Russian nuclear waste worries Norway

June 4, 2007

Norwegian officials are worried about the safety of a giant nuclear waste facility near the Norwegian border with Russia.

The Aftenposten newspaper said research indicates that enormous tanks holding discarded submarine fuel rods in Andreeva Bay could explode at any time.

A new report from Rosatom, the Russian government's nuclear agency, shows there is a grave danger that the stockpile can explode, creating fallout that could exceed that of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the newspaper said.

"In the best case a small, limited explosion in just one of the stored rods can lead to radioactive contamination in a 3-mile radius," activist Aleksandr Nikitin of environmental group Bellona told Aftenposten. "In the worst case, such a single explosion could cause the entire tank facility to explode."

Nikitin said "significantly greater" pressure on Russia is needed to fix the situation.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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