MURMANSK, November 23. /TASS/. An expedition by the Northern Fleet (NF) to Novaya Zemlya showed that wildlife and the natural surroundings there have fully recovered after nuclear tests had been conducted on the archipelago during the Soviet times, NF Commander Nikolai Yevmenov told reporters on Friday.
"I can say that the myth about Novaya Zemlya as a radioactive waste repository of the Arctic, which keeps popping up in the Western media now and then, has been completely debunked based on the results of our experts’ work. The archipelago’s natural environment has successfully overcome the aftermath of this nuclear testing," he added.
Researchers have conducted radioactivity measurements along the entire route of the expedition, and no abnormally high levels of contamination have been documented.
Yevmenov pointed out that the consequences of the archipelago’s development, namely abandoned territories, previously inhabited by people, as well as scrap metal and litter areas, cause greater damage to the islands’ environment. The Northern Fleet’s environmental protection battalion is working to clean it up. This year alone, the NF environmental protection units have collected more than 360 tonnes of scrap metal on Kotelny Island, and on the Novosibirsk Islands archipelago, and prepared it for recycling. In total, the Northern Fleet removed over 3,000 tonnes of scrap metal from the Arctic Islands over the last two years for further recycling.
Novaya Zemlya is a Russian archipelago in the Arctic, lying between the Barents and Kara Seas. A test site was deployed there during the Soviet period, where numerous nuclear detonations had been carried out.