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Liquid radwaste leakage confirmed

Publish date: August 23, 1999

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Incident on board naval tanker for liquid radwaste in the Russian Far East is officially confirmed.

Valery Maslakov, the manager of Zvezda shipyard, confirmed the incident on board a naval liquid radioactive waste tanker in the Russian Far East. Two weeks ago, Bellona Web reported on this incident which was largely denied by the local military and civilian officials.

Maslakov said in an interview with local daily Vladivostok that the Belyanka class tanker Pinega carried a container with 40 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste. During last winter the radioactive water froze because the boiler on board the ship was not operational. The container then cracked, leaving the water free to leak out as spring thawed it. The crew tried to drain the damaged container into an 800 cubic meter liquid waste storage tank, which was also on board. Something went wrong during this process, and a part of the radioactive water penetrated into compartments not outfitted to store radioactive water.

Maslakov said, however, that the reports on radioactive water discharges into the sea were not true.

The tanker is stationed in the vicinity of Zvezda shipyard, the city of Bol’shoy Kamen, in Ussuriyskiy Bay. A western designed barge equipped with a liquid waste processing facility is also stationed at the shipyard, pending final testing. Initial plans suggested that the barge would be put into operation in 1996.

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