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Russia will scrap five nuclear submarines decommissioned from the Pacific Fleet by 2010 under a joint project with Japan, a Japanese deputy foreign minister quoted by RIA Novosti said Tuesday.

The Victor class vessels will be dismantled under the Star of Hope program for the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines in Russia’s Far East, which was adopted in 2003 during a visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Russia.

Deputy Foreign Minister Shintaro Ito told a news conference in Vladivostok, where the headquarters of the Russian Pacific Fleet are located, that Japan had allocated 20 billion yen (about $171 million) for the project.

The diplomat, who will be in Russia until Friday, said the dismantling of the first decommissioned Victor I nuclear submarine under the project would start in the near future at the Zvezda Shipyard, in a suburb of Vladivostok, and would take about 10 months.

During the dismantlement process spent nuclear fuel is removed from the submarine’s reactors and sent to storage, the hull is cut into three sections, and the bow and stern sections are removed and destroyed. The reactor section is sealed and transferred to storage.

There are about 30 decommissioned nuclear submarines moored at various ports in the Russian Far East.

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