Kamchatka Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base - Vilyuchinsk (Вилючинск)

Kamchatka Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base (Vilyuchinsk (Вилючинск))

Russia / Kamcatka / Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy / Vilyuchinsk (Вилючинск)
 military, navy, base, submarine

Kamchatka Rybachiy (Камчатская Рыбачий)Russia's Pacific Fleet Submarine Base

Southern edge of the Krasheninnikova Peninsula, across Krasheninnikova Bay from Vilyuchinsk, near Petropavlovsk
[Richard H. Rowland, "Secret Cities of Russia and Kazakhstan in 1998," Post-Soviet Geography and Economics, Vol. 40, No. 4, 1999, pp. 281-304.]

Nuclear-powered submarines have operated out of Rybachiy base since the mid-1960s. By the late 1980s, Rybachiy had become Russia's largest nuclear submarine facility, serving as the home port to 15 Soviet SSBNs. However, a decade later (as of March 1998), this number had dropped to nine active-duty SSBNs (all Delta IIIs), after the withdrawal from service of three Delta Is and three Yankee Is between 1993 and 1997.[1, 2] By 1999, the number of active SSBNs had dropped to four, with at least one decommissioned SSBN (likely a Yankee) remaining in Kamchatka.[6]

However, the July 2000 START MOU counts 9 Delta IIIs and 1 Delta I at Rybachiy. For more information on START numbers, see the START I Treaty SLBM and SSBN Tables section. If the Pavlovsk Bay nuclear submarine base in Primorye closes in accordance with a May 2000 Russian General Staff decree, one active-duty Shchuka-class (NATO name 'Victor-III') SSN from Pavlovsk will likely be transferred to Kamchatka. (For more information, see the 10/13/2000 entry under Pavlovsk Bay developments.)[7]

As of 1999, the following active-duty submarines were based at Rybachiy: four Delta III SSBNs (K-496, K-506, K-211, and K-180, commissioned 1979-1980), six Oscar II SSGNs (including K-119 Tambov, commissioned in 1988; K-442, probably named Tomsk; K-456 Vilyuchinsk (ex-Kasatka); K-186 Omsk (may have been renamed Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy); and K-512 Georgiy Pobedonosets (ex-Tomsk)), five Akula Is (K-263 Delfin, K-391 Kit, K-331 Narval, K-419 Kuguar, and K-295 Samara (ex-Drakon)), and one Akula II (K-267 Nerpa).[3,4,5]

A worsening problem at the base is the growing number of decommissioned and out-of-service submarines docked there. As of December 2000, there were reportedly 17 decommissioned submarines in Krasheninnikova Bay, of which only three had been defueled.[8] The lack of dismantlement equipment at the facility remains a severe problem, as does the facility's dependence on warm weather sea links to Primorskiy Kray naval facilities for needed supplies.

Radiation does not exceed ambient levels in most of Krasheninnikova Bay. Tests indicate that the closed part of the bay near the Rybachiy base has very slightly elevated radiation levels of 8 Bq/kg.[8]

[1] The Monterey Institute of International Studies and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Nuclear Successor States of the Soviet Union: Status Report on Nuclear Weapons, Fissile Material, and Export Controls, No. 5, March 1998, p. 17.
[2] Joshua Handler, "The Russian Naval Nuclear Complex," in Busmann, Meier, and Nassauer, eds., The Nuclear Legacy of the Former Soviet Union: Implications for Security and Ecology, BITS Research Report 97.1, November 1997, p. 33.
[3] Jane's Fighting Ships 1999/2000 (Coulsdon, Surrey, UK; Alexandria, VA: Jane's Information Group, 1999), pp. 558-571.
[4] Thomas Nilsen, Igor Kudrik and Aleksandr Nikitin, "Chapter 2: Nuclear-powered vessels," The Russian Northern Fleet, Bellona Foundation website, www.bellona.no/e/russia/nfl/.
[5] Andrey Bondarenko, "Tikhookeanskiy 'Drakon' stal 'Samaroy'," Nezavisimaya gazeta, 11 May 2000, news.mosinfo.ru. {Entered 5/12/00 CC}
[6] NISNP correspondence with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory personnel, May 2000.
[7] Yevgeniya Lents, "I na Tikhom okeane svoy zakonchili pokhod. Na Dalnem Vostoke rasformirovyvayetsya flotiliya podvodnykh lodok ," Segodnya,13 October 2000; in Integrum Techno, www.integrum.ru.{Updated 5/7/2001 CC}
[8] V.A. Danilyan, V.L.Vysotskiy, A.A. Maksimov, and Yu. V. Sivintsev, "Vliyaniye utilizatsii atomnykh podvodnykh lodok na radioekologicheskuyu obstonovku v Dalnevostochnom regione," Atomnaya energiya, Vol. 89, No. 6 (December 2000), pp. 454-474.{Updated 6/14/2001 CC}
Nearby cities: Monbetsu, Wakkanai, Kushiro
Coordinates:   52°55'9"N   158°29'32"E
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