Siberian Chemical Combine (SKhK)

View All Russia Facilities

Last Updated: March 6, 2013
Other Name: (ОАО) Сибирский химический комбинат, СХК; JSC SGChE, SCC
Location: Seversk, Tomsk Oblast
Subordinate To: TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom
Size: Approximately 7,500 employees
Facility Status: Operational

Established in 1953 in Tomsk-7 (now known as Seversk), the Siberian Chemical Combine (SKhK) played an important role in the Soviet nuclear weapons program. The facility produced plutoniumand highly enriched uranium (HEU), and fabricated HEU and plutonium warhead components. [1] Five plutonium production reactors, a reprocessing facility, a uranium enrichment plant, and a chemical and metallurgical weapon-component production plant were in operation at SKhK. 2] There were also fissile materials storage facilities.

Since Rosatom consolidated its weapons-related activities, SKhK is no longer formally involved in the production of nuclear warheads. Its HEU production ceased, and its last plutonium production reactor was shut down in 2008. [3] Rosatom has contemplated moving back to SKhK the plutonium component fabrication that had been previously consolidated at the Mayak plant in Ozersk. However, this decision was cancelled. [4] Studies suggest that, despite the halt of all weapons-related production activities at the facility, SKhK remains a major site for the storage and handling of weapon-usable fissile materials and nuclear weapons components. [5]

At present SKhK produces uranium feedstock and enriched uranium, converts and stores fissile materials, and produces thermal and electric power for Seversk as well as Tomsk Oblast. [6] In addition to supplying some of Russia's domestic LEU fuel needs, SKhK enriches reprocessed uranium for foreign customers. Under the U.S.-Russia HEU-LEU program, SKhK also purifies and converts weapon-grade HEU to uranium oxide, converts it to uranium hexafluoride (UF6), and downblends it. [7] Moreover, there is also a plutonium storage facility and an MHR high-temperature gas-cooled reactor under development at SKhK as part of U.S.-Russian technical cooperation on plutonium disposition. [8] Lab-to-lab work under the Department of Energy's material protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) Program has been ongoing since 1996. [9]

Finally, reports also note that Seversk is one of the largest sites storing low- and intermediate- level wastes from reprocessing, with more than 30 million cubic meters stored via deep-well injection. [10]

Sources:
[1] Oleg Bukharin, "Downsizing Russia's Nuclear Warhead Production Infrastructure," The Nonproliferation Review, Spring 2001, pg. 117.
[2] Pavel Podvig, "Consolidating Fissile Materials in Russia's Nuclear Complex," IPFM research report, May 2009, pg. 11, www.ipfm.org.
[3] Pavel Podvig, "Russia No Longer Produces Weapon Materials," IPFM blog, 15 April 2010, fissilematerials.org.
[4] Pavel Podvig, "Consolidating Fissile Materials in Russia's Nuclear Complex," IPFM research report, May 2009, pg. 7, www.ipfm.org
[5] Pavel Podvig, "Consolidating Fissile Materials in Russia's Nuclear Complex," IPFM research report, May 2009, pg. 12, www.ipfm.org
[6] "Общая информация об ОАО «СХК»" [General information about OJSC SKKh], 2011 Annual Report, www.atomsib.ru.
[7] Pavel Podvig, "Consolidating Fissile Materials in Russia's Nuclear Complex," IPFM research report, May 2009, pg. 12, www.ipfm.org
[8] "Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle," World Nuclear Association, August 2012, www.world-nuclear.org.
[9] Cheryl Rodriguez et al, "Operational Experience: Upgraded MPC&A Systems for the Radiochemical Plant of the Siberian Chemical Combine," Brookhaven National Laboratory paper, 2004, www.bnl.gov.
[10] "Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle," World Nuclear Association, August 2012, www.world-nuclear.org.

Country Profile
Flag of Russia
Russia

This article provides an overview of Russia’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

View Country Profile →

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2016.