Sep 3, 2021
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Estimated volumes of littering of the Kara Sea with radioactive waste

Earlier on September 2, it became known about the discovery of a container with a nuclear reactor of the submarine K-19 in the Abrosimov Bay in the Kara Sea off the coast of Russia.

According to Evgeny Lineitsev, head of the Central Emergency Situations Ministry’s Central Airmobile Detachment, Evgeny Lineitsev, the find was made by specialists from the Emergencies Ministry’s Centrospas and Leader units and the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences during an expedition to search for dumped underwater radioactive objects. “The vessel“ Akademik Mstislav Keldysh ”reached the set point and anchored in front of the Ambrosiev Bay. As part of the work, a sonar survey was carried out, the object was discovered, ”Lineytsev said.

He noted that now the experts will have to conduct a visual inspection of the found object and spectral analysis, as well as carry out the sampling of plant material from it. At present, work on the site is ongoing.

“The Kara Sea is a garbage dump”

Anna Ridiger in an interview with “” assessed the find at the bottom of the Kara Sea with the words “nothing surprising.” In her opinion, the Kara Sea was often used as a place for burial of radioactive waste due to the convenience of its location and remoteness from settlements.

“The Kara Sea has always been a garbage dump. A cemetery for everything you can. Nobody thought whether it was environmentally friendly or not, they just dumped it there, where there are fewer biota. There are practically no resources, the sea is cold. What they found is nothing surprising, but what they will do with it now is interesting, ”Ridiger noted.

The specialist was unable to assess the volume of this kind of waste that may be at the bottom of the Kara Sea, since, according to her, there is an innumerable amount of them. “If we have in the Baltic more than 100 thousand tons of any garbage left after the war, then in the Kara Sea I cannot even estimate the volumes. There has always been a scrap yard, ”she said.

The ecologist said that the Kara Sea is inhabited by a small number of biological species, so the waste buried at its bottom does not pose a great environmental hazard. “The Kara Sea is the least in demand. There is practically no fishing there. There is a snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), but there is not much of it, and it is also closer to the entrance to the sea. There are also a few cod fish there. In principle, there is nothing special to catch. As for the population, there is practically no population there. Except for border guards, for example. We do not really expect that there will be something to smell and affect people, ”the ecologist shared.

Ridiger noted that if no one is going to dig the bottom of the Kara Sea or start construction there, then everything that lies there will remain in its place and will not harm anyone. “The sarcophagi of radioactive waste in the old days were really high quality, and they were well sealed,” added the ecologist. However, if they want to clean the bottom, then all the waste will need to be reburied, Ridiger emphasized.

Numerous objects were buried in the gulfs of the Kara Sea after nuclear weapons tests on Novaya Zemlya. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, only in the Novaya Zemlya depression there can be about 1.2 thousand dangerous radioactive objects, including parts of submarines and the nuclear icebreaker “Lenin”. All in all, over 24 thousand items are included in the register of potentially dangerous underwater objects located in the internal waters and the territorial sea of ​​Russia.

The submarine K-19, known in the navy as Hiroshima, was launched in 1959 and became the first Soviet nuclear missile carrier. During her service on the submarine, there were several accidents that resulted in the death of people, including an accident at the reactor in 1961. In 1990, the nuclear submarine was removed from the fleet and disposed of.

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