by helicopters. The distance to Gremikha from either Murmansk or Arkhangelsk is approximately 400 km by sea. The lack of a developed transportation network could have negative consequences for future cargo delivery operations.
In 1998 the Russian government terminated operations at the site, and in 2001 it was transferred to Minatom (the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy, now the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, or Rosatom) for environmental remediation. The objectives are to remove the spent nuclear fuel and the radioactive waste, decommission the facility, and clean up the adjacent territory within a sanitary protective zone until residual contamination reaches acceptable levels. This work is to be carried out with consideration for possible options for further use of the site, provided that safe conditions can be ensured for workers, the public, and the environment.
Circumstances hampering environmental remediation at the site include the following:
There are no national standards or requirements for environmental remediation of nuclear- and radiation-hazard facilities, nor are there criteria for demonstrating that cleanup goals have been reached.
There are no approved end-state solutions for the site or decisions on the time allocated to reach that end state, taking into account proposals for further use of its various facilities.
Hard and urgent work must be carried out in order to provide adequate conditions for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste storage, taking into account both the existing damage to the protective barriers and infrastructure and the support of the population.
Plans for environmental remediation depend on prospects for further development of the town of Ostrovnoi, which is the main center supporting the people involved in this work.
The positions taken by parties with an interest in Ostrovnoi’s future are diverse with differing objectives. Thus, proposed implementation plans for environmental remediation vary considerably.
Active work is limited to specific seasons because of the climate conditions and availability of transportation connections.
Previous environmental remediation experience with such facilities is lacking.
Solutions must be recommended that take into account realistic work dynamics and unstable operating conditions that entail high risks during implementation of planned approaches.
Urgent environmental remediation efforts have already been carried out, including work related to radiation safety of workers during routine operations at the facility, preparation and implementation of comprehensive engineering radiation studies, and partial restoration of the site infrastructure.