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Bellona Report nr. 2:96. Written by: Thomas Nilsen, Igor Kudrik and Alexandr Nikitin.

Project 2020 - Malina class

Northern Fleet Pacific Fleet Total
In service 2 1 3
Inactive 0 0 0
Decommissioned 0 0 0
Number 3

Technical Data:

Length: 136 m Displacement: 14.000 tons
Beam: 22 m Crew: 260
Draught: 5 m Speed: 17 knots

Construction yard

The three existing Malina class ships were designed by the Aisberg construction company in St. Petersburg and built at the Nikolaev shipyards on the Black Sea from 1984 to 1991. The Pacific Fleet ordered a fourth ship of this class, but the dissolution of the Soviet Union prevented delivery. The Nikolaev yards are situated in what is now the state of Ukraine.

Storage capacity

Storage for 1.400 fuel assemblies amounting to approximately six reactor cores. The reactor cores are divided into four storagecompartments, each with facilities for 51 containers of fuel assemblies. There are also two storage compartments for fresh nuclear fuel. Each ship has two derricks with a lifting capacity of 15 tons. Spent nuclear fuel can be hoisted directly aboard from the submarine reactors, or from barges of the 326 M type. The vessels are also equipped with storage tanks to hold 450 m³ of liquid radioactive waste including 95 m³ of medium level waste with an activity of up to 3.7 GBq/l (0.1 Ci/l) [299]

Individual ships

Northern Fleet:

Entered service in October 1984 and is presently based in Severodvinsk. [300]
Entered service in 1991 and is based at Olenya Bay at the Gadzhievo naval base. [301] In September 1991, two reactor cores were transferred from a third generation submarine to one of the holds. (The holds of these special tankers are not designed for the storage or transportation of this type of fuel.) On September 8, 1993, by accident some members of the ship's crew were exposed to undue levels of radiation. The reason for the accident is not known. A decision was made to temporarily take the vessel out of service. However this was never done, and in November of 1993, it received another consignment of spent nuclear fuel.

The tanker also has an onboard purification plant for processing liquid radioactive waste from primary cooling circuits. However, this installation has never functioned properly and the tanker continues to deliver liquid waste with an activity of 12 kBq/l (3.2 x 10-7 Ci/l) to shore bases. The ship also stores 400 tons of oil/water mixture in a way such that the stability of the vessel itself is compromised. [302]

Pacific Fleet:

Commissioned in 1986 and used for refuelling operations and the transport of spent nuclear fuel to the Pacific Fleet storage facilities in Kamchatka and Shkotovo. [303]

Photo Photo, 36 kb. Photo Photo, 20 kb.

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[299] Nilsen, T., and Bøhmer, N., Sources of Radioactive Contamination in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Counties. Bellona Report No.1 :1994, p. 56. Return
[300] Handbook On implementation plan for handling of nuclear waste and spent fuel on Severodvinsk territory, Summer 1994. Return
[301] Jane`s Intelligence Review, December 1993. Return
[302] Documentation of a Gosatomnadzor inspection, November 1993. Return
[303] Handler, J., Greenpeace, Radioactive Waste Situation in the Russian Pacific Fleet, Nuclear Waste Disposal Problems, Submarine Decommissioning, Submarine Safety, and Security of Naval Fuel, October 27, 1994. Return

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