Kola Peninsula to collect radioactive waste from southern Russia
When the Russian state-owned radioactive waste company established its regional branch, SevRAO, the residents of Murmansk learned that only waste from the north should be processed and stored.
This is not about to change as the radioactive waste company is now announcing a tender for project documentation on the relocation of the huge steam generators to Saida Bay, the waste storage and treatment facility. radioactive on the Barents Sea coast north of Murmansk.
Each weight of 322 tons is 15 meters long and 140 cubic meters in volume. The generators come from the Balakovo nuclear power plant on the banks of the Volga, about 100 km north of Saratov in southern Russia.
The metal is radioactive contaminated because they were directly connected to the flow of cooling water from the reactors. Therefore, structures must be stored as radioactive waste.
The newspaper Versia Saratov was the first to know about the tender.
A special barge would be needed to transport the Volga, via Russia’s inland waterways, north to Murmansk. The distance is approximately 3000 km if you navigate the Belomor Channel north to the White Sea. It is, although much longer, also possible to sail south via the river systems to Rostov-na-Don and via the sea above to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, then north. outside of Europe and Norway to the Kola Peninsula.
SevRAO’s processing plant and storage site in Saida Bay were built in the early 2000s with the aim of handling the 120 reactor compartments of Cold War submarines from the Northern Fleet decommissioned. service in the Kola and Severodvinsk yards. In addition, the facility is responsible for storing the compartments of discarded nuclear icebreakers and civil and military service vessels used to store nuclear and radioactive waste, as well as solid waste from Andreeva Bay and d ‘other facilities on the Kola Peninsula.
Could set a precedent
Nuclear safety expert Andrey Zolotkov from the Bellona Murmansk group fears that receiving radioactive waste from the Balakovo nuclear power plant may open the door for others.
“Such an assumption can be made, because no one explains why this transport is happening now,” he told the Barents Observer.
“Saida is not a place for radioactive waste from all over Russia. It was built for a specific purpose and we haven’t finished work on the submarines and icebreakers yet, ”Zolotkov says.
He says other nuclear power plants have old radioactive contaminated steam generators, such as Kalinin, Novovoronezh, Rostov and Leningrad.
“Will they also start looking for ways to send radioactive waste to the Murmansk region if the shipment from Balakovo is successful,” Zolotkov asks.
Funded by the West
The Saida Bay storage site is funded by Germany as part of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. Italy has paid for the floating dock that brings the reactor compartments from the water to the site.
Submarine and icebreaker reactor compartments will need to be stored ashore for many decades before the radioactivity drops to acceptable levels to cut reactor metal and condition it for final geological storage.
The process of scrapping the 120 nuclear-powered submarines that left Kola Peninsula bases during the Cold War began in the early 1990s and was supported technically and economically by a wide range of countries, including Norway and the European Union. The ballistic missile submarines scrapped at the Severodvinsk shipyards in the 1990s were paid for by the US Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program.