Solution to question of responsibility within 1997

Publish date: October 23, 1997

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

Minatom and the Russian state Duma are agreeing on giving exemption from responsibility to western companies involved with nuclear projects in Russia before the end of the year. This according to Vitaly Shelest, councellor for the northern areas in the Duma, in an interview with Bellona Web.

Several projects on nuclear security on the Kola Peninsula have been postponed lately, due to western companies demanding exemption from responsibility in case their equipment should be involved in accidents at the nuclear installations. Disagreement on the responsibility question caused the Lepse project in Murmansk to enter a stand-still several months ago. Several other projects involving delivery of western security equipment to Russian nuclear power plants have been delayed due to similar disagreements.

–The Russian ministry for nuclear energy – Minatom – has recommended that the Duma exempts from import duty all western equipment delivered to Russian nuclear plants and aimed at improving security, and that the companies delivering such equipment shall bear no responsibility if something goes wrong after the equipment has been put to use, says Vitaly Shelest. He adds that a decision on this should be taken by the Duma before the year’s end.

French company SGN, which has developed special equipment to lift out the used nuclear fuel from radwaste storage ship Lepse in Murmansk, has put exemption from responsibility as a required condition for applying the equipment.