A liquid radwaste processing facility has been completed in Murmansk but a date for its commissioning has yet to be set. The project began in 1994 as a trilateral programme between the US, Norway and Russia, with the aim of upgrading an existing liquid waste processing facility situated at the nuclear powered icebreakers’ base, Atomflot, in Murmansk, northwest Russia.

The existing facility is capable of processing 1200 m3 a year. When upgraded, the facility will have the capacity to process 5000 m3 of liquid radwaste annually. The $3.5 million project was intended to encourage Russia to sign the London Dumping Convention, which prohibits states from dumping waste in international waters.

The facility uses a sorbing technology which produces sediments that are then fixed in concrete, according to the Bellona Foundation. Previous deadlines set for the facility’s completion have not been met. Reasons included tax exemption problems for the funds transferred to Russia and disagreements among the partners.

Full operation of the facility should begin during 2000. The facility will be able to process all the liquid radwaste generated in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk counties. A problem may be the inability of the Northern Fleet to pay for the reprocessing services since the facility will be operated by Murmansk Shipping Company on a commercial basis.