Norway puts up $24 million to help Andreyeva Bay clean up

Publish date: February 21, 2008

Norway is to provide $2.4 million (58 million roubles) for the overhaul of the notorious Andreyeva Bay nuclear waste storage facility in northern Russia, a spokesman for the Murmansk Region governor said on Thursday, RIA Novosti reported.

The plan was announced during a meeting between Governor Yury Yevdokimov and the governor of Norway’s Finnmark county, Gunnar Kjonnoy, in Kirkenes, a Norwegian town near the Russian border.

The funds will be used to renovate the area around the Andreyeva bay nuclear storage facility – where much waste is stored in the open air – located 48 kilometres from the Norwegian border.

Europe’s largest nuclear waste storage facility holds some 21,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies with 35 metric tons of radioactive materials, and 12,000 cubic meters of solid and liquid waste, mostly removed from nuclear powered submarines and icebreakers.

The storage facility was set up some 40 year ago as a provisional facility. Foreign partners, such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden, were invited in the early 2000s to make preparations for the removal of nuclear waste from the site.

International experts have repeatedly raised concerns over environmental threats posed by the facility. Poor maintenance and the severe Arctic climate could cause severe leakage into the bay, which is located on a Barents Sea.