Russia, Norway to continue cooperation in dismantling nuclear subs

Publish date: December 7, 2006

Russia's atomic energy agency, Rosatom, said on December 5 that a new five-year agreement it has signed with Norway's Foreign Ministry will further cooperation in dismantling Russian nuclear-powered submarines.

A Rosatom press release said Norway has pledged technical, technological and financial assistance in scrapping decommissioned submarines and other nuclear vessels of Russia’s Northern Fleet, as well as providing safe storage of reactor compartments and spent nuclear fuel.

Norway’s allocations for related projects will be made in amounts subject to approval by the country’s parliament.

Rosatom’s chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, said last week that Russia has dismantled 145 of its 197 decommissioned Soviet-era nuclear submarines, and that the remaining 50-odd vessels will be scrapped by 2010.

The United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, and Japan have also offered Russia their help in safely disposing of its decommissioned nuclear submarines.

All want to ensure that proliferation-sensitive components from the dismantled ships are not sold off to third countries, and that their spent fuel, which contains large amounts of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium, is removed and stored without harming the environment or public health.