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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Restructuring the Russian nuclear industry : the impact on nuclear safety and security culture Topalova, Viktoriya Mykolayvna


The thesis will challenge the assertion that the Ministry of the Russian Federation on Atomic Energy (Minatom) is the only reliable partner to deal with in the field of nuclear cooperation in Russia. The thesis argues that a post-Soviet period in the development of the nuclear industry of the Russian Federation saw the radical restructuring of the whole nuclear complex under the aegis of Minatom that changed fundamentally the basis upon which Russian nuclear industry rests. The thesis examines the approaches the Ministry has developed towards the problems of maintaining and implementing nuclear safety and security at its enterprises and facilities. A major difficulty with the nuclear safety and security debates in Russia, however, is the lack of publicly accessible statistical data on severe radiological problems in Russia and of operational analytical databases on the wide range of problems besieging the Russian nuclear industry. The thesis devises and employs institutional and cultural approaches to account for the structural and qualitative changes in Minatom's practices and behavior. Focusing on the role of its top management in the creation of a new self-image of the Ministry, the thesis examines the implications of the latter for the future of US-Russia nuclear cooperation. It will demonstrate that structural changes have had a negative effect on nuclear and radioactive safety in Russia. In terms of security culture, the thesis will show that little has been done and could be done so far in order to implement this critical parameter in the Ministry's functioning. The principal finding of this thesis is that structural changes in Minatom and the nuclear industry have been superficial, following the well-known pattern of changes of the late 1980s, which has not changed the Ministry's core structure and the way of thinking of the Russian top nuclear management.

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