EBRD to infuse Lepse dismantlement project with cash

Publish date: February 8, 2008

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to fund the first part of a nuclear waste cleanup project of the “Lepse” nuclear service ship, the Barents Observer regional newspaper reported.

The waste-laden ship, which is moored in the Kola Bay, poses a major threat against the city of Murmansk, environmental organizations including Bellona, say.

Project manager Nikolai Shunkov was quoted in the paper as saying the first phase of the project included elaborating documentation and preparting the Nerpa Shipyard in Sneznogorsk near Murmansk to handle the delicate work.

Representatives of the Aspekt-Konversia company confirmed to the paper that a grant agreement will be signed with the EBRD in late February or early March this year.

The technical support vessel Lepse presents the biggest nuclear and radiation risk of all retired nuclear service ships in Russia, Bellona has reported. In 1988, the vessel was taken out of service. The Lepse’s spent nuclear fuel hull holds 639 spent fuel assemblies in casks and caissons, and a significant portion of them is severely damaged, dramatically complicating procedures for safely removing them.