Disaster dump

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

a frightening dump of nuclear waste exists in the region around Murmansk in the Kola Peninsula. At least 70 idle nuclear-powered submarines of Russia's Northern Fleet, with reactors full of fuel on board, are anchored at the harbour. This large area of waste, documented in detail by Bellona, a Norwegian green group, has all the makings of a disaster waiting to happen as any fire, seismic activity or technical error could set it off.

Close by at the military shipyards lie thousands of spent nuclear fuel assemblies, long cylinders once packed with deadly uranium or plutonium isotopes. These cylinders are mostly corroded with their lids cracked and water flows in and out of them.

According to Bellona, the Murmansk region has the greatest concentration of nuclear reactors in the world with 18 per cent of the world's total -- 182 being used and 135 out of operation. Radioactivity in this region constitutes approximately more than two-thirds of all radioactive waste ever dumped in the oceans of the world, states a recent Bellona study.

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