In a time when massive numbers of nuclear submarines are being taken out of service, but the necessary financial and material resources for fully decommissioning and dismantling them are not being provided, it becomes unavoidable that these vessels will have to stand at anchor for long periods without their radioactive components being removed. This situation entails real nuclear and radioecological risks.
In the matter of reducing the level of danger presented by these sites, great significance must be attached to questions of ensuring environmental safety in the management of spent fuel and radioactive wastes, in the prolonged maintenance of reactor blocs in vessels at anchor, and in the long periods in which Russian nuclear submarines that have been removed from service are left standing without having their spent nuclear fuel removed. Meeting this challenge successfully depends not only on the amount of financing available but also on the technical capabilities of industrial enterprises to carry out an entire range of work involving radiation hazards.
The problem of managing liquid radioactive wastes has become somewhat less acute recently, and additional facilities for processing such wastes are being created in the Northern and Pacific fleets, including those created with the help of foreign investors (from the United States, Norway, and Japan).
A long path lies ahead if we are to resolve all the problems connected with radiation safety once and for all. The economic resources of the Russian state budget do not make it possible to resolve these problems in a compressed timeframe. Consequently, we must focus our efforts on seeking and putting into practice optimal technical innovations and low-waste technologies, making wider use of insurance mechanisms, and attracting foreign investment.