The initiative is part of Canada’s 1-billion Canadian dollars pledge under the G8-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
"Spent nuclear fuel in Russian submarine reactors presents an international security risk and an environmental threat to the Arctic and Barents Sea," said Mr. Pettigrew. "Funding this initiative is a key element of our international security agenda and a high priority for Canada under the G8 Global Partnership announced at Kananaskis." Russia currently has 56 retired nuclear submarines in the Barents Sea region awaiting disposal. Canada’s contribution will be to assist with the dismantlement of three Victor class nuclear submarines. Canada will be concluding at least three more similar annual agreements to support the dismantlement of 12 submarines at a total cost of approximately $116 million.
The recently concluded bilateral agreement between Canada and Russia provides the framework that governs Canada and Russia’s bilateral cooperation under the Global Partnership, and the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines is the first project under that agreement. This project complements Canada’s initial funding of $32 million for environmental remediation of Russia’s naval nuclear legacy via the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, previously announced by the Prime Minister in May 2003. Canada now joins the United Kingdom, Norway, Japan, Germany and the U.S. in funding Russian nuclear submarine dismantlement activity. Germany is funding infrastructure to safeguard empty nuclear reactors that are left after the dismantlement and nuclear defueling process.