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ARKHANGELSK, September 09. /ITAR-TASS/. The radiation level in the area, where a Russian nuclear submarine K-159 sank in 2003, does not exceed the norm, Chief of a joint Russo-Norwegian radio-ecological expedition told ITAR-TASS.
The head of the expedition Vyacheslav Shpinkov said that the expedition had fulfilled its program. The sunken submarine was examined by a remote control video apparatus; gamma radiation was measured by a spectrometer, water samples and fragments of the bottom rock were taken, and living organisms spotted near the sunken submarine were studied, Shpinkov said.
A final conclusion will be made in a year's time after the collected material is thoroughly studied in laboratories in Russia and Norway, he said. Nonethless, an express-test of the samples made on board the Ivan Petrov research ship, that brought the expedition to the assigned area in the Barents Sea, showed no excess in the radiation level, the expedition chief said.
"No radiation leak through a strong hull of the submarine has been detected. The submarine is in safe condition so far," he said.
Fifteen experts from Russian and Norwegian research and radiation defense departments, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) experts and experts of the Russian Defense Ministry took part in the expedition which departed from the northern city of Arkhangelsk on August 22 and returned on September 8.
The Russian submarine K-159 sank in the Kola Gulf in the Barents Sea to the depth of 246 meters when the submarine was being towed to a dock to be scrapped. Nine people who were on board the submarine died. Norway claims the submarine carried around 800 kilograms of used nuclear fuel on board.
The radiation level near the sunken submarine had last been measured in 2007.