Another installment of: “Is it just me, or is this a stunningly stupid idea?” Exxon plans to drill in area where Soviets dumped nuclear waste

Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Tuesday:
The Kara Sea, a body of Arctic waters so remote that the Soviet Union used it as an atomic- waste dump for more than 25 years, has become the focus of an environmental battle that oil companies are preparing to win.
Exxon Mobil Corp. and its Russian partner OAO Rosneft are taking steps to drill near the ocean-floor wasteland, eager to plumb an Arctic region estimated to hold enough crude to supply the world for five years. They’ve sidestepped environmental groups’ calls for a clean-up prior to exploration of the area off Russia’s northern coast where Soviet ships dumped worn-out reactors and 17,000 containers of radioactive waste.
There are some hot items on the floor of the Kara Sea:
The single most dangerous item at the bottom of the sea is the K-27 nuclear submarine, scuttled by the Soviet navy in 1981.
Bloomberg also reported:
Until 1992, the Soviet Union dumped solid and liquid waste in the neighboring Kara and Barents seas, including atomic fuel from the icebreaker Lenin, the world’s first nuclear-powered civilian vessel….
The items dumped in the Kara Sea incuded, according to Bloomberg:
The catalog of atomic material dumped in the Kara Sea includes liquid, reactors, spent nuclear fuel, 19 ships carrying solid waste and 17,000 containers, according to the NRPA (Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.) The content of many is unknown, (Russian scientist Alexei) Yablokov said.
Some of the containers were shot with machine guns to sink them when they floated in the water, he said. “We know more or less precisely where the largest objects have been dumped,” he said.

About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
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