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Home* News and Stories → Rus­si­an nuclear was­te in polar seas

Rus­si­an nuclear was­te in polar seas

The Sov­jet Uni­on has „depo­si­ted“ vast amounts of radio­ac­ti­ve sub­s­tan­ces on the sea bot­tom in the Rus­si­an sec­tor of the Bar­ents Sea and the Kara Sea (east of Nova­ya Zem­lya), inclu­ding nuclear was­te, reac­tors from sub­ma­ri­nes and ships and ves­sels with nuclear com­pon­ents or car­go that sank or were sunk. This is gene­ral­ly no news. Now, Rus­si­an aut­ho­ri­ties have made an inven­to­ry list of nuclear sub­s­tan­ces on sea bot­toms adja­cent to Nor­we­gi­an waters avail­ab­le to Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties. The quan­ti­ties have sur­pri­sed even insi­ders. On the list are not, as belie­ved so far, 11,000 con­tai­ners with nuclear was­te, but at least 17,000 (yes, sevent­housand), addi­tio­nal­ly 19 ships with nuclear car­go, 5 reac­tor sec­tions, 3 nuclear sub­ma­ri­nes, nuclear fuel from the ice­brea­ker Lenin and „735 other radio­ac­ti­ve units“, wha­te­ver this means. And of cour­se nobo­dy knows if this list is com­pre­hen­si­ve.

Now, Rus­si­an and Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties make joint efforts to map the exact posi­ti­ons and con­di­ti­ons of the nuclear gra­vey­ards.

So far, inves­ti­ga­ti­ons have pro­ven the waters and bio­ta of the Bar­ents Sea to have very low levels of radio­ac­ti­vi­ty. This may chan­ge, when reac­tors or con­tai­ners are dama­ged in the future. In sin­gle cases, even the deve­lo­p­ment of chain reac­tions up to nuclear explo­si­ons is belie­ved to be pos­si­ble by envi­ron­men­ta­lists. Offi­cials have not con­fir­med this.

Lar­ge efforts have alrea­dy been made, also with finan­cial and prac­ti­cal sup­port from the EU and Nor­way, to retrea­ve radio­ac­ti­ve wrecks, reac­tors and was­te from the coasts of the Kola Pen­in­su­la. The efforts are obvious­ly to be incre­a­sed and con­ti­nued to avoid major dis­as­ters for envi­ron­ment and peop­le. The long-term dis­po­sal of radio­ac­ti­ve is a ques­ti­on with very serious impli­ca­ti­ons for envi­ron­ment and socie­ties and so far an unans­we­red ques­ti­on.

The Rus­si­an nuclear ice­brea­ker Yamal, 2004 in Franz Josef Land. Foto © Chris­ti­ne Rein­ke-Kun­ze.

Russian nuclear waste in polar seas

Source: Aften­pos­ten, 28 August 2012

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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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