinsk and in the Minatom facilities located in the Ural and Siberia region (e.g. Mayak, Ozersk, Novouralsk).

The UrSiMTC should focus on the NMAC methods and equipment needed for installations at the back end of the fuel cycle and for facilities used to process and store nuclear materials that are no longer needed for defence purposes and are coming from weapons dismantling.

In the next phases of the project a detailed study of nuclear fuel cycle in the Ural-Siberian region and an investigation of NMAC methodological, technological and training needs for the nuclear fuel cycle activities in the Ural-Siberian region, in particular for the spent fuel storage should be carried out, as well as an analysis of the role of UrSiMTC in the region.

A business plan for the centre should also be prepared.