Radiation situation at K-159 disaster site doesn't exceed background radiation levels

The radiation situation in the vicinity of the K-159 nuclear-powered submarine's icy grave doesn't exceed background-radiation levels, Victor Kutsenko in charge of the Russian Nature Conservation Ministry's environmental-safety department told journalists today.

The sub's reactors are not spewing out any radiation whatsoever; nor do we predict such radiation leaks in the future, Kutsenko went on to say. Sensors relay radiation-situation data every hour on the hour; moreover, the Askro system is also being used to assess the regional environmental situation.

We are doing our best to ensure regional environmental safety round the clock, Kutsenko went on to say. He reminded his audience that the Nature Conservation Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry had established a special group for regularly monitoring the Barents Sea radiation situation near the K-159 disaster site.

Nuclear fuel was unloaded from the sub prior to its last voyage; the sub was to have been scrapped in the foreseeable future, Kutsenko stressed. In his opinion, the nuclear reactor presents just about the only hazard; still that reactor was shut down, before the sub was towed out to sea, he noted.

It's impossible to salvage the sub at this stage because of bad weather, Kutsenko said.

The sub will be raised whenever possible and dismantled next year, Kutsenko noted in conclusion. We are controlling everything, he assured reporters.

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