Expedition to radioactive waste dumping sites in Arctic completed
© RIA Novosti. Iliya Pitalev

Expedition to radioactive waste dumping sites in Arctic completed

The crew of the research vessel Ivan Petrov has completed its Kara Sea expedition to a radioactive waste dumping site in the Arctic, according to the Press Service of the Northern Directorate for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Sevgidromet).

The ship departed from Arkhangelsk on September 25. The expedition covered the eastern bays of Novaya Zemlya and the south of the Kara Sea. The research is part of the subprogram, Supporting Scientific Research in the Arctic and Antarctica, part of the Environmental Protection State Program for 2020–2023.

Experts of the Typhoon Research and Production Association, a leading organization under the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring responsible for environmental radiation monitoring, as well as their colleagues from the Kurchatov Institute and Sevgidromet inspected the environment’s condition in the Russian Arctic near the sites where nuclear-powered submarines and other things with spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste had been sunk. The researchers collected samples of water, bottom deposits, marine and terrestrial biota, and scanned the environment for pollution. “The expedition is to return data on the current state of the water, bottom deposits and biota in the bays of Novaya Zemlya and changes over the years,” the press service reported.

The next expeditions will cover the other seas in the Russian Arctic. The data that is collected will be compared to the research results from the 1990s and 2012.

The majority of sunken objects posing nuclear and radiation hazard in Russia’s northern seas – in particular, the Kara Sea – can be found in the bays of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and the Novaya Zemlya Trench. The village of Amderma located at the point where the Barents Sea and Kara Sea meet is the closest continental settlement from these waste disposal sites. The radioactive waste produced by military and civil nuclear-powered fleets was continuously dumped into the sea between 1955 and the early 1990s.