Bellona presents two new documents at radiation safety forum in Northwest Russia

Publish date: November 16, 2009

Translated by: Charles Digges

MURMANSK – Bellona presented two documents dealing with radiation safety in Northwest Russia on the eve of a dialogue forum between Bellona and Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and which question a state fund for radiation safety and the situation at the notorious Northern Fleet nuclear waste dump at Andreyeva Bay.

The two documents were aimed specifically at the Russian Government Federal Target Plan on “Nuclear and Radiation Safety,” and at the history and current state of affairs at Andreyeva Bay, one of the most dangerous radiological hazards on the Kola Peninsula.

At Monday’s press conference in Murmansk, Bellona experts spoke of their hopes for the forum with Rosatom.

Bellona said it hoped to get answers to questions on the Federal Target Programme – a special extra-budgetary expenditure – on nuclear and radiation safety.

“For the first time Russia has earmarked a significant amount of money – 150 billion roubles ($5.2 billion) from the federal budget – to solve such probems,” said Alexander Nikitin, chairman of the Environment and Rights Centre Bellona, Bellona’s St. Petersburg office.  

Nikitin wryly described the goal of the extra-budgetary programme as guaranteeing problems by securing nuclear and radiation safety. The programme includes a number of provisions for developing spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, which will simply increase the number of nuclear and radiological hazards the programme is designed to tackle.

Bellona has prepared new working material on the completion ot the Federal Target Plan entitled “The Most Expensive Programme to Save Russia from its Atomic Past,” (download PDF to right in Russian) which is being presented at the forum.

The Group of Eight (G-8) developed nations’ Global Partnership, under which the groups members pledged $20 billion over 10 years to Russia at the 2002 Kananaskis, Canada summit for weapons of mass destruction dismantlement and disposal, the the partnership will soon expire, Bellona Oslo’s executive director and nuclear physicists, Nils Bøhmer.

“Despite the fact that a lot of money has been spent, there has been, to this point, very little done in Northwest Russia on issues of dealing with spent nuclear fuel,” said Bøhmer.

The situation at Andreyeva Bay still remains dangerous as its emergency spent nuclear fuel facilities continue age. At the forum with Rosatom, Bellona presented a document entitled “Nuclear Bay Andreyeva,” in which Bellona cites a detailed list of accidents at the Andreyeva Bay facility, analyses of the present environmental situation, lays out its own position on the applied technology, technical and economic solutions, and gives an evaluation of what has been done to make the shoreline technical base safe over the 14 years since Bellona first sounded the alarm about the facility.

Bellona’s Bøhmer considers one of Bellona’s tasks to be to continue working to draw the attention of the world to a solution for the problem of nuclear and radioactive safety in Northwest Russia, and continuing international finance programmes to help in that effort.   

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