UK gives Murmansk 15 million pounds for spent nuclear fuel facility

Publish date: August 26, 2004

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced on June 25th a £15 million grant to Russia to help pay for a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.

According to the UK Government News Network, the money is part of the UK’s contribution to a $20 billion pledge by G8 countries designed to counter proliferation of nuclear material, nuclear safety and ecological concerns in the former Soviet Union. It builds on £33 million already committed by the UK Government.

The money will be used to pay for an interim nuclear storage facility and 50 storage casts at Atomflot base in Murmansk. This will allow spent fuel currently being stored on board the Lotta, a nuclear fuel supply ship, to be safely stored on shore. It will also allow the Lotta to collect further fuel from outlying sites such as Andreeva Bay for safer storage. Speaking from Moscow where she was on an official visit , Ms Hewitt said: “The spent nuclear fuel at Atomflot presents a major nuclear security and environmental concern for the area. Securing it safely on land is a high priority for the Russian Federation and the wider international community. I am pleased the UK is able to help as part of its G8 commitment.” Construction is due to start this autumn, with completion due early 2006.

In 2002 G8 Leaders pledged to provide up to $20billion over 10 years for a new global partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The Prime Minister announced that the UK would make up to $750 million available to fund projects in pursuit of the partnership’s aims.

According to the UK Government News Network, Great Britain’s funded work in North West Russia includes:

– £2 million on management of spent nuclear fuel stocks at Andreeva

Bay, a former waste nuclear materials site for the Russian Navy.

– £11.5 to dismantle two nuclear submarines, The Murmansk and The Archangel.

– £5 million on development of technical flotation solutions for transportation and storage of decommissioned submarines (funded jointly with the US and Norway – Arctic Military Environment Co-operation).

– £10 million contribution to the EU Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (to fund further environmental projects in north west Russia).

Other projects supported by the UK in Russia include:

– £5 million towards the Nuclear Safety Programme supporting some 26 projects to encourage the adoption of Western standards of safety and regulation for their operating plant as well as providing systems, training and expertise.

– More than 20 projects to to help retrain former weapon scientists and technicians with a commercial focus consistent with non-proliferation priorities.