Russian PM astonished

Murmansk County Governor Yuriy Evdokimov met Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin in Moscow on October 24. The meeting addressed the issues of nuclear safety on the Kola Peninsula in particular.

The first problem the governor brought up with the PM was how to complete Kola Nuclear Power Plant-2. The two oldest reactors at Kola NPP are to be taken out of operation by the year 2005. While funding of the new plant remains quite scarce, the existing Kola NPP regularly transfers funds to the centralised United Energy Systems of Russia. The governor asked Chernomyrdin to leave a part of these funds in the county. This suggestion was approved; thus neglecting previous reports to the effect that the Kola administration would rather use gas as the main power source in the county.

The Russian PM was astonished to be informed that there are pending nuclear safety issues on the Kola Peninsula, but consequently agreed to create a special venture to take care of the problems. No funding was promised for this, though.

Meanwhile, a special co-ordination council was created by the Murmansk county administration this September. The council is to comprise representatives from the administration, the Northern Fleet and the Engineering Centre for Environmental Safety recently established in Zapadnaya Litsa. The primary focus of the council will be the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Andreeva Guba in Zapadnaya Litsa, a project for which no funding has been granted.

— First of all we willl start a search for money. We plan to apply to the Ministry of Economy for some 2.6 million USD to get the storage facility in order. Then we’ll contact research organisations in order to work out viable technologies for reconstruction and partly decommissioning of the storage facility, said head of the Engineering Centre for Environmental Safety ,Victor Khatsrevin, in an interview with daily Murmansk.

As the urgency of the nuclear safety situation in Russia should be pretty well known world wide by now, one has to wonder just where the Russian PM has spent the latter years….

Igor Kudrik

igor@bellona.no