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NGO Warns Of Explosion Risk At Russian Nuclear Storage

Bellona publicised the first data on the dangers presented by Andreyeva Bay in 1993. Since then, a number of rehabilitation projects, which have been largely cosmetics, have been undertaken - leaving he real problems far from being solved.
by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) June 01, 2007
A Russian nuclear waste storage facility on the Kola Peninsula runs the risk of exploding soon due to severe corrosion on three tanks, the Norwegian environmental organisation Bellona warned on Friday. "The risk of an uncontrolled chain reaction in the storage facility is imminent," Bellona, which works with nuclear contamination on the Kola Peninsula in northern Russia, said in a statement.

Salt water has corroded and seeped through the three tanks which were until now believed to be intact. They are located in Andreyev Bay, some 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the Norwegian border.

Bellona based its statement on an investigation conducted by the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom.

"The ongoing deterioration (of the concrete tankers) is causing the fuel to split into small particles.... If these particles form a homogenous mix with water it can lead to an uncontrolled chain reaction," Bellona warned.

The Bellona statement comes amid increasing calls in the Scandinavian country to shift responsibility for the old nuclear facilities back to Russia, which could afford to take on the task thanks to increased oil revenues.

"We are not going to reduce our support to the project of securing the storage of nuclear waste in the Andreyev Bay," Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement.

Norway has taken an active part in demolishing old Russian nuclear sites since 1997.

Over the past 10 years, the Norwegian government has contributed some 120 million kroner (14.8 million euros, 19.8 million dollars) to the task.

According to the ministry, the contribution will in 2007 amount to 14.5 million kroner.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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