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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

R5.04/98 Establishment of the Ural Siberian methodology and training centre (UrSiMTC) for nuclear materials accounting and control

Status
Closed
TACIS Region
Benefitting Zone
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
€ 556,122.16
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2002
TACIS
Programme
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States

Details

Type of activity

Safeguards

Nature

Services

Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

Direct Agreement & AV DA

Duration

01/04/2003 - 01/01/2008

Partner

MINATOM RF, later ROSATOM (since 12/2007)

Contractor

JRC CCR JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE

Project / Budget year

WW9817 Nuclear Safety 1998 / 1998

Background

This project covers the third and final phase of the TACIS comprehensive programme for the establishment of the Ural-Siberia Methodology and Training Centre (UrSiMTC). It follows the feasibility study, produced under the first project R5.04/96 (see contract 25336) and the first stage of the implementation under project R5.01/97D (also referred to as R5.04/97; see contract 26512).
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 (Rosatom, ex 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)), to be hosted by RFNC-VNIITF, 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 2003, forms a part of the comprehensive assistance programme mentioned above. The project was the final project of this programme, although an activity on “Sustainability of UrSiMTC Activities” was included as Task N of the project Tareg 5.01/05 (see contract 116780).

Objectives

The overall objective of the project (and indeed of the comprehensive programme of projects) was to establish the Ural Siberian Methodology and Training Centre at VNIITF, Snezhinsk, Cheliabinsk Region, aimed at providing a focal point for technology transfer and training in advanced Nuclear Materials Accounting and Control (NMAC) techniques, mainly related to the back end of the fuel cycle for the fuel cycle installations in the Ural-Siberian region.

The UrSiMTC was intended to be primarily a centre where advanced NMAC approaches and technology would be demonstrated, where staff from facilities would be able to 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 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 would 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 were no longer needed for defence purposes and were coming from weapons dismantling.

More specifically, this included:

  • reprocessing plants, including spent fuel storage, fuel reprocessing (LWR , BN, HEU, MOX), U and Pu product storage;
  • future MOX fuel fabrication plants;
  • BN reactors;
  • U and Pu handling and storage facilities.

As a first priority, the UrSiMTC would address methods, equipment and training for NMAC for storage facilities and for facilities for conditioning nuclear materials in a form suitable for storage.
The present project, R5.04/98, dealt specifically with the extension of the storage laboratory for the UrSiMTC, started under project R5.04/97 (contract 26512) and covering also the aspects of spent fuel storage. The aim was to integrate robotics in the laboratory, and to plan the co-operation with Mayak. Also the plan for local operators to be trained in the Snezhinsk facilities was to be defined.
The storage laboratory would be used to demonstrate advanced technologies in the field of accountability, control and access control systems, which were likely to be used in the actual storage facilities in future. Promising design solutions for remote control of nuclear material handling, had to be studied and implemented. In the future, R&D would be carried out in this laboratory to select optimal technical solutions, equipment, etc.

It was intended that the storage laboratory would be used in future to train personnel involved in nuclear material reception, movement, accountability and control at storage facilities in Ural-Siberia region.

The tasks of the project comprised:

Task 1: Preparatory work:

  • Kick-off meeting and work planning;
  • Study of the nuclear fuel cycle activities in Ural Siberian region, their anticipated evolution and related training needs
  • Business plan with Mayak

Task 2: Develop Technical Specifications for robotics equipment, guidelines for robotics assisted storage:

  • Rearrange the layout of the spent fuel storage to be suitable for remote handling
  • Define remote handling equipment and prepare the procurement technical specifications. (The equipment was purchased through a separate TACIS project, R5.04/03S – see contract 76785).

Task 3: Integration of robotics equipment in spent fuel management:

  • Arrange a Pu storage laboratory pilot room
  • Integrate remote handling equipment in the storage
  • Train people to use the equipment
  • Demonstrate applicability of robotics to carry out routine operations;

Task 4: Training plan at Snezhinsk:

(JRC to produce a set of training courses in English, and RFNC-VNIITF to adapt them and translate into Russian)

  • Training of instructors at JRC on fundamentals of NMAC (analytical approaches DA/NDA, continuity of knowledge measures, statistics), and specific courses related to the equipment installed
  • Training of facility staff in the UrSiMTC

Task 5: Production of the Final Report

It was intended that the equipment to be specified as part of Task 2 would be purchased under a separate project of the TACIS 1998 programme (R5.01/98S), but the contracting could not take place within the time limits of the TACIS 1998 programme. It was reprogrammed as project R5.04/03S (see contract 76785).

Results

The contract was signed in April 2003. The project achieved the following final results:

  • Supply project preparation completed with the development of the Technical Specification of the robotics equipment, publication of tender dossier, tender evaluation and the supply contract signature on 03/05/2006;
  • Pu storage laboratory at UrSiMTC ready for equipment installation and testing;
  • Integration of robotics equipment software to the NMAC system of RFNC-VNIITF completed;
  • Twelve training courses held at UrSiMTC in 2003-2007.

The Consultant prepared a demonstration film of the Robosoft equipment simulating container manipulation in a storage area. The film was a part of the final report delivered in December 2008.