Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 21, December 1997
Russia Calls for NATO Aid on Retired Nuclear SubmarinesRussia is asking NATO for assistance in the expensive and dangerous task of dismantling retired nuclear-powered submarines. According to reports, Russia has so far retired 156 submarines, of which it has only completed the dismantlement of 16. A further 100 submarines are reportedly scheduled for retirement by the end of the century. According to Ashot Sarkisov, speaking on 24 November: Our economy is ill...and our leaders clearly downplay the potential danger. ... Such a [retired] submarine may leak radioactivity and its reactor may spin out of control, leading to an uncontrolled chain reaction..." Drawing a broader lesson, Sarkisov added:
"When we were building up our nuclear potential, no one thought about the need to dispose of the waste some day... It's a lesson for the future: before building something nuclear, we must first think what to do with it later..."
Report: Russia probes risks from aging subs, Associated Press, 24 November.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.