The Russian Far East Governor seeks eviroloans in Japan

Publish date: February 17, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The Governor and the Chairman of Deputies Council of Primorsky county have applied to the government of Japan last week with request for loans to solve the environmental issues in the county related to nuclear subs decommissioning.

The Governor believes that annual allocations of 50 million USD a year would be enough to tackle the eviroproblems in the region, reported Vladivostok newspaper.

During trip to Moscow last week, the Governor and the Chairman of Deputies Council of Primorsky county in the Far East of Russian were granted audience at Japanese Embassy. At the meeting they filed a request addressed to the Japanese government asking for loans to tackle the issues of nuclear-powered submarines decommissioning in the Far East of Russia.

The decommissioning of nuclear-powered submarines is the Far East is proceeding in a slow motion due to, first of all, lack of funding. The rusty submarines and leaky radwaste storage facilities of the Pacific Fleet have become a matter of concern not only for the local authorities, but for the neighbouring Japan as well. Japan has been active in providing assistance to the region in terms of handling radwaste. Thus, a floating liquid waste processing facility with a price tag of 21 million USD provided by Japan was mantled at Zvezda naval shipyard last year.

According to Sergey Dudnik, the Chairman of Deputies Council of Primorsky county, the negotiations with the ambassador were of general character, no details were brought up. Nevertheless, Mr. Dudnik believes that the loans must be not less than 50 million USD a year. Having such an amount of money, the enviroproblems in the Far East related to subs decommissioning would be solved in 3-5 years to come.

The meeting with Japanese ambassador took place on the background of a controversial spy case against naval captain Gregory Pasko in the Far East of Russia. Captain Pasko was arrested by Russian security police (FSB) in November last year. He is investigated for espionage, although no official charges have been brought against him so far. Captain Pasko, who was working in the Pacific Fleet’s newspaper, has been very active in highlighting radwaste issues in the Far East of Russia. Almost two years ago, spring 1996, the Governor of Murmansk county also went to Moscow to give a press-conference and plead international funders to aid solving the submarines decommissioning issues on the Kola peninsula. The press-conference took place a few moths after the Bellona’s co-worker Aleksandr Nikitin was arrested by FSB and charged with espionage for co-authoring Bellona’s report on radiation safety issues in the Russian Northern Fleet.

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