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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 20:45 GMT 21:45 UK
Russia opens spent nuclear fuel plant
Russian nuclear submarine Novomoskovsk
Spent fuel will be removed from six submarines a year
A US-funded facility for unloading spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned Russian submarines has opened at the Arctic port of Severodvinsk.

Senator Richard Lugar attended the opening ceremony of the Zvyozdochka disposal plant.

The plant will remove spent nuclear fuel from four Delta and two Typhoon submarines each year.

The operation is part of a post Cold War programme to prevent nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists or hostile governments.

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Senator Lugar also visited the Northern Machine-Building Shipyards in Severodvinsk to see facilities for the production of containers to transport the spent fuel.

The first container will be ready this autumn.

Senator Lugar and former senator Sam Nunn co-sponsored the programme to help Russia dismantle nuclear weapons, secure nuclear and chemical stockpiles and find civilian jobs for military scientists.

Another plant - at Gorny on the Volga river - was unveiled this week that will help destroy chemical weapons and will come online in December.

Senator Lugar will also visit the Atomflot Shipyard near Murmansk to see radiological monitoring and waste disposal programmes.

He is also expected to lay a wreath at the site of the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine, which claimed 118 lives in August 2000.

See also:

22 Aug 02 | Europe
02 Aug 02 | Middle East
10 Jul 02 | Politics
14 May 02 | In Depth
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