Radwaste situation on Kola Peninsula pending haste solutions

Publish date: May 11, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

A state commission headed by Yevgeny Adamov, the Minister for Atomic Energy of Russia, and Nikolay Mikhailov, Deputy Defence Minister, was on a working trip in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk counties last week. The high-ranking officials were getting familiar with the maritime radwaste and spent nuclear fuel handling issues in the region.

The purpose of our visit is to accelerate defuelling and decommissioning of laid up submarines, said Yevgeny Adamov, Minister for Atomic Energy, in an interview to Murmansk daily Polyarnaya Pravda.

The state commission arrived on May 4 to the Kola Peninsula and departured to Severodvinsk in the evening on May 5. In Severodvinsk, the commission spent the whole day on May 6.

On the Kola Peninsula, the commission visited Andreeva Bay, where the only Northern Fleet’s operational storage facility for spent nuclear fuel is located. In Severodvinsk, the high-ranking guests were guided around Zvezdochka plant, the recent years heavily engaged into decommissioning of nuclear powered submarines.

Yevgeny Adamov stated at a press conference in Severodvinsk that his ministry has full responsibility for handling of maritime radwaste and spent nuclear fuel. This trip, according to Adamov, would help to complete a program for handling radwaste and spent nuclear fuel in the northwest Russia. The time-period for implementation of the program is set to be from 1998 till the year 2005. The program was submitted by Atomic Ministry’s institutes at a workshop in Moscow on April 2 this year.

According to Vyacheslav Popov, Vice-Admiral in the Northern Fleet, there are 95 nuclear powered submarines pulled out of service in the north. Only 26 of them have been defuelled. The situation at different storage sites is close to an emergency.

The trip of the high ranking officials is an apparent follow-up of the recent developments in transfer of responsibility for Navy’s radwaste and spent nuclear fuel handling to the Ministry for Atomic Energy of Russia.