UK pledges £15 million for nuke clean up

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt today announced a £15 million grant to Russia to help pay for a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.

The money is part of the UK’s contribution to a $20 billion pledge byG8 countries designed to counter proliferation of nuclear material, nuclear safety and ecological concerns in the former Soviet Union. It builds on £33 million already committed by the Government.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, today’s money will be used to pay for an interim nuclear storage facility and 50 storage casts at Atomflot port in Murmansk. This will allow spent fuel currently being stored on board the Lotta, a nuclear fuel supply ship, to be stored on shore.

It will also allow the Lotta to collect further fuel from outlying sites such as Andreeva Bay for safer storage.

Speaking from Moscow where she is on an official visit, Ms Hewitt said: “The spent nuclear fuel at Atomflot presents a major nuclear security and environmental concern for the area.

“Securing it safely on land is a high priority for the Russian Federation and the wider international community. I am pleased the UK is able to help as part of its G8 commitment.”

Construction is due to start this autumn, with completion due early 2006.

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