Russia to lose last weapons-grade reactors

Raytheon Technical Services and Washington Group International have been awarded $466 million by the US Department of Energy to begin the shutdown of Russia’s last weapons-grade plutonium production reactors.

Raytheon Technical Services and Washington Group International have been awarded $466 million by the US Department of Energy ‘s National Nuclear Security Administration to begin work to shutdown Russia’s last three weapons-grade plutonium production reactors.

The reactors are located in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk. According to the US Department of Energy, shutting down the three reactors will end the production of enough weapons-grade plutonium to produce approximately one nuclear weapon every day and a half.

‘The selection of the contractors is another significant step in advancing the Bush Administration’s non-proliferation programs,’ said US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. ‘Replacing these reactors with fossil fuel energy is critical to eliminate the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Russia and the United States have enjoyed a good relationship on this program and we look forward to continued progress.’

The awarding of the work orders is the next major step in fulfilling commitments agreed to by the US and Russian governments in Vienna, Austria, implementing the Elimination of Weapons-Grade Plutonium Production Program (EWGPP).

At a ceremony in Vienna in March 2003, Secretary Abraham and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Alexander Rumyantsev signed an agreement that would reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction by stopping plutonium production at the last three Russian plutonium reactors.

Washington Group International will oversee work at the Seversk site. There, the US will provide assistance in refurbishing an existing fossil fuel plan to produce electricity lost from the shutdown of its two reactors. The refurbishment work is estimated to take five years.

Major work at the Seversk site will include refurbishing or replacing existing coal-fired boilers, providing one new high pressure coal-fired boiler, replacing turbine generators, completing construction of the fuel supply system, refurbishing the industrial heating unit and ancillary systems.

Raytheon Technical Services will oversee work at the Zheleznogorsk site, where the company will provide assistance in building a new fossil fuel plant. The estimated time of completion for the project is eight years.

Major work at the Zheleznogorsk site will include providing a co-generation boiler, an extraction/condensing steam turbine, heating only boilers, a fuel handling system, an ash removal system, environmental controls, and a hot water pipeline to connect the new plant with the district heating system.

The three plutonium production reactors will continue to operate until the fossil-replacement plants are completed.