Nuclear waste arrived in Murmansk
The Serbian nuclear waste that has been shipped all round the coast of Norway was Thursday offloaded at Atomflot in Murmansk.
Puma offloaded the containers with uranium fuel at Russia's nuclear powered icebreaker base Atomflot just north of Murmansk city centre on Thursday this week. Photo: Naturvernforbundet
The Danish vessel "Puma" offloaded the containers with 8,6 kg highly enriched spent nuclear fuel and 45 kg of low enriched spent nuclear fuel. Once taken onshore at the harbor at the nuclear powered icebreaker base Atomflot, just north of Murmansk, the nuclear waste became under Russian jurisdiction, reports Russia’s Federal nuclear agency Rosatom in an information bulletin posted at their portal.
This photo taken Thursday evening and sent to BarentsObserver by the Norwegian environmental organization Naturvernforbundet, shows "Puma" while offloading the nuclear waste at Atomflot.
The blue building to the left in the background is a temporary storage for containers with spent nuclear fuel that Russia has built with grants from several European countries, including Norway.
The onshore building with its storage pads was originally built some few years ago in order to speed up the safe handling of spent nuclear fuel coming from the old and retired submarines under decommissioning. Also, four of the railway-wagons supposed to transport spent uranium fuel from submarines from Atomflot to Mayak are sponsored by Norway.
Now Russia uses this building for import of spent nuclear fuel from European countries, like Thursday’s load from a Serbian research reactor just outside Belgrade. The shipment and coming processing of the spent fuel is a cost-share project between Serbia, Russia, the United States and the Czech Republic, according to Rosatom.
Earlier, spent nuclear fuel from a Polish research reactor has been sent by boat around the coast of Norway to the particular harbor in Murmansk. From here, the spent nuclear fuel is sent by train to Russia’s reprocessing plant Mayak in the South-Urals.
Infographics: Jonas Karlsbakk / BarentsObserver.
Read also: Nuclear cargo secretly shipped around Norway
Although, Serbian, Norwegian and Russian authorities try to say as little as possible about such ship transport when it is underway, the vessel Puma has got attention in media as it was sailing northbound.
It was the St. Petersburg based environmental group Zelenyi Mir (Green World) that in cooperation with the Norwegian branch of Friends of the Earth that alarmed the public about “Puma” and its cargo.
- If there is an accident with a nuclear transport in Norwegian waters, it could have dramatic consequences for people and nature along the coast. The only way to avoid such an accident is to prevent such shipments in the future, says Yngvild Lorentzen in the organization’s department for international project work, in a phone interview with BarentsObserver Thursday.
Another nuclear watchdog group agrees: - We have little control over hazardous shipments like this, and emergency preparedness is inadequate. We sit with our heart in the throat every time such kind of nuclear cargo sails along our coast, says Igor Kudrik, expert on nuclear safety issues in Russia with the environmental group Bellona.
Read all BarentsObserver articles on nuclear safety.