Historic move, Andreyeva Bay fuel is finally packing up
Officials have packed up the first container of spent nuclear fuel from the notorious Andreyeva Bay submarine maintenance yards in Northwest Russia, which for decades has been a source of anxiety over its Cold War nuclear legacy.
Valery Ermenko, of the SevRAO, the Northwest center for radioactive waste management, told Bellona Tuesday that technicians had loaded seven spent fuel assemblies into one cask they are preparing for transport. He added that radiation levels remained within specified norms during the packing process.
“The first cask is just the beginning,” he said in a release. “We have a lot of work ahead, but we are sure that in the process of dealing with the spent nuclear fuel we will gain additional industrial skills for doing operations, and will improve specific industrial processes and at the same time speed up the shipment of spent nuclear fuel.”
The move has been a long time in the coming, and is a bright spot in international cooperation between Russia and the West at a time of sanctions and ever mounting mutual suspicion. The first shipment of fuel that will be sent to storage away from Andreyeva Bay is expected to leave by the end of this year.
Andreyeva Bay, located on the Kola Peninsula 100 kilometers from the city of Murmansk, is a former onshore maintenance base for the Soviet Northern Fleet, and served as the largest storage site for the Navy’s radioactive waste and spent fuel.