Defuelling the Papa-class nuclear submarine
The Papa-class nuclear-powered submarine began operating in 1969 and was decommissioned from the Soviet Navy 20 years later. The submarine had a unique reactor design, meaning special equipment had to be manufactured for the unloading of spent nuclear fuel from its two reactors. In 1980, during an initial attempt to defuel the submarine, technicians discovered that part of the unloading equipment had design deficiencies and that remedial work was required before this could be used again.
In 2010, workers at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk on Russia’s north-western coast cut out a reactor unit from the Papa-class submarine. Following the development of defuelling equipment, they unloaded the spent nuclear fuel from the unit’s first reactor in 2014. Defuelling of the second reactor and radioactive waste management activities linked to the vessel were completed in 2015.
Work to defuel the Papa-class submarine was supported by the Nuclear Window Support Fund of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP). Managed by the EBRD, the Fund finances vital projects removing spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste from unsafe facilities in north-western Russia.
Managed by the EBRD, the Nuclear Window Support Fund finances vital projects removing spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste from unsafe facilities in north-western Russia."”