SAINT PETERSBURG, October 22 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s first burial for solid radioactive waste is to be built in the town of Sosnovy Bor, the Leningrad Region, near the Leningrad nuclear power plant by 2020, the deputy director of the National Radioactive Waste Operator, Denis Yegorov told the regional public forum on nuclear production and safety on Tuesday.
He also said the selection of the site would be based on three main principles: geological characteristics, maximum proximity to the source of waste and a dialogue with the local community.
The project caused heated discussion at the forum. The town’s ecologists fear the site might become a burial for radioactive waste not only from St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region but also from abroad. Some also argue the local geological conditions are not good enough.
“I am aware of these concerns. We shall suspend the project, if we have well-founded doubts,” Rosatom’s Chief Executive Officer Sergey Kirienko said, but added the storages were a vital need.
“Radioactive waste will emerge inevitably. The Northwest will never accept somebody else's waste, but its own waste is unwanted elsewhere, too,” he said.
Leningrad Region Governor Alexander Drozdenko agrees. He said this storage was to be constructed solely for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.
“We do not find it possible to bury waste from other regions,” he said.
The facility will be able to accommodate 50,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste. By Rosatom’s reckoning, 28,000 cubic metres of waste will be generated by 2025, in addition to the already piled up 66,000 cubic meters. Additional geological research is to be completed in November. Public hearings are to take place in Sosnovy Bor by year-end.
Rosatom’s investment programme extending till 2035 suggests 30 future burial sites for final isolation of weakly and medium active solid waste in 18 regions, with transition from temporary storage to waste burial as the basic principle. So far, such burials exist only for liquid waste in three Russian regions.