Russian Nuclear Security Update #2
National Guard controls nuclear sites from the air; increased security at Kursk NPP; mental health support at Russian NPPs; BREST to be commissioned in 2028-2029; expanded nuclear education for Egypt.
Welcome to the new issue of weekly updates on current developments related to nuclear security in Russia, Russia’s impact on nuclear security globally, and lessons for nuclear security elsewhere. These weekly posts come under the title “Russian Nuclear Security Update“ as a tribute to my 2017-2021 newsletter.
Most of the sources for this update are in Russian. I provide a brief English summary for each link or set of links, but for the sake of time, I will not provide a translation or a detailed summary unless there is something I consider extremely interesting and important. For complete translation please use Google Translate or its alternatives. However, if you have specific substantive questions or think that machine translation does not make sense, feel free to reach out.
There is always a chance I miss something interesting. Let me know, if you want me to comment on anything interesting you hear from other sources.
Enjoy reading and have a good week!
January 30, 2024
Dzerzhinsky Division, an elite National Guard unit based in the outskirts of Moscow, launched a training course for operators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Participants for this training are coming from all National Guard troops’ regional divisions. The training program includes a theoretical part, training on simulators, and drone maintenance skills. A particular focus of the course is on acquiring piloting skills at low altitudes and the ability to memorize elements of the terrain from the screen, and accurately transmit the coordinates of the location to the command post. National Guard troops provide pro-forces to all major nuclear sites in Russia. The use of drones for the protection of nuclear sites has been growing over recent years.
January 26, 2024
According to authorities, this measure is required to ensure the protection of the Kursk NPP from the terrorist threat. The decision is not made yet but will be considered in the coming days by the government of the Kursk region. If approved and implemented, unauthorized general public access to the nuclear power plant security zone will be limited and additional security equipment will be installed. This move is likely driven by concerns about a potential Ukrainian attack. Russian authorities have reported Ukrainian attempts to attack NPPs using drones.
January 30, 2024
The service was created on January 27, 1989, and became one of the first in the Russian nuclear energy industry. Today the laboratory employs 7 specialists and conducts around 300 activities annually. The main goal is to improve the performance of operational personnel through conducting psychological tests, sociology surveys, training sessions, etc. Russian regulations require mandatory psychology testing for certain categories of nuclear site personnel.
January 27, 2024
The construction of the BREST-OD-300 reactor with 300 MW capacity started in the summer of 2021. BREST is lead lead-cooled fast neutron reactor using mixed uranium-plutonium nitride fuel. The reactor will be co-located with facilities for manufacturing new fuel and reprocessing spent nuclear fuel at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk (aka Tomsk-7, Tomsk region). This project is part of Russia’s effort to implement a closed nuclear fuel cycle. Russia also considers the construction of the BREST reactor with 1200 MW capacity.
January 31, 2024
90 Egyptians have already completed their education, 150 are now students at nuclear energy related programs in Russian universities and over 300 students will attend these programs starting next academic year. This effort is intended to prepare personnel for the El-Dabaa NPP now under construction in Egypt.
Russian and Egyptian universities implement a joint master’s program “Nuclear Physics and Technology”. Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, a Russian university with an extensive nuclear education program, is planning to open a branch in Egypt based on the Borg El Arab Technological University in Alexandria.
August 7, 2023