MOSCOW (AP) _ Commonwealth navy officials on Friday denied allegations of mass dumping of radioactive waste off Russia’s northern coast but admitted dumping of some low-level waste did occur in the shallow waters.
The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted the commonwealth navy commander, Adm. Vitaly Zaitsev, and Vice Adm. Gennady Zolotukhin as saying the navy transfers ″every gram of it″ to special processing plants.
″The claims that thousands of nuclear fuel containers are dumped in the area of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago ... are absurd,″ Zaitsev said.
But ITAR-Tass said he admitted the navy dumped some low-radioactive waste in Novaya Zemlya bays before 1985.
At a seminar organized by Greenpeace last year, experts said the former Soviet Union had dumped 6,750 tons of solid waste and about 56,500 cubic feet of liquid radioactive waste such as spent fuel.
Lawmaker Andrei Zolotkov from northern Murmansk port said then that some dumping containers were leaky and that the damaged reactor core from the Lenin icebreaker was also dumped off Novaya Zemlya in the early 1970s.
Zaitsev was quoted Friday as saying ″reactor sections of the worked-out submarines are also stored in offshore waters. The sections have been made thoroughly hermetic and are absolutely non-radioactive from the outside.
″As for the reactors themselves, their nuclear fuel has long ago been removed and processed. However, metal parts naturally preserve induced radiation. In several decades they will become absolutely safe.″
Also Friday, officials said the Baltic Sea might become endangered by German chemical weapons dumped there after World War II on the decision of the Allies, ITAR-Tass said.
Retired Maj. Gen. Pyotr Barabolya, chairman of the International Committee for Peace, Disarmament and Ecological Security in Sea and Oceans, told ITAR- Tass that 400,000 tons of such weapons were dumped there after the war.