Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča

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Last Updated: June 1, 2004
Other Name: Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča Institute, Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Sciences, (IBK): Institut Za Nuklearne Nauke Boris Kidric
Location: Vinča, 12 kilometers from Belgrade
Subordinate To: The Serbian Ministry of Science, Technology and Development
Size: Dozens of buildings containing research centers, departments, and laboratories
Facility Status: N/A

In 1948 the Institute of Nuclear Sciences was founded as the Institute for Research on Structure of Matter to conduct nuclear research as a part of the Yugoslav Federal Nuclear Program. This program was part of a project to develop nuclear weapons. Although, in the early 1980s Yugoslavia dismantled their nuclear weapons program, most of the infrastructure and technological knowledge required to support a weapons program remains intact at Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča.

Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča is organized into 16 research departments, 3 centers, and import-export department, and a joint services unit. In total there are approximately 800 employees working at Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča, 400 of which are involved in research. Among others, Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča's research departments include; the Department of Physics, Department of Theoretical Physics and Physics, Department of Radiation Chemistry and Physics, Department of Atomic Physics, Department of Physical Chemistry, Department of Electronics, Department of Physical Chemistry, Department of Thermal Engineering, and the Energy Center for Nuclear Technologies & Research (NTI).

Beginning in the 1950s, scientists at Vinča spent fuel reprocessing and plutonium purification technologies. By the mid-1950s they had developed a laboratory scale facility, the hot laboratory, and experimented with the PUREX process. These experiments included testing solvent extraction techniques for the recovery of uranium, and the co-ordination chemistry of uranium. The hot laboratory was housed in two hot cells that were shielded with lead. These early experiments were performed in collaboration with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research located in Lillestrom, Norway. Much of the experimentation was performed at the Norway facility. In 1965 scientists reported on their experiments to separate americium, thorium, and plutonium by anion exchange, and to purify and prepare americium and plutonium solutions based on the same process. The status of the hot laboratory is not known.

In addition to other research performed at the institute, staff may have also conducted research in fuel fabrication at the Laboratory for Reactor Materials, and heavy water production at its Chemistry Division.

Sources:
[1] "Vinča Institute," Vinča Institute, www.vin.bg.ac.yu; Slobodan Nakicenovic, Nuclear Energy in Yugoslavia, (Beograd: Export Press, 1961), p. 33.
[2] "Well armed and Very Dangerous," Los Angeles Times, 4 April 1999.
[3] "Vinča Institute," Vinča Institute, www.vin.bg.ac.yu.
[4] M. Susic, etal., "Separation of Uranium From Rare Earths and Some Other Elements by Extraction with Tri-n-Butyl Phosphate," Bulletin of the Boris Kidrich Institute of Nuclear Science, 1957, Vol. 7, p. 35-38; A. Tolic, "Laboratory Apparatus for Processing Uranium Fuel by Extraction I. Description of Apparatus," Tehnika, 1967, Vol. 22, p. 131-134.
[5] D. Grenij and B. Matkovij, "The Complexing of Tetravalent Uranium with Dialkylpyrophosphoric Acid," Journal of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, 1959, Vol. 12, p. 149-153.
[6] Z. Dizdar and D.H.W. den Boer, "Isolation of Plutonium by a Solvent Extraction Method," JENER-Report No. 45, 1956; Z. Dizdar and D.H.W. den Boer, "Purification of Plutonium by a Cation Exchanger," Journal of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, 1956, Vol. 3, p. 323-325; V. Dizdar, "The Use of Pulse Columns for the Separation of Uranium Fission Products and Plutonium," Tehnika, 1958, Vol. 2, p. 281-285.
[7] D. Cjieticanin and S. Ratkovic, Bulletin of Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Science, Belgrade 16, 1965, p. 233
[8] Andrew Koch, "Yugoslavia's Nuclear Legacy: Should We Worry?" The Nonproliferation Review, Spring/Summer 1997, www.nonproliferation.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.