UK and Norway sink sub

The UK and Norway are joining forces to dismantle an ageing Russian nuclear submarine.

The decommissioned November class submarine No.291, will be defueled and towed to the Nerpa shipyard for dismantling. Once dismantled to a single compartment unit (containing the de-fuelled reactor) the submarine will be transferred to SaidaBay for land-based interim storage.

‘The nuclear legacy of the former Soviet Union still presents a serious risk,’ said Malcolm Wicks, UK energy minister. ‘A nuclear accident in Russia or a terrorist incident using radioactive material in a dirty bomb would have global implications.

‘International cooperation is vital to ensure these threats are addressed within an acceptable timescale and it is in our interest to help Russia dispose of its nuclear legacy and ensure risks are managed to a standard expected in the UK and Norway.’

The work is being done as part of the Global Threat Reduction Programme, through which the UK has successfully dismantled three nuclear powered submarines.

Project management and technical advice for the UK government will be provided by NUKEM. The £3.9m cost of dismantling the craft will be shared between the UK and Norway.