Establishment of the Moscow Science and Production Association (MosNPO) ‘Radon’

In 1971 the central radiation safety organization, Radon, looked at the total of its results over the first ten years of operation. The enterprise already had a well-developed infrastructure, skilled staff, methods and technologies for RAW localization and a substantial amount of operational experience. Hot cells equipped with manipulators were put into operation and were allowed to operate remotely in RAW and SIS procedures. In the same year, the director of Radon (I. A. Sobolev) prepared a doctoral thesis dedicated to the problems of RAW cementation, which he successfully presented to the scientific and technical council of the Institute of Inorganic Materials under the auspices of A. A. Bochvar. To allow the routes used by the special RAW transport to be monitored for radiation levels, two mobile radiomet­ric laboratories were set up. The activity of Radon then became known abroad: the first technical visits by foreign representatives of the atomic

industrial forum of Japan, parliamentary groups from Sweden and scientists from Canada took place in 1975.

From 1976 to 1980 new facilities were installed at Radon for RAW bitu — minization (URB-200), combustion (USGO-80) and compaction (BA — 1330). During the same period, a facility for water purification (EDU-500) was assembled, and test runs were carried out. Another considerable achievement was the implementation of a pilot industrial facility for RAW combustion or thermal treatment: RAW combustion was carried out for the first time in the history of Soviet industrial tests in NPPs. The results of these tests formed the basis for the design and creation of the technological complex for the Kursk NPP. The application of a ‘dry’ system for the treat­ment of off-gases helped to solve the problem of secondary LRAW genera­tion. To obtain bitumen compounds, the UBD-200 facility was developed, with elements of mechanization and automation for the whole process from RAW loading to the unloading of the end product (i. e., the bitumen compound).

Radon had swiftly become a multi-purpose scientific and technological complex. The new technological developments introduced at Radon were used at other facilities for RAW processing and disposal. In 1977 the State Committee on Inventions and Discoveries awarded two certificates of authorship to the staff of Radon for patented inventions. Radon’ s main achievement in 1978 was the establishment of the new high-capacity facility for LRAW bituminization (URB-8). Work was also carried out on the selec­tion of the correct composition for LRAW vitrification. Under the manage­ment of the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the director of the Institute of Inorganic Materials (A. S. Nikiforov), the process of high-level LRAW vitrification at hot cells was investigated, using simulators of high level LRAW from Mayak. In 1979 the containment facil­ity for HLW and SIS was completed. Research into hot cells was carried out, including studies into the content of intermediate and high level waste. Experiments into waste vitrification were continued, alongside new studies into plasma methods, and a new facility for RAW combustion, known as Fakel, was completed.

In 1980, the Council of Ministers of the USSR converted the enterprise into the Moscow Science and Production Association ‘Radon’ (MosNPO Radon); after that, the organization became responsible for the methodical and scientific management of RAW at special nuclear facilities across the USSR. In 1984, before the Chernobyl disaster, the government of the USSR charged MosNPO Radon with the organization and implementation of detailed radiometric monitoring of Moscow city and the Moscow region in order to define areas with possible radioactive contamination. Furthermore, in 1986, MosNPO Radon, Minsredmash and the USSR Academy of Sci­ences were jointly entrusted with scientific research and experimental design with the aim of improving RAW processing technologies such as combustion, vitrification, cementation, etc.

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