“Mayak” is a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Russia. Today we’ll visit a nuclear fuel recycling plant called RT-1 which is just one link in the “Mayak” chain system. The plant deals with acceptance and recycling of processed nuclear fuel.
The town Chelyabinsk-40 together with production association “Mayak” (translated as “Lighthouse” into English) were the firstlings of the Soviet nuclear industry.
Because of secrecy, postal address of the town was changed many times. At first it was Chelyabinsk-40, later Chelyabinsk-65, since 1995 – Ozersk.
Thus, a secret industrial nuclear reactor appeared near the town of Kyshtym. They produced enriched uranium there. Construction of the nuclear reactor was started in 1947, and it had to
reach its planned production capacity in June of 1948. However, because of engineering malfunctions, already functioning reactor was stopped for emergency repair, and the activation was postponed till March of 1949. In the meantime, construction of industrial complex was going on. “Ozersk”
“Radioactive Territory, No Entry”. Men and women use separate entries. Clothes are totally changed. Touching anything here as well as putting backpacks on the floor is not allowed.
A place where the shoes are changed. “Stop and change your shoes!”
After containers with nuclear fuel reach the unit the screws are removed. Personnel leaves the unit, a huge door is closed. The fuel is removed with the help of automatically controlled cranes.
The fuel is later put in a reservoir filled with distilled water under the hatches and moved into a temporary warehouse.
“Zone of limited holding time, 5 meters”
The device is used not to carry dust from one unit to another one.
“No entry, dangerous area, fuel unloading”
The employers are standing right on the reservoir mentioned.
Assemblies with fuel.
General view of the production unit.
The assemblies are removed, the filling is divided into pieces and put into a solvent. The fuel then undergoes a number of chemical transformations and is deprived of uranium and plutonium.
Parts which are not dissolved get pressed and stored on the territory of the plant under constant observation. The processes are followed by formation of ready-made assemblies with fresh fuel.
That’s how a complete cycle of nuclear fuel processing is realized.
The operator is protected from the active elements with the help of the thick lead-coated glass.
The yellow container carries finished assemblies with fuel.
The inside of the container.
Shipment of finished products.
Gross weight 96 000 tn.
“Let’s work with maximal performance” – a communist slogan left.
Containers are shipped on special trains.
That’s what a carriage looks like.
Containers to carry uranium.
The level of radiation is checked at the exit.
A monument next to Kyshtym says “In memoriam of disaster liquidators”. The radiation contamination incident occurred in 1957 at “Mayak”. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
Radioactive trace left after the incident at “Mayak”.
By the way, it is planned that part of Fukishima nuclear wastes will be transported to the Ural Mountains and buried there at “Mayak”.