Nuclear submarines and nuclear waste sites in northern Russia could cause a large-scale nuclear disaster, according to Vladimir Goman, who is head of the Duma (the Russian parliament) Committee on Northern Russia.

The Russian Arctic Fleet has 90 nuclear submarines in dry dock, of which 75% are dangerous, Goman says. He notes that “a Russian-American declaration on co-operation for the purpose of drafting a high-tech research programme in the nuclear waste area, is already prepared.” It provides for deactivating scrapped nuclear submarines. Germany, Norway and Japan are also prepared to provide finance for the project.

Russian funds are enough to disassemble only three or four submarines per year. The programme, which is estimated to cost $100 billion, will allow carrying out of this process three times faster. Russia intends to organise an international conference on the processing of nuclear waste in 1998.