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Radioactive pollution remains one of worst problems in Russia’s Arctic - nature minister

December 16, 2014, 13:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The main factors are radioactive fallouts following nuclear weapons tests, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster and radioactive waste brought to the Arctic by the Gulfstream current

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© ITAR-TASS/Press Service of Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences

MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. Radioactive pollution of the Arctic seas remains one of the worst problems of Russia’s Arctic, Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy told a session of the Russian Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.

“Apart from radioactive fallouts following nuclear weapons tests and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster there are other major factors for this problem, such as the flow of Atlantic waters along the western coast of Norway with the Gulfstream current, which brings radioactive waste from the Western-European industries recycling spent nuclear fuel,” Donskoy said.

Also, he recalled the Soviet-era dumps of radioactive waste.

“The USSR was dumping radioactive waste in the Kara Sea,” he recalled. “On the bottom of the Arctic seas there lie three nuclear-powered submarines and also other items containing spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, such as one nuclear reactor, five nuclear reactor compartments from submarines, 19 ships with waste on board and 17 containers with radioactive waste.”

Donskoy said Russia and Norway conducted joint research in 2012 to find out that the level of radioactive pollution in these areas was rather low, much lower than that identified in the course of previous Russian-Norwegian expeditions in the early 1990s.

“The analysis of obtained data shows that the presence of radioactive substances in the area of sunken submarines is no higher than the natural background of the Barents Sea. There are no radioactive leaks into the sea water from the examined reactors now,” Donskoi said.

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