An environmental trip I took with three wonderful High School Students.A trip that has a great impact on us all. The following is a what we learned about the area and tried to tell both Federal and Provincial levels of government 10 years ago.The question is has anything been done ? If not are we sitting on a time bomb ?
Nuclear Waste Dumping
Murmansk , Russia
There are two climatic zones : Taiga and Tundra .
The Tundra zones stretches from the coastal areas of the city of Murmansk , along the Kola Peninsula to the White Sea.Although there are no continuous areas of Permafrost there can be several years of ground frost .
The taiga zone is covered by coniferous and deciduous forests .
The counties of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk in nothwestern Russia has more nuclear reactors in operation than any other region in the world .
The region contains 182 nuclear reactors in operation as well as 135 nuclear reactors no longer in operation .
Radioactive waste is stored at 15 different places in the region . The radioactivity DUMPED in this region constitutes approximately 2/3 of all the radioactive waste ever dumped in all the oceans of the world .
The Russian Northern Fleet , is this regions largest consumer of Nuclear energy .
The Northern Fleet has :
84 nuclear submarines
2 nuclear -powered battle cruisers
71 nuclear submarines containing
135 nuclear reactors are laid up at the Northern Fleets Bases .
Seven nuclear - powered icebreakers and one nuclear powered container ship are presently in operation .
Radioactive and used assemblies are stored aboard five ships right outside of Murmansk .
16 dumped nuclear reactors constitutes the major potential pollution problem .
Kola Nuclear power Plant , the only Power Plant in this region is regarded as one of the worlds least safe nuclear power plants and is presently experiencing severe economical and technical problems .
Military activities are responsible for the largest sources of radioactivity in this region . Tidying up after the cold war may prove to be an expensive as the armaments race once was . Cleaning up will require financial and technical resources . It is essential that in order for this to be done that the Northern Fleet opens up and releases technical information needed to evaluate the costs of various measures , as well as presenting a survey on what problems are the most acute . It is necessary that an International Civil Agency be established to gather international resources to solve the problems in this region caused by the nuclear armaments race . The international Agency may be established within the United Nations . It is of great importance that the agency be granted access to inspect military sites .
There are several planned projects in the county of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk . According to plans , all solid radioactive waste from the Northern Fleet , Murmansk shipping Company ,Kola Nuclear Power Plant and the shipyards of Severodvinsk that cannot be destructed at incineration plants , are to be transported by ship to a depot on Novaya Zemlya .
A depot for high level radioactive waste is also planned in the same area of Nova Zemlya .
According to plans discarded nuclear submarines and reactor sections from the Northern fleet , along with the ship Lepse from the Murmansk Shipping Company , is to be deposited here.
A canal of 60 - 70 metres is planned to be blasted into the beach , along with minor tributary canals , where the Lepse and discarded nuclear submarines and or reactor sections are to be towed in . When the canals are filled up , a dam is to be built and water pumped out ,before the entire canal is to be covered by gravel an concrete . There is need for storage facilities for 274 reactors from 150 submarines to be broken up . According to plans the reactors are to be covered in a protective matter to prevent radioactive leakages . The three reactors from the icebreaker Lenin were covered in polyester before they were dumped into the Kara Sea . Such protection may prevent radioactive leakages for approximately 500 years .
Plans have been made for the construction of floating nuclear power plants which may be placed at the coast of northwestern Russian Regions at present experiencing problems concerning power production . The plans comprises rebuilding of nuclear icebreakers and nuclear submarines into power plants
According to plans a network of terminals are to be built enabling submarine takers to unload oil under the ice . This is due to the problems of provision of goods and places along the northen coast of Siberia .
There are plans in the work for the destruction of chemical weapons and other chemical waste by way of nuclear detonation . The detonations are to take place on the island of Nova Zemlya. Nuclear warheads , high level radioactive waste and reactors from discarded submarines are to be destroyed by nuclear detonations on Nova Zemlya . 8500 tons of plutonium are generated yearly at civil nuclear power plants in the former Soviet Union . Destruction of this waste by nuclear detonations is being considered an alternative .
There have been several accidents concerning the Soviet nuclear submarines belonging to the Northern Fleet . Among the most serious accidents are several reactor breakdowns and fires causing submarines to sink , or the reactors to be dumped in the Kara Sea at a later point . At several accidents a break down in the nuclear reactors cooling system has resulted in radioactive discharges , exposing the crew to radioactive discharges , exposing the crew to radiation . According to information gathered by Green peace at least 507 persons aboard Soviet Nuclear submarine have died as a result of accidents .
There have been accidents at storage facilities for nuclear waste along with theft of fuel assemblies from the Northern Fleets storage facilities on the Kola Peninsula .