Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 22, January 1998
Documents and Sources
Murmansk Nuclear Fuel Storage Project
'Murmansk Nuclear Fuel Storage Project,' US Department of State Fact Sheet, 20 January 1998
Editor's note: the Fact Sheet was issued following a Ministerial Meeting of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) in Lulea, Sweden, on 20 January -see News Review for details of the meeting.
"The storage of spent and damaged nuclear fuel assemblies is an acute problem in the Murmansk region of Northwest Russia. Murmansk is the largest population center north of the Arctic Circle and is very close to other Barents countries. Building on earlier cooperative work, the US is prepared to join partners to develop, design, and construct nuclear fuel casks which will allow safe handling and interim storage of spent and damaged fuel assemblies. Some of these fuel assemblies originate from the operation of the civilian nuclear icebreaker fleet, but a growing number result from the decommissioning of the nuclear submarine fleet of Russia's North Navy.
Russia presently lacks the capability to process either the damaged or special fuel at its nuclear fuel reprocessing center in the Urals. Long-term storage of these fuel assemblies which are currently on board vessels anchored in Murmansk harbor poses a serious environmental and public health risk to the Barents region. Since 1996, the United States has cooperated with Barents countries on a number of nuclear waste management projects. This new cask project extends that cooperation and will improve Russian capabilities for safe land-based storage of nuclear fuel assemblies in the Murmansk region. The new casks will meet international safety standards and will be transportable for reprocessing or long-term storage.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.