Nuclear lighthouse projects moves from Barents to Baltic

The Baltic Region

Norway pays eight times more than Finland in a project to remove Russia’s nuclear lighthouses located in the area around the Gulf of Finland.


The Norwegian-Russian joint project to remove the radioactive sources in the lighthouses around the Barents Sea coast will be duplicated in the Baltic.

Finland signed an agreement with Norway on Tuesday to fund a project to remove the strontium-batteries from Russia’s nuclear lighthouses around the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea, reports the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

The lighthouses are in the Finish neighbouring waters, but it is Norway that put in most of the funding, about €11 million. Finland’s share in the joint project is about €1,5 million. The agreement to remove 71 of the 87 lighthouses around the Baltic Sea was signed by Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Finland’s Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb. The last 16 lighthouses with radioactive strontium batteries will be removed with funding from Russia and France.

The strontium source in the lighthouses, or the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), is highly radioactive. It is the heat from the radioactive source that is used to generate power to the lamp in the lighthouse.

In a statement, the Finnish government said the project would improve maritime safety and prevent terrorists from acquiring radioactive materials, reports The Helsinki Times.

From the Norwegian side, the project leader will be Per-Einar Fiskebeck from the Finnmark County Governor’s environmental department.

In a comprehensive background article, BarentsObserver reported earlier this autumn that the last of 180 radioactive sources used to provide power to lighthouses in the Barents Region was removed from the Vaigach Island.

After removal the radioactive sources from the lighthouses, the RTGs are sent to the Mayak plant in the South Urals for long-term storage.