National Research Center Kurchatov Institute

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Last Updated: May 13, 2014
Other Name: Национальный исследовательский центр "Курчатовский институт"
Location: Moscow
Subordinate To: Government of the Russian Federation
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

Established in 1943 as Laboratory No. 2 of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Kurchatov was tasked with the development of nuclear weapons. Since the 1950s, the Institute also has worked on peaceful nuclear energy technologies. It has designed reactors for military and civilian naval and space applications, developed microelectronics, and also created Russia's internet. [1] Designated a national research center in 1991, the Institute is also one of the four organizations comprising the pilot cooperation project at the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute, established in 2009. [2]

The Institute is focused on the study of thermonuclear fusion, plasma physics, solid state physics, and superconductivity. One of its newest projects is nanotechnology; the Kurchatov Institute is designated as the lead implementing research organization for Russia's national research and development strategy in this area. [3]

There are 5 operational research reactors and 9 critical assemblies on site at Kurchatov, all of which are powered by highly-enriched uranium fuel (HEU). [4] For an overview of Russia's HEU policy and the full list of Russia's facilities using HEU, see the Russia Civilian HEU profile.

The Institute has participated in materials protection, control, and accounting programs focused primarily on physical security. [5] Conversion to low-enriched uranium of some of these facilities is anticipated.

Sources:
[1] "О Центре - Курчатовский институт " [About the Center – Kurchatov Center], Национальный исследовательский центр "Курчатовский институт" [National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”], www.nrcki.ru.
[2] "О Центре - Курчатовский институт " [About the Center – Kurchatov Center], Национальный исследовательский центр "Курчатовский институт" [National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”], www.nrcki.ru.
[3] "О Центре - Курчатовский институт " [About the Center – Kurchatov Center], Национальный исследовательский центр "Курчатовский институт" [National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”], www.nrcki.ru.
[4] "Research Reactors: Russia," International Panel on Fissile Materials, www.fissilematerials.org.
[5] "Protection, Control and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs-Workshop Summary," National Research Council of the National Academies, 2006, p. 46.

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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.