Russian Nuclear Energy Minister: nuclear waste storages may be set up on Novaya Zemlya

Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev says nuclear waste storages may be created on Novaya Zemlya, a group of islands in the Arctic, he said after flying over the central testing ground on the archipelago.

When answering journalists' questions about the possibilities of creating such storages on the islands, Rumyantsev said that "such a project exists but there are also three alternative projects." So his visit to Novaya Zemlya is not connected with this issue, he pointed out.

Rumyantsev is a member of the governmental committee headed by defense minister Sergei Ivanov that visited the testing ground on Novaya Zemlya on Thursday on President Putin's order. The committee includes representatives from the finance ministry and the economic ministry, Rumyantsev said.

"We are considering quite a number of alternatives," he explained. "In particular, we have analyzed the experience of our neighbours - Sweden and Finland - concerning the creation of nuclear waste storages in granite mountain-masses on the continent." The final decision on the Novaya Zemlya storage has not been taken, the minister stressed.

Rumyantsev recalled that nuclear tests on the archipelago had ceased in 1990.

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