VLADIVOSTOK, Russia – Hundreds of nuclear submarines float quietly at their berths throughout the Russian Federation. The end of the Cold War has not ended the threat posed by these sleek gray killing machines. Today, however, concern focuses on the environmental risks created by the decommissioning of these submarines. The disposal of their spent fuel and other forms of radioactive waste is a major environmental challenge for Russia and the entire region. International cooperation has played a critical role in the decommissioning process, but considerably more help is needed. Concerned governments will primarily contribute desperately needed funds; Russia can provide expertise and manpower, but first it must provide the basic infrastructure – most important, the rule of law – that will permit those resources to be put to their intended use.
PacNet #42 – Russia’s New Nuclear Threat
October 17, 2002