Two Norwegian funded projects to upgrade radiation safety at naval sites in north-west Russia have been completed. Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister, Jarle Skjørestad, toured Murmansk and Severodvinsk in early October to inspect the progress.
The first project was designed to stop a stream from flowing through a storage building for spent fuel at Andreeva Bay in the Kola Peninsula and carrying radioactivity out into the Litsa Fjord. Andreeva Bay has the largest and the only operational storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in the Northern Fleet. The first storage facility, Building 5, began operating in 1962 but suffered an accident in February 1982 when 3000 m3 of radioactive water containing 3000 Ci, leaked. Spent fuel was removed and transferred to three large hurriedly reconstructed underground concrete tanks located nearby. The tanks were originally designed to be a part of a liquid waste processing facility that was never put into use. The Building no 5 continued to hold some damaged fuel assemblies which could not be removed.
Norway supported a project drafted by the Vedeneev Scientific Research Institute for Hydrotechnics to dig a trench around Building no 5 and stop water flowing through it, earmarking a sum of NKr 6 429 600 ($817 000) in 1998.
Throughout the project the Russian defence ministry refused Norway inspection rights. Murmansk County governor, Yuri Yevdokomov says the paperwork is under way to transfer the Navy’s radwaste site to MINATOM by the end of 1999 or early 2000.
The second Norwegian project was in Severodvinsk where Kværner was managing a project to upgrade two type A-02 tanks for low-active liquid waste, each with a capacity of 500 m3. The tanks are near the planned liquid waste processing facility and will serve as a buffer. The upgrade began in May 1998 and was completed as planned in August this year. Norway contributed $4.3 million to the project.