British Foreign Office addresses Russian radwaste issues

Publish date: December 11, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted a seminar in London on 3 December to address the problems of nuclear waste in North-West Russia.

The seminar was among others attended by Murmansk County Governor Yury Yevdokimov and Russian Deputy Nuclear Minister Nikolay Yegorov and focused on issues of nuclear waste in North-West Russia pending urgent solution. The current Foreign Office activities in this field are limited by carrying out a project in the Kola region to develop interim storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel that cannot be reprocessed. The project is reportedly managed by BNFL (British Nuclear Fuel).

"The British Government is determined to tackle the problem. We are keen to work with them. So, too, is the British nuclear waste management industry," said Derek Fatchett, Foreign Office Minister of State.

The Murmansk County Governor expressed his hope during the talks that the allotted money would be spent on tackling concrete issues, rather than theoretical studies conducted by western institutions.

The EU countries have earmarked ECU 20-25 million to be spent in 1999 on various nuclear safety issues in Murmansk County.

The Kola region hosts the Northern Fleet with around 100 nuclear-powered submarines pulled out of service, Kola nuclear power plant and the nuclear-powered ice-breakers fleet operated by Murmansk Shipping Company.