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Transport to Mayak in Russia

Nuclear waste along the Norwegian coast

A ship carrying spent nuclear fuel will reach Norwegian waters within the next 24 hours on its way to Murmansk. Naturvernforbundet asks that emergency preparedness is increased, and that Norwegian authorities confront the transport of dangerous radioactive materials.

Naturvernforbundet is tracking the ship’s movement, and has asked the Norwegian Coast Guard to monitor the situation closely. Yngvild Lorentzen in Naturvernforbundet is concerned that the Norwegian coastal protective response is not good enough to prevent serious injury if there is an accident.

From a research reactor outside of Belgrade 333 tons of radioactive waste containing the spent nuclear fuel was shipped by train through Hungary to Slovenia. From there it was loaded to the Danish cargo ship Puma, which will go to Murmansk along the Norwegian coast. From Murmansk the spent fuel will go to Mayak in the Urals.

Naturvernforbundet oppose long-distance transport of nuclear waste, and spent nuclear fuel in particular, because of the  risks involved and because of ethical problems with dumping nuclear waste on others. The area around the Mayak facility in the urals is highly polluted from nuclear industry and nuclear reprosessing. The spent nuclear fuel on Puma is on its way to Mayak for reprocessing.

Environmentalists demand the closure of reprocessing in Mayak, as the radioactive pollution in the area is devastating.

- We need to stop reprocessing in Mayak, at least unless the environmental situation is under control, says Andrey Talevlin in Naturvernforbundet's partner organisation in Chelyabinsk close to Mayak, the NGO Public Fund for Nature.

Another worry is the risk of transportation. - Spent nuclear fuel should be stored where it is used, says Oleg Bodrov in Naturvernforbundet's partner Green World. - This is most ethically correct, and it minimizes transport risks, continues Bodrov.

Both organisations work together with Naturvernforbundet to close down the old nuclear reactors at Kola and Leningrad nuclear power plant, and to improve nuclear safety in Russia.

You can read more about Naturvernforbundet's work with nuclear issues in Russia here.