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Russia plans to build radioactive waste storage on Arctic islands of Novaya Zemlya

November 25, 2015, 17:26 UTC+3 ARKHANGELSK
Until 1992, the waters off the coast of the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya had been the main area for sinking solid radioactive waste from the Soviet nuclear vessels based in the North
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Saverkin

ARKHANGELSK, November 25. /TASS/. Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear corporation intends to build a low-and medium-level radioactive waste disposal facility in the area of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Rosatom’s relevant request is to be considered on Wednesday by deputies of the Arkhangelsk regional assembly.

The press service of the regional assembly reported that before the session the lawmakers held a roundtable discussion to discuss the project. Deputy head of Rosatom department for work with regions Andrei Polosin said: "We do not plan to build this facility right now. We just need a permission to conduct additional studies." "To get started, we need seven years. It’s a very big project, requiring many different approvals," he added.

According to experts, about 50 tonnes of radioactive waste from the operation of nuclear-powered submarines in Severodvinsk have been accumulated in the Arkhangelsk region. The construction of a waste disposal facility on Novaya Zemlya would attract additional investment to the region and create new jobs.

Until 1992, the sea off the coast of the Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya had been the main area for sinking solid radioactive waste from the Soviet military and civilian nuclear vessels based in the North. A total of about 17,000 containers with solid radioactive waste, as well as 16 nuclear reactors from submarines and icebreakers were sunk in the Arctic. In 1982, the K-27 emergency nuclear submarine with unloaded reactor was sunk in Stepovoi Bay. The radiation situation in these areas is regularly monitored by expeditions of the Emergency Situations Ministry and the Russian Academy of Sciences. According to their data, solid radioactive waste dumped during the Soviet years off the coast of Novaya Zemlya at present poses no threat to the environment, but requires constant monitoring.

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