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Norwegian nuclear waste to Russia?
Baltic Newsletter # 109
News published in the article the journalist Av Mímir Kristjánsson in the Norwegian newspaper Klassenkampen (Class Struggle) from 03.02.2010
The Norwegian Government has established a Committee, which recommends that Norwegian nuclear waste be sent to the Mayak plant in Russia.
A Technical Committee on nuclear waste management last week prepared a proposal for management of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) of three Norwegian research reactors Jeep I, Jeep II in Kjeller and a boiling water reactor in Halden.
In a special report on this subject are contained the recommendations to the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Norway to explore the possibility of the purchase of commercial services for processing of spent nuclear fuel abroad, for example, in Russia.
This means that not only reprocessing, but also all the technological emissions and releases of this process will be “exported” to the country where it will happen.
- We have analyzed the various options, taking into account various factors. Since this is a relatively small amount of waste (about twelve tons), it is not cost-effective to build our own processing plant in Norway. As an alternative, we recommend the purchase of commercial services on processing either at the plant Areva (Areva) in France or at Mayak in Russia - said committee chairman Peter Bennett.
The reprocessing of nuclear waste means that, as a result, the useful components can be reused, and those that need to be will be stored as waste.
- Long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel in pools of water is dangerous. We believe it appropriate to reprocess now, rather than store them in anticipation of new technologies - said Bennett.
Option Sellafield, England dropped.
The Technical Committee was charged to evaluate the technical aspects of various options for the isolation and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Recommendations of the committee will then be considered at the political level, in conjunction with another committee, during the second phase of the decision about the choice of all the proposed options.
The mandate of the Ministry, issued to the Committee, states that when considering options for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, the option of Sellafield should be excluded because Norwegian authorities continue to hold the official position that the plant at Sellafield should be closed. According to Bennett, there is no fundamental difference between Sellafield and similar businesses in France and Russia.
- These companies are very similar. We have a policy of the leadership of the Ministry for Sellafield, which excludes the use of this option. If we do not exclude from the consideration of options, about which there were objections, our proposal would contain several proposals for all the enterprises.
Good environmental safety measures.
According to one of the recommendations of the report, it is proposed to buy services for the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel at the Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. The site had previously been criticized because of high emissions and releases and of the low level of safety.
France passed a law that prohibits the storage of foreign radioactive materials on French soil. It is better to have an agreement on reprocessing spent nuclear fuel to Mayak, which will include storage of the reprocessed waste on the territory of Russia. The report of the Committee includes the possibility of such a proposal.
- The Norwegian authorities have already provided economic support for Russian reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel at Mayak. If it is good for the reprocessing of Russian wastes, it may be a suitable option for the processing of Norwegian wastes. Most countries of the former Eastern bloc for many years processed their nuclear wastes at Mayak, so there is no reason why Norway should not do the same thing.
Bennett reported that the Mayak plant transfers about one-third of its income from the reprocessing of nuclear waste transfers into to a special environmental fund, to be spent on a special environmental program.
- Therefore the reprocessing of Norwegian nuclear waste at the plant Mayak will help support and strengthen the fund and environmental activities in the region.
The Mayak option will be considered.
The State Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Pål Julius Skogholt, said that he would not comment on specific recommendations of the report until the second phase of the decision - the political choice of all the proposed options. But, as he said, in principle, the treatment of Norwegian nuclear waste abroad is a suitable solution.
- Exactly. SNF in Norway will be very expensive. The Mayak option will also be considered. However this is not a final decision.
Russia's current policy guidelines are aimed at making the Urals and Siberia into the recipient of nuclear, radioactive waste. Here those dirty technologies are being promoted that are considered environmentally and economically unsustainable in other countries.
This creates an image of the Urals and Siberia, as an international nuclear garbage dump. Here are already stored, reprocessed, or enriched, nuclear, radioactive wastes, originating from countries such as Britain, France, China, Namibia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, etc.
On 3 February 2010 it became known that Iran and Norway may join this list. In the current situation, the Russian public is forced to seek the possibility of influencing such a strategy not only in their own country. Russian society has very limited opportunities to change this colonial policy within their own country. To date, there are only different versions of the simulation of democratic processes of public participation, which create the illusion of support for such policies.
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