Japan has offered to increase co-operation with Russia on nuclear submarine decommissioning following a visit to Moscow by Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura. Japan began its nuclear safety assistance to Russia by pledging $100 million in April 1993, part of which was used to construct a mobile floating liquid waste processing facility at the Zvezda naval yard near Vladivostok.
The new, more comprehensive, plan involves feasibility studies for several projects:
• Removing the reactor cores from obsolete submarines to transport casks (TK-18 type) and building a temporary store for them at Zvezda shipyard.
• Decommissioning Victor-class submarines at Zvezda shipyard.
• Refitting the Belyanka-class tanker Pinega as a spent fuel container ship.
Two Belyanka-class ships (one for the Northern and one in the Pacific Fleet) were originally built to transport and store radioactive waste.