Russian Armada Poisons the Seas

By Maier, Timothy W. | Insight on the News, July 5, 1999 | Go to article overview

Russian Armada Poisons the Seas


Maier, Timothy W., Insight on the News


Junked Russian nuclear warships are leaching radioactive waste and spent fuel into the North Pacific fishing region, The Russians now want U,S, money to clean up their mess.

Lurking in the frigid waters on the barren and sparsely populated North Pacific coast of the former Soviet Union lay half of the rotting and rusting hulks of a once-powerful and feared Russian armada, including submarines that ran silent and deep with arsenals for nuclear Armageddon.

Despite the fall of the Evil Empire, the threat from these vessels of atomic death, combined with those rusting and leaking poisons in the Kola region, continues. Instead of instant annihilation, however, the new danger involves contamination of one of the most lucrative fishing regions of the world and, hence, food supplies for millions of people spanning the hemisphere from Japan to Alaska and along the coasts of Washington state and Oregon.

"The concern here is whether the radiation fallout could travel into the Alaskan fishing current" says William L. Bell, vice president of the prestigious Center for Naval Analysis, or CNA, in Alexandria, Va., which has been seeking analysis by concerned intelligence agencies worried that even a single mishap could impact food supplies worldwide.

In fact, a monthlong special investigation by Insight has uncovered not only unreported dangers associated with the decaying Russian Pacific and Northern fleets, but also new political threats from Moscow involving demands for millions of dollars in aid to help clean up this nuclear waste or else Russia's new masters simply will walk away from one of the most serious environmental hazards ever seen.

Nuclear blackmail is not too strong a term. Russia desperately needs cash, and unless the United States delivers $160 million to build infrastructure to transport spent fuel from Northern and Pacific nuclear-submarine fleets, its leaders say they will violate every nuclear-disarmament treaty. The money would not include additional funds needed for environmental monitors, physical security or control.

Nina Yanovskaya, who is in charge of this graveyard project for Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry in Moscow issued the threat recently at a high-level private seminar on nuclear waste held at CNA and attended by Insight. Cash-poor Russia can't afford to build the hundreds of sophisticated containers and technical equipment needed to store and move nuclear fuel that threatens both the northern and eastern Russian peninsulas, she says.

In the past the United States characterized this as a regional problem, but new concern about ocean currents and wind direction as a result of the La Nina and El Nino phenomena has caught the eye of researchers wondering about the safety of Alaskan fishing waters. Most say Alaska is safe today but will give no guarantees for the future.

"The biggest threat to Alaska is if you have another Chernobyl because the air patterns in the spring are a direct shot to Alaska" says David Garman, chief of staff for Sen. Frank H. Murkowski of Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who has kept an eye on the nuclear-submarine crisis. Westerners also are worried about the Kola Nuclear Power Plant near Murmansk, which safety experts liken to a car running on four flat tires because it has two 26-year-old pressurized water reactors, Garman says.

Alaska missed the fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, but it may not be so lucky the next time. The combined radioactive level for both of the decaying fleets is 75 million curies, which translates into about 1.5 times the radioactivity released in the Chernobyl accident. One-third of this radioactivity is in the Far East.

Since 1990 the problems with the junked Northern Fleet, near the Kola Peninsula, have been well documented. About 150 decommissioned submarines are in the region. Of those, 104 still have their nuclear fuel on board and, though reactor sections from another 33 have been cut out, the reactors remain afloat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Russian Armada Poisons the Seas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.