Russian body confirms N-dumping

The Soviet Union -- and now Russia -- has dumped large quantities of radioactive waste into the sea, according to the report of a commission set up by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Published: Tuesday 15 June 1993

RUSSIA -- and the Soviet Union before it -- has dumped twice as much radioactive waste in the sea as 12 other nuclear countries put together, a special commission set up by President Boris Yeltsin reports. The dumping, first reported in a British weekly is said to be still continuing and the commission warns ending it would cost billions of dollars (Down To Earth, May 31, 1993). Russian

The report confirms the Soviets dumped wastes giving off 2.5 million curies of radiation (one curie is the amount of radiation given off by one gram of radium), which included 18 marine reactors. Sixteen were dumped into the Kara Sea and the other two in the Sea of Japan. Russian

The environmental group Greenpeace says the wastes should be recovered, if possible, for burial on land. But, Hugh Livingstone, a researcher at an oceanographic institution in Massachusetts warns against hasty action because an assessment may show that it is better left alone to "safely decay in place". Russian

The report confirms Soviet authorities were lying when they stated in 1989 that the Soviet government "did not dump, does not dump, nor plans to dump radioactive waste at sea".

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