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“If we don’t do it now, then there won’t be anywhere to do it in the future.” Risks to oil and gas activities Kazennov added that a detailed inventory of sunken radiological hazards in the Arctic is necessary, after which a complex radiological engineering study can be completed.

This will facilitate the creation of a database on the conditions of the sunken radioactive junk, leading to a future master plan for handling it.

Therefor it’s time to discuss the practical aspects and make some steps in this direction.

The time for committee meetings is over.” The K-159 According to Kazennov, the K-159 poses the biggest radiological contamination potential.

In 2012, it was established that the spent nuclear fuel in its reactors measured some 5319.7 terebequerel (143.8 kilocurie), which exceeds the activity of Russia’s other sunken radiological objects.

The K-159 lacked an extra protective barrier between the spent nuclear fuel storage and the rest of he submarine, which increases the risk of possible radioactive leakage.

According to Alexei Kazennov, a researcher with Moscow’s respected Kurchatov institute, the K-159, which sank in August 2003 under tow to decommissioning at the Nerpa shipyard – in more than 200 meters of water, taking with it 800 kilograms of highly enriched uranium fuel and claiming the lives all nine sailors aboard – is currently emitting one and a half times as much radioactivity as dozens of other radiological hazards dumped at sea over time by the Soviet and Russian navies.

However, the most recent investigation of the vessel, dating back to 2007, established that since 1994, the concentration of radionuclides escaping the vessel has been on a steady decrease of up to 30 times the initial measurements.The most recent examinations of the vessel, from 2007, showed that it posed no special radioactive hazards, and that the integrity of the reactor compartment was intact.“Things could get very complicated if the first compartment looses integrity, but we don’t know its current condition,” said Kazennov.Some 17,000 tons of solid radioactive waste are estimated to have been purposely sunk in its waters, in addition to the K-27, and the 907 nuclear submarine, which has two reactors on board.Other solid radioactive waste in the region includes biological shielding assemblies from the Lenin nuclear icebreaker, whose location has not yet been determined.

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