The 15th meeting of the Contact Expert Group (CEG) for International Radwaste Projects in the Russian Federation*/ was held on 22-24 October 2002 in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting was attended by 69 participants from 11 countries, 3 international organisations and the European Commission.
The meeting considered four major topical issues, namely:
In addition the following presentations were made and received with interest:
Russian Programme for Dismantlement of Nuclear Powered Submarines
Mr. V.Kovalenko, Deputy Head of the Department for Environment and Decommissioning of Nuclear Installations, Minatom of Russia presented an overview of the implementation status of the RF State Programme on Integral Decommissioning of Nuclear Submarines. He mentioned that significant progress is reached. 18 submarines are being defuelled annually starting from 2000. In total 190 nuclear submarines were retired from the navy, dismantling of 68 subs is completed, and now 122 subs are waiting dismantling, including 93 subs with SNF onboard. The main tasks of the Programme are:
Mr. Kovalenko described status of cooperative activities and future plans for improvement of SNF and RW handling and management. He mentioned that starting from 2001 Russia allocated about 2 B Rubles (about 70 M US$) annually for the decommissioning programme, however this funding is not sufficient to cover all urgent tasks, and international assistance is still a need. In case of an adequate funding decommissioning of the submarines could be completed by 2010. He underlined the following tasks of the top priority:
RF Proposals on new cooperative projects
The following presentations were given under this agenda item:
Presentations on the Gremikha site show that this site has similar problems as the Andreeva Bay, but situation in Gremikha is slightly better. Substantial amount of SNF from water-cooled naval reactors (about 116 canisters) and six spent reactor cores of liquid-metal-cooled reactors are stored there, and also about 550 m3 of solid radwaste and about 2000 m3 of liquid radwaste. Most of the storage facilities do not meet current safety standards and need urgent upgrading. General infrastructure at the site requires repair and upgrading in order to provide removal of SNF and RW from the site as foreseen by the Russian site remediation plans.
As a result of detailed discussions it was noted that there are different objects for international cooperation at the Gremikha site. Several products of the AMEC Programme could be used there, e.g. 40-tonne casks for SNF transportation and metal containers for SRW. It was agreed that remediation of this site should be discussed at the next CEG meeting.
New project proposals presented by the Russian side include:
The proposals were received with interest. Mr. V.Kovalenko asked the CEG
members to consider thoroughly the RF proposals on new projects and communicate
back (through the Executive Secretary) their position to the proposals.
Remediation of the Andreeva Bay site
The following presentations were given under this agenda item:
During discussion of the presentations it was recognised that SevRAO together with several Russian organisations continuously performs remediation activities at the Andreeva Bay site. Norway provides substantial assistance to SevRAO in establishing the infrastructure (construction of the administrative building with auxiliary systems, improvement of physical protection of the site and radiation protection of the personnel, dose rates measurements at the site territory and development of radiation maps). Sweden completed preparatory activities (framework agreement and the contract have been prepared and agreed between the parties), and cooperative activities on the SRW management will start soon. UK initiated cooperation on SNF management, construction of the roofing above the SNF storages, and characterisation of the Building No. 5.
European Commission presented project plans on conduction of engineering and radiological surveys of the Building No.5 and feasibility studies on its remediation. It was noted that there is a possibility for cooperation between UK and EC activities, however at the second day of the meeting the EC representative informed the meeting that after consultations with the UK side, EC decided to cancel the presented project, since there is a clear duplication of the EC and UK activities on Building No.5, and the allocated money (about 1 M €) will be used for other projects. Therefore, UK side will finance studies and implementation activities on the Building No.5 characterisation.
As a result of detailed discussions of the Andreeva Bay remediation it was noted that some progress in creation of important basis for the future work in Andreeva Bay has been reached since the last CEG meeting. However, actual remediation of this site is very expensive task that requires multilateral efforts, and there are still several formal impediments, which need to be resolved in order to extend international cooperation on Andreeva Bay. This project is of the main priority of the Nuclear Window of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) Support Fund, which is to be operational after signing of the Agreement on Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programmes in the Russian Federation (MNEPR).
Implementation of "nuclear activities" of Sweden and other donors depends on resolution of this issue. EC money for 2002-2006 was channelled to the NDEP Fund, and contribution of several NDEP donors depends on the MNEPR signature. Situation with bi-lateral UK-RF Supplementary Agreement is very similar. In both cases nuclear liability is a major open issue, which still to be resolved in negotiations with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
UK approach regarding Andreeva Bay projects was very much appreciated, and it was noted that the documentation stage requires time and money, but this work could be done without damage of the nuclear liability rights and prior to resolution of the framework agreements. Since actual activities at the site could be performed during the summer season, other time should be used for preparatory activities to make money available for implementation.
It was noted that several projects beyond the Andreeva Bay will move forward after resolution of MNEPR; in particular development and building of the SNF transportation vessel, and the money allocated by Norway for this work is still available.
The CEG organizational and financial matters
Under discussion of further coordination of different activities it was noted that now there is no need to establish a special entity (group) neither for general coordination nor for coordination of projects at Andreeva Bay. The CEG itself should fulfill the coordination function and serve as a forum for discussion of current work and future plans. Minatom of Russia has the responsibility for coordination of international activities, and cooperation with the Russian authorities is very important. At the same time exchange of information on project planning and implementation at the CEG level is very useful for elimination of overlaps and duplication, and for resolution of outstanding issues. In order to improve this informational support, CEG ad hoc meetings and workshops focused on specific topics should be arranged in between the CEG plenary meetings, and the CEG workshops on Andreeva Bay are a good way to proceed. The CEG Secretariat should take a strong role in organization of these ad hoc meetings and workshops.
In discussion of the CEG coordination role it was recognised that there is a need to establish strong relations with the new multilateral initiatives such as NDEP and Global Partnership Programme recently launched by G8 countries. For this purpose the CEG Chairman will write a letter to the G8 Chairman and offer the CEG services for G8 Programme. Noting that Russian Federation has already presented the overall plan for this Programme to G8, the CEG through the G8 representatives present at the CEG meeting will request G8 to make this plan available for the CEG for analysis and discussion. Regarding the CEG coordinating role it was agreed that the UK side will prepare a paper on the means to increase coordinating mechanism at the CEG, and this paper will be discussed at the next CEG meeting.
The CEG Secretariat reports were received with interest. The CEG supported the Oslo meeting proposal on improvement of the CEG database on cooperation projects. Specific requirements should be defined in cooperation with the CEG Secretariat, which maintains the database. The CEG Secretariat will develop a plan of activities in support of the CEG covering organisation of the topical workshops and ad hoc meetings. Necessary funding for organisation of these events could be provided from the extra budgetary contributions for the CEG Secretariat operation. It was also decided that for 2003 the extra budgetary part of the CEG Secretariat budget remain unchanged - 100 K US$, therefore the contributing parties will pay 11,111 UD$ each.