The Russian government is firming up separation of the country's military and civilian nuclear assets with a change to the legal status of certain Rosatom subsidiaries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has awarded the status of 'federal nuclear organisation' to eight state unitary enterprises (FSUE) within Rosatom by signing a decree published on the Kremlin's website on 26 June.
The change of status corresponds to work to support basic and critical technologies, as well as work during all stages of the life cycle of nuclear weapons, nuclear explosives and military-type nuclear installations, in order to implement the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and in accordance with Presidential Executive Order of 7 July, 2011 "On approving priority development areas in science, technology and engineering in the Russian Federation and the list of critical technologies in the Russian Federation". Only the president can assign the status and term, and define the specific features, of a federal nuclear organisation.
An FSUE is a government-owned corporation in Russia and some other post-Soviet states that has no ownership rights to the assets they use in their operations.
The change of status reflects the "theoretical and applied research these FSUEs conduct into the creation and operational support of nuclear munitions and weapons, and the destruction and disposal of their components," according to the text of the decree. Their "priorities" also include the long-term storage of nuclear materials used for such work. The 25-year duration of the change of status corresponds to the average life cycle of a nuclear weapon.
The eight are: Elekhtrohimpribor; the Mayak Production Association; Mining and Chemical Combine; the Centre for Comprehensive Testing of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Plants (NITI); Instrument-making Plant (PSZ); the All-Russian Research Institute of Automation (VNIIA); the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF); and the All-Russian Research Institute of Technical Physics (VNIITF).
The president's signature is the final stage of an amendment to the federal law "On the State Corporation for Atomic Energy Rosatom" aimed at establishing the organisational and legal status of FSUEs that form part of Rosatom's nuclear weapons complex and which are subject to Rosatom's rights of property ownership. The definition "federal nuclear organisation" and the procedure for awarding that status FSUEs are outlined in Chapter 81 of the amended law.
Rosatom director general Sergey Kirienko has said that all FSUEs with Rosatom are to be given the new organisational and legal status by 2015.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News