US to allocate Russia $5.5 million to dispose nuclear submarines

Great Britain is going to allocate $5.5 million to Russia to help it keep afloat the nuclear-powered submarines that are subject to disposal. Lieutenant-General Alevtin Yunak, in charge of environmental security of the Russian Armed Forces, said this as meeting reporters on Tuesday.

"By the middle of next year, we plan to implement two joint projects, involving Britain, to keep afloat 103 multi-purpose nuclear submarines, which have been decommissioned and are subject to disposal," said the general.

He said the money would go to build special pontoons for transporting the decommissioned subs and to employ a special technology of pumping polystyrene into the submarines' main ballast tanks and of removing it afterwards for disposal.

The chief military environment expert touched on the problem of environmental terrorism. "The institute of the development of safe nuclear energy of the Russian academy of sciences says there is a possibility that terrorists will use spent nuclear fuel from submarines or liquid and solid radioactive wastes in places where decommissioned nuclear submarines are stationed," the general said, assuring that this would not be allowed to happen.

According to Lieutenant-General Yunak the pieces of the Kursk submarine still lying on the Barents Sea bottom pose no threat whatsoever.

The K-159 sub that sank in August 2003 is not dangerous either, said the military. Radiation has not exceeded the norm in the wreckage area since the day of the tragedy. Environment monitoring is conducted in the area daily, he said.

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