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To supply nuclear icebreakers with modern filters, the Obninsk AeroFilter enterprise built a new workshop.AeroFilter is a small innovative enterprise that became widely known a year ago — its CEO Leonid Katukhin received a government award in the field of science and technology with the wording "for strengthening the strategic security of the state". Usually this high award is received by representatives of research institutes, large factories. Awarding a small enterprise with a government award is an unprecedented case. A year has passed. About successes and problems – our conversation with Leonid Katukhin .

— Leonid Fedorovich, your company is located in the innovation development zone on Krasnye Zor Street. There is a new building there this year. Are you expanding production? - yes. We will soon open a new workshop for the production of filtration equipment components for nuclear icebreaker reactors. Now our country is renewing its nuclear icebreaker fleet. Two modern icebreakers of the 22220 series are already operating on the Northern Sea Route, three more are at different stages of construction. Most of them are already equipped with our filtration systems, because when the reactor is ready for fuel loading, the filtration systems must be "in combat mode". We already supply spare parts of our systems and consumables for working icebreakers. Atomflot believes that at least 13 nuclear icebreakers will be required. The number of orders is growing, so we have increased the staff of the enterprise, this year we have opened five new highly qualified jobs. To date, AeroFilter LLC employs more than 30 people. I note that the filtering equipment is the company's own developments, protected by 11 patents.

— What else is new this year? — We started cooperating with the Trinity Institute of Innovative and Thermonuclear Research (TRINITY). The Institute is engaged in the disposal of nuclear installations decommissioned – a robot cuts them into pieces with a laser beam. The metal is radioactive. To protect the environment from radionuclides entering the air during the cutting process, we have developed special filtration systems. They are installed and work efficiently.

— Does cooperation with foreign nuclear power plants continue? - yes. AeroFilter LLC is equipped with filtering equipment for both power units of the Belarusian NPP. We have delivered equipment to the first unit of the Turkish Akkuyu NPP, in March 2023 it is planned to send filtration systems for the second unit. Obninsk equipment is installed at the Ruppur NPP under construction in Bangladesh. Despite this, Russian nuclear power plants are our priority customers. — Does your production depend on imported components? — Extremely dependent. Our filters used special paper, which is produced only in the EU. Deliveries have stopped. I had to switch to Chinese paper. Because of this, the technology of production of filtration plants has been changed so that they continue to reliably protect the environment from emissions. The problem is that manufacturers in the nuclear industry do not have the right to arbitrarily decide which materials to use. A lot of time and money was spent on coordinating the changes with the supervisory authorities of Rosenergoatom and obtaining permission from them. As a result, the problem is solved. Another problem. Our company has a testing laboratory that is unique in the country, certified by Rosatom, to check the reliability of filter equipment. We use special particle counters, they are produced only in the USA and nowhere else. These devices are included in the Russian state register of measuring instruments, and no other devices can be used in our case.

— Have you found a way out of the situation? — Yes, we are looking for a way to overcome the "obstacle course" with the help of logistics chains. It is long and expensive, but now there is no other way, and we are working to solve the problems that have arisen. The company does not wait for "weather by the sea", adapts to the changed conditions, and the chosen vector of development is ensured by the well-coordinated work of a team of professionals.

Source: Obninsk Bulletin newspaper

Author: A. Sobachkin