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First shipment of spent nuclear fuel leaves Russian Andreeva Bay

Staff Writer |
The first shipment of spent nuclear fuel has left the base in Andreeva Bay in north-west Russia, marking a crucial milestone in overcoming the legacy of the former Soviet Northern Fleet and its nuclear-powered submarines.

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Under an international initiative financed by the Nuclear Window of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) over 22,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies, which are currently stored at Andreeva Bay, will be retrieved, packaged and removed from the site.

The process is being carried out by SevRAO, part of Russia's state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom.

The Nuclear Window is part of the NDEP's Support Fund which was set up in July 2002 by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to pool contributions from donors for the improvement of the environment in north-west Russia.

The spent nuclear fuel comes from over 100 reactors from more than 50 nuclear submarines and has been stored at Andreeva Bay for the past 35 years.

The radioactive material is currently held in dry storage units, some of which are damaged and leaking. The base was closed in 1992 and poses a serious environmental risk.

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