APRIL 29, 2020

APRIL 29, 2020. UPDATE ON IMPACT OF COVID-19 CRISIS ON NUCLEAR SAFETY AND SECURITY

Current COVID-19 crisis affects nuclear industry in multiple ways. Ensuring reliable power supply is critical for overloaded healthcare infrastructure. Yet, nuclear industry operation personnel can be affected by pandemic as well, thus creating not only power productions risks, but also safety and security risks to nuclear facilities and materials. The Russian Nuclear Security Update provides update on how nuclear industry in Russia and worldwide responds to COVID-19 outbreak.

Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev Continues Updates on COVID-19 Situation at Rosatom. Highlights of April 28 Update:
  • Rosatom keeps returning to the normal operation. By April 27, 172 thousand employees of Rosatom enterprises returned to their usual work schedule, including 39 thousand employees at Rosenergoatom, 20 thousand at the Fuel Division, 18.5 thousand in the Engineering Division, and 43 thousand at the nuclear weapon complex.
  • By April 27, the number of Rosatom employees with COVID-19 was 86, 51 employees have completely recovered.
  • The virus keeps spreading to the regions. This poses a direct threat to Rosatom nuclear cities (cities hosting the Rosatom enterprises). Rosatom is particularly concerned about the situation in Sarov, Elektrostal and Desnogorsk. The first cases of COVID-19 were identified in the closed city of Trekhgorny, Chelyabinsk region, where the Instrument Engineering Plant is located. Local authorities strengthened the quarantine measures in the city.
  • Rosatom buys medical equipment and personal protection equipment for medical units, including 192 lung ventilators. The first shipments of equipment will go to Sarov, Zarechny in Penza Region, Kurchatov, Udomlya, Obninsk, where the number of cases is the highest.
  • The additional restrictions on entering and leaving the cities are remaining.
  • Rosatom leadership, including the general director, his deputies, heads of divisions and the largest enterprises of the industry (over 200 people), decided to donate their monthly salary to the fund for combating the COVID pandemic.

Anti-COVID Measures at Nuclear Sites
  • Khiagda, part of Rosatom mining division, made a decision to extend the work of its shifts at the main production site in Buryatia for one more month in order to protect the employees from possible infection. The usual duration of the shift at the Khiagda is one month. Each shift has 172 people. The current shift will continue to work until May 16, 2020. All days of the extended shift will be paid. The decision on changing the shifts in May will be taken by the management based on the current epidemiological situation. By April 23, 163 cases of infection were detected in Buryatia, including 2 deaths.
  • Over 8.5 thousand employees of VNIITF, Zababakhin All-Russian Scientific Research Institute for Technical Physics, returned to work.
  • 16 thousand employees of Sevmash continue to work for the state defense orders.
  • On April 27, Nerpa Shipyard resumed all operations.

Contribution of Nuclear Industry to the Fight against Pandemic
  • VNIITF allocated over one million rubles for maintenance and repair of lung ventilators.
  • Rosatom continue the sterilization of medical equipment. On April 23, over 3.5 million protective masks were sterilized, as well as 75,000 medical kits for COVID-19 testing. Sterilization is carried out by Sterion company, subsidiary of Rusatom Healthcare.
  • Scientists from the Sarov Physics and Technology Institute, a branch of MEPhI, and the Russian Federal Nuclear Center developed a device for producing the nitrogen oxide. The device was successfully tested in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. The nitrogen oxide improves the blood microcirculation and prevents thrombosis in the lungs, and heated helium kills the viruses.