Vinča Nuclear Institute

  (Redirected from Vinca Nuclear Institute)

Coordinates: 44°45′30″N 20°35′46″E / 44.7582923°N 20.5962003°E / 44.7582923; 20.5962003

The Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences is a nuclear physics research institution near Belgrade, Serbia.[4] Since its founding, the institute has also conducted research in the fields in physics, chemistry and biology. The scholarly institute is part of the University of Belgrade.[5]

Vinča Nuclear Institute
Native name
Винча Институт
Institute for Physics
Founded1 October 1948; 72 years ago (1948-10-01)
Key people
Zlatko Rakočević (Acting Director)
RevenueDecrease 16.77 million (2017)[1]
Increase €0.22 million (2017)[1]
Total assetsDecrease €25.20 million (2017)[2]
Total equityDecrease €11.67 million (2017)[2]
Number of employees
796 (2017)[3]


The institute was established in 1948 as the Institute for Physics. Several different research groups started in the 1950s, and two research reactors were built.[6]

The institute operates two research reactors; RA[7] and RB.[8] The research reactors were supplied by the USSR. The larger of the two reactors was rated at 6.5 MW and used Soviet-supplied 80% enriched uranium fuel.[9]

The nuclear research program ended in 1968, while the reactors were switched off in 1984.

1958 reactor incidentEdit

On 15 October 1958, there was a criticality accident at one of the research reactors. Six workers received large doses of radiation; one died shortly afterwards.[10] The other five received the first ever bone marrow transplants in Europe.[11][12]

Six young researchers, all between 24 and 26 years, were conducting an experiment on the reactor, and the results were to be used by one student for his thesis. At some point, they smelled the strong scent of ozone. It took them 10 minutes to discover the origin of the ozone, but by that time they were already irradiated. The news was briefly broadcast by the state agency Tanjug, but the news on the incident were then suppressed. The reasons included the position of state in the atmosphere of the Cold war division, but also a fact that the state commission concluded that the incident was caused by the carelessness and indiscipline of the researchers. The patients were first treated in Belgrade, under care of Dr. Vasa Janković. Thanks to the personal connections of the Institute director Pavle Savić, who was a collaborator of Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie, they were transferred to the Curie Institute in Paris.[13]

In Paris, they were treated by oncologist Georges Mathé. Five researchers were heavily radiated: Rosanda Dangubić, Života Vranić, Radojko Maksić, Draško Grujić and Stijepo Hajduković, while Živorad Bogojević received a low dose of radiation. Mathé operated on all five of them, performing the first successful allogeneic bone marrow transplant ever performed on unrelated human beings.[14] The donors were all French: Marcel Pabion, Albert Biron, Raymond Castanier and Odette Draghi, a mother of four young children. The fifth donor was Léon Schwartzenberg [fr], member of Mathé's team. On 11 November 1958, Maksić became the first man to receive a graft from an unrelated donor (Pabion). Out of five treated patients, only Vranić, died. The others recovered and returned to Belgrade to continue working in Vinča or other institutes. Several years later, Dangubić gave birth to a healthy baby girl.[13]

Removal of radioactive wasteEdit

In the 1980s, the waste was kept in the open. The waste was then transferred into two hangars, H1 and H2, while the ground was remediated. Until 1990, the waste from the entire country of Yugoslavia was stored in Vinča. H2 also harbors the barrels with the depleted uranium and DU bullets, remnants of the ammunition collected on four locations in south Serbia after the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia.[15]

Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences

In 2009, it was reported that the nuclear fuel storage pool, containing large quantities of radioactive waste, was in poor condition.[16]

In 2010, 2.5 tonnes of waste, including 13 kg of 80% enriched uranium, were transported from Vinča to a reprocessing facility at Mayak, Russia.[17] This was the IAEA's largest ever technical cooperation project, and thousands of police protected the convoys.[18][19]

Removal of the nuclear waste allows decommissioning of Vinča's remaining reactor to be completed.[20]

In 2012 the Law on radiation protection and nuclear safety was adopted. It envisioned that in maximum 10 years, that is by 2022, the waste from Vinča has to be transferred to the permanent and safe depository location. A new and modern hangar, H3, was built in the meantime but due to the legal procedures and licensing problems it is still closed. Though, it is meant to be only a transition location where the processed waste from H1 is to be kept before being transported to the permanent location. Still, as of 2018, a large quantities of nuclear waste remain in the Institute, the permanent location hasn't been selected, while the waste is not being treated and processed at all.[15]

The waste in Vinča is of low to mid-level radioactivity, which means it is potentially hazardous for the health and safety of wider area of Serbia, not just for Belgrade. Additionally, after removing all the radioactive waste, the institute can truly be transformed into the modern scientific-business park.[15]


  1. ^ a b "КОНСОЛИДОВАНИ БИЛАНС УСПЕХА (2017) - Vinča Institut". (in Serbian). Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "КОНСОЛИДОВАНИ БИЛАНС СТАЊА (2017) - Vinča Institut". (in Serbian). Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Izdanje 23. jun 2017. - broj 61" (PDF). (in Serbian). Službeni Glasnik RS. 23 June 2017. p. 38. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Vinca Special Weapons Facilities - Serbia". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  5. ^ "Members of the University of Belgrade - Vinča Institute of Nuclear Science". Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
  6. ^ "Vinca Special Weapons Facilities - Serbia". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  7. ^ "Former Yugoslavia: Research Reactor Details - RA". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  8. ^ "Former Yugoslavia: Research Reactor Details - RB". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  9. ^ "Q&A: Fuel Repatriation Project from Vinca Institute". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  10. ^ "1958-01-01". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  11. ^ Vinca reactor accident, 1958, compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
  12. ^ Nuove esplosioni a Fukushima: danni al nocciolo. Ue: “In Giappone l’apocalisse”, 14 marzo 2011
  13. ^ a b Budo Novović (16 October 2011), "Miris iz pedeset osme" [Scent from fifty-eight], Politika (in Serbian)
  14. ^ Douglas Martin (20 October 2010). "Dr. Georges Mathé, Transplant Pioneer, Dies at 88". New York Times.
  15. ^ a b c Aleksandar Apostolovski (12 February 2018). "Nuklearna sigurnost u zarđalim buradima" [Nuclear security in rusty barrels]. Politika (in Serbian). pp. 01 & 07.
  16. ^ Vasovic, Aleksandar (2009-06-23). "Serbs send nuclear fuel to Russia, citing security". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  17. ^ "NTI Commits $5 Million To Help Secure Vulnerable Nuclear Weapons Material" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  18. ^ "Serbia gets rid of dangerous nuclear material (". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  19. ^ "Massive Operation Safely Secures Serbian Nuclear Fuel in Russia". Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  20. ^ "Nuclear decommissioning of Vinča this year". Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2011-01-02.

External linksEdit