Nuclear clean-up works at the Russian navy sites can take 20 years

Publish date: April 1, 2005

Sergey Antipov, deputy head of the Federal Nuclear Power Agency, said on March 25 it would take from 15 to 20 years to tackle the harmful consequences of the activity of Russia's nuclear fleet.

“We estimate that it will take until 2010 to dismantle decommissioned nuclear submarines,” Interfax quoted him saying. “But that is just for the submarines. Regarding the liquidation of all the harmful consequences of the nuclear fleet’s activity, it will take at least 15 or 20 years.” The main problem for Federal Nuclear Power Agency is to clean up coastal navy bases that have big amounts of liquid and solid radioactive waste from nuclear submarines stored on their territory, Antipov said.

Of the 250 nuclear submarines built by Russia and the Soviet Union, 195 have been decommissioned. All radioactive materials have been removed from 111 of these. It is expected that more submarines will be decommissioned off in the near future, according to Federal Nuclear Power Agency. “But these will be single vessels. There will not be such a fast rate of decommissioning as there was before,” Antipov said.