Jane VaynmanSubmarine Dismantlement Trudges On

In mid-April I attended the Nuclear National Dialogue in Moscow, a conference sponsored by Green Cross, Global Green, Rosatom, and others.

I have few good details to report, but there was one presentation that may be interesting to folks who follow nuclear submarine dismantlement work in Russia and contributions of the Global Partnership to this effort. The presentation was by a Rosatom official in the department which is responsible for carrying out agreements and programs to take nuclear and radiological assets out of operation.

This chart shows the amounts allocated, contracted and spent by various Global Partnership countries on submarine dismantlement. I’ve added some English in red. Title: International Aid Resources for Addressing the Problem of the Disposition of Atomic Submarines (as of January 1, 2007) Column headings, left to right, are: Announced Resources in $ millions, (sub-columns: Total for Global Partnership; Total for Atomic Submarine Disposition); Sum of Contracts on Atomic Submarines signed since July 2002, in $ millions; Size of Resources Recieved for Disposition of Atomic Submarines, in $ millions.

The point being made, if you note the bottom of the chart, is that Russia itself has spent considerable funds on dealing with submarine dismantlement. (European style – the comma is a dot.)

To me this chart seems misleading and confusing, as it is unclear as to what kind of projects are counted out of the various submarine related activities (dismantlement, shipyard improvement, etc), particularly on the Russian side. The donor countries provide information on which projects they fund. Perhaps this makes a lot more sense to you submarine specialists out there.

Everyone else, enjoy this photo of a nuclear sub being towed for disposition. Too bad there isn’t a photo of the crane that got it up there.


  1. George (History)

    The vesssel carrying the sub is a semi-submersible heavy lift ship, or “flo/flo” (“float on/float off”). The flo/flo sinks down until just its two ends are above the water; the sub is floated above the cargo deck area; and the flo/flo is pumped out, lifting the sub.

  2. Jane (History)

    George – thanks! Your explanation makes much more sense than giant claws lifting the sub, which is what I was imagining.

  3. Allen Thomson (History)

    These are very impressive ships and do some fairly unbelievable things:


  4. George (History)

    Jane: My answer just confirms that your common-sense skepticism (Wha??? How did that happen…or did it?) is on full alert. Subs are really heavy.

    Stay at it!

  5. yale (History)

    It is important to note that the “Global Partnership” mentioned above is not the USDoE’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).

    The GNEP is the latest hare-brained nonsense from the Bush Klown Kollege.

    This criminally insane (and I mean that literally) scheme is to spread atomic weapons to every point on the globe by creating fleets of spent fuel reprocessers, MOXers, and Fast Breeder Reactors.

    The world as a vast plutonium floodplain.

  6. MaggieLeber (History)

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-submersible for an image of the USS Cole taking such a ride after the bombing in Yemen.

  7. yale (History)

    Slice and Dice

  8. Cristina (History)

    In case anyone is wondering, the “SI Fund” in the chart is the Northern Dimension Environmental Project under the EBRD (SI in Russian). I went to a joint NDEP/CEG meeting last month in London, where they were discussing the Strategic Master Plan for Northwest Russia. You are absolutely right that there are no details available on what Russia is spending its money on. It is interesting to compare activities in the Northwest, many funded by other countries, and the Pacific, where Russia is largely left to its own devices. In the Pacific, Russia defuels and chops boats, and is building onshore reactor storage. Nothing else that I know of. I’m not convinced they’ll pay for heavy lift vessels to move boats from Kamchatka down to Primorye, either; they may still tow. I think we should stop paying for dismantlement—they’ll do this on their own—and concentrate on heavy lift transport, RW and SNF storage, and security issues. Anyone interested in this issue, I should have a story on the London meeting up on the CNS website in another week or two (promise!)

  9. Mike davis (History)

    So sad to see these beautys destroyed and not saved as a museum. So much history is again lost