Spent fuel containers should not be exposed to the arctic winter

Publish date: October 22, 1997

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

Last week Bellona Web reported on the discouraging situation at the Northern Fleet main storage site for radioactive wastes, were spent nuclear fuel containers are stored in the open. Now the chief nuclear inspector in Murmansk confirms that the containers should not be trusted to stand the Arctic winter.

Chief inspector for Russian nuclear authorities in the Murmansk region, Vladilen Golubev, says that the containers of high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel exposed to the open air at Andreeva Bay on the Kola Peninsula, are among the most urgent clean-up jobs facing Kola authorities. To Reuters Golubev stated that the containers were in good condition, but should not be exposed to the elements or the fierce arctic winter. The first snow-fall came to the area last week.

–The containers were meant to be dumped in the sea, but that has been forbidden since 1993, Golubed said. Both Norwegian and US officials hava stated that they are very concerned with the open air storage in Andreeva Bay, but so far Russian authorities has denied international inspection of the site, on the pretext that site details should be regarded as military secrets.