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Media coverage | 28 June 2020

ELN policy brief mentioned in Over the Circle

ELN policy brief on nuclear hazards in the Russian Arctic, written by Sherri Goodman and Katarina Kertysova, was mentioned in Over the Circle (OtC), a site dedicated to news, politics and current affairs in the Arctic region.


“This incident [radiation level increase in Northern Europe] has thrown a spotlight on another contentious aspect of Russia’s Arctic development policies, namely the role of nuclear energy. As a policy brief published this month by the London-based European Leadership Network (ELN) explained [pdf], the high concentration of nuclear materials in the Russian Arctic, contained within power stations, dumping sites, weapons and vehicles, including icebreakers and submarines, was growing in intensity. The report stated that, observing current trends, there is the possibility that the Russian Arctic could contain the most heavily nuclearised waters in the world fifteen years from now.”

“As the brief described, the combination of the environmental fragility of the Arctic under climate change conditions, and the poor track record of the Russian government, and previously, the Soviet regime, of safe nuclear power maintenance, should be cause for alarm. To cite a recent example, in August 2019, an incident took place at the Nyonoksa (Нёнокса) test range on the White Sea, which was later described by US authorities as an explosion and radiation release, causing five fatalities, during a failed attempt to recover a misfired nuclear missile. The EPN paper concluded the increased amounts of nuclear fuel in, on, and near Russian Arctic waters, including via the floating mobile nuclear power station Akademik Lomonosov (Академик Ломоносов), which came online in May 2020, and planned new nuclear powered icebreaking vessels, greatly raised the chances of a catastrophic accident scenario.”