Italy to build ship for Russian submarine waste

04 August 2008

Italian state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri has been awarded a contract to build a ship for the transport of irradiated fuel and radioactive waste derived from Russian nuclear-powered submarines.

Dismantling Russian submarine 
Dismantling a nuclear-powered
submarine (Image: Sevmash)
The contract was signed in Moscow on 28 July by Yevgeny Yevstratov, deputy director general of Rosatom, and Giovanni Battista Narbone, head of the industrial policy management department of Italy's Ministry of Economic Development. The signing took place during a meeting between Claudio Scajola, Italy's economic development minister, and the director general of Rosatom, Sergey Kiriyenko, during which nuclear cooperation was discussed.

Under the contract, worth some €70 million ($110 million), Fincantieri will design and construct the vessel, which will be 84 metres long, 14 metres wide and 16.7 metres high. The ship will have two hermitic cargo holds capable of holding a total of 720 tonnes (18 containers weighing 40 tonnes each). Its construction - at either Fincantieri's Riva Trigoso or Muggiano shipyards in Italy - will be supervised by the Russian Naval Registry to ensure that the vessel complies with international standards. The ship will be owned and operated by Russia's Atomflot  and is scheduled to be put into service in 2011.

Due to high ice reinforcement, the ship will able to navigate the arctic seas in the summer and autumn. It is planned to travel along the Northern Sea Route, between the village of Gremikha, Andreyev Bay, Saida Bay, Severodvinsk and other nuclear submarine recycling sites. Radioactive waste produced by shipyards and naval bases will be shipped to ports and then transferred by rail to treatment and storage sites.

The next project planned between Russia and Italy in the field of nuclear safety will be the construction of radioactive waste treatment and storage facilities at Andreyev Bay. Two submarines have already been dismantled under a joint Italian-Russian project.

The Italian and Russian governments signed a cooperation agreement in November 2003 for the dismantling of Russian nuclear submarines and for the safe disposal of radioactive waste and used fuel. The agreement, ratified by the Italian government at the end of July 2005, entails a financial commitment by Italy totalling €360 million ($560 million) over ten years and also includes projects in other fields. Sogin, a company that manages Italy's shut down nuclear power plants, was given the task of coordinating Italy's participation in the agreement.

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