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Officer Died at Explosion of Nuclear Object in Romania

Officer Died at Explosion of Nuclear Object in Romania

Explosion took place on February, 23rd in Bucharest at a factory specializing on nuclear, biological and chemical researches, Associated Press referring to the Ministry of Defence of Romania informs. According to Ministry of Defence, as a result of explosion one person died - 37-years-old officer, expert on explosive Оktavian Viorel Michaj.


According to the representative of the ministry, there's no danger to the population.


However there are questions of different sort. What does it mean "factory" which specializes on nuclear researches? Researches usually are being carried out by scientific research institutes, while factories - are occupied with manufacture. What does the factory in Bucharest produce? Whether connection of Romania to nuclear club awaits us - the fact that there are still claims of this country for the territory of the former USSR after World War II is known - it's enough to recollect events in Moldova in 90th or recent claim to Ukraine in relation to the island Zmeinij.


At the end of 80th years there appeared data that Romania within the framework of the program on nuclear power had concrete program directed on creation of nuclear weapon before the beginning of 2000. Really, in 1985 the Romanian management put the tasks to study an opportunity of creation of nuclear weapon and the Romanian scientists - nuclear physicists mastered technology of reception of plutonium.


Inspection of the Romanian nuclear objects carried out by IAEA in 1990 and 1992 showed that starting from 1985 Romania carried out secret experiments on chemical manufacture of weapon plutonium (with use of the American nuclear reactor model TRIGA) and small quantity of the enriched uranium, also of the American origin.


Successful results of work gave Ceausescu basis to declare officially in May, 1989 that from the technical point of view Romania was capable to make nuclear weapon. Industrial plant with production capacity up to 1 kg of weapon plutonium a year with the prospect of its use as a warhead on rockets of average range such as SKAD (of own manufacture or purchased in Northern Korea and China) was created in Pishet.


Till 1990 chemical combine in Pishet produced 585 tons of nuclear fuel. In August, 1991 Romania bought the license from Canadian concern AECL for full manufacturing techniques of nuclear fuel. There are long term planns to process again it and already available stocks. There's the Atomic Energy Research Institute in the village Kolibash, suburb of Pishet where they produce fuel pins.


At the present moment with the help of the USA and Canada Institute is being redesigned on activity in the field of perfection of technology of own manufacture of nuclear fuel for atomic power station at chemical combine in the same city. The basic warehouse of radioactive materials is situated in Bihor district. Heavy water is being produced in Turnu-Megurele at chemical combine in Drobeta Тurnu-Severin. 140 tons has been already received, besides another 335 tons has been purchased in Canada.


In 1991 Romania agreed to put nuclear objects and centers of nuclear researches under full control of IAEA, it also agreed to carrying out of universal inspections of any objects. By results of inspection of IAEA of nuclear objects of Romania in April - May, 1992 during which 470 g of plutonium were found in confidential laboratory of the Atomic Energy Research Institute in Pishet, at session of Board of Governors IAEA on June, 17, 1992 Bucharest was made a warning about necessity of full winding down of nuclear military program in the shortest terms, a number of requirements were put forward:


  • full termination of nuclear researches in military purposes and destruction of industrial equipment intended for these purposes,
  • installation of control devices of IAEA in the Atomic Energy Research Institute in Pishet and on atomic power station Chernavoda,
  • acceptance of urgent legislative and administrative measures to control nuclear activity,
  • creation of uniform body to control nuclear activity subordinated directly to the prime minister,
  • placing of all nuclear objects under control of IAEA,
 • official confirmation of strict observance of the international agreements by Romania on non-distribution of the weapon of mass destruction.



All those conditions were executed by Bucharest, it was confirmed by the check of delegation of IAEA in April, 1994. On results of the check of Romania it was authorized to renew activity of nuclear centers in redesigned view, to get nuclear fuel for the first reactor of atomic power station Chernavoda in Canada and the USA and to renew manufacture of heavy water.


However there is no guarantee that the Romanian military nuclear program has been completely finished. Romania behaves not very correctly in other fields of defensive industry, say, it's known for piracy modernization of some former Soviet systems of arms, in particular, of aviation technics.


Also in 2003 Russia took 13,5 kg of weapon-grade uranium out of Romania which was stored on unsafe nuclear object of Soviet times. That secret operation was paid by the United States which considered such operations anticipatory impact on the threat of nuclear terrorism, Washington Post informed. Uranus stored in the Atomic Energy Research Institute in Pitesti to the West from Bucharest in the quantity sufficient for creation of nuclear bomb was taken out from Romania and delivered to Novosibirsk.


However, other surprises are also possible.


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