Norway exposed to radioactive disaster / News / The Foreigner

Norway exposed to radioactive disaster. A recent incident involving the Danish cargo ship “Puma” has exposed how little protection Norway has in the event of a radioactive catastrophe. The ship was returning from its previous journey along the Norwegian coastline to Murmansk, after having deposited its cargo of 330 tons of highly-enriched uranium waste from a Slovenian reactor. “Puma’s” crew radioed for assistance on Saturday approximately 20 nautical miles north of Sørøya in Finnmark County after the ship started taking in water.

puma, ship, murmansk, radioactive, waste, uranium, fuel, chelyabinsk, mayak, plant, south-urals, murmansk, lars, haltbrekken, friends, earth



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Norway exposed to radioactive disaster

Published on Wednesday, 22nd December, 2010 at 14:30 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau.
Last Updated on 22nd December 2010 at 21:18.

A recent incident involving the Danish cargo ship “Puma” has exposed how little protection Norway has in the event of a radioactive catastrophe.

Highly-Enriched Uranium
Highly-Enriched Uranium
Photo: PD-LAYOUT; PD-USGOV/Wikimedia Commons


Ignorant

The ship was returning from its previous journey along the Norwegian coastline to Murmansk, after having deposited its cargo of 330 tons of highly-enriched uranium waste from a Slovenian reactor.

“Puma’s” crew radioed for assistance on Saturday approximately 20 nautical miles north of Sørøya in Finnmark County after the ship started taking in water.

Bodø’s Rescue Coordination Centre (Hovedredningssentralen) contacted the rescue ship “Ulabrand” at approximately 21:00 to intervene, according to its captain, Frank Nilsen.

“The Puma then went into Sørøya’s Dønnesfjord near whilst we followed after it. Then it was anchored here, and the water pumped out. The Coast Guard’s "Farm" ship also came to its aid,” he told Finnmark Dagblad.

NRK reports that Captain Nilsen and his crew claim they were not aware the ship had transported nuclear waste. They were concerned what could have happened if they had been forced to intervene onboard the “Puma”.

“Our job is to save people, property and the environment. We stretch ourselves to the limit when saving people. However, we will not put the lives of our crew in danger or at risk, or injure them whilst saving others. Perhaps they should have told us about what kind of cargo it was,” he said.

Case in point

Environmental groups were extremely concerned by what happened, arguing it only served to reinforce their stance about the dangers of transporting nuclear waste.

“This incident shows the degree of risk associated with carrying radioactive waste. We could have faced an environmental catastrophe of considerable dimensions if there had been a shipwreck when the “Puma” was fully-loaded whilst on its outward journey" says Friends of the Earth Norway’s (Norges Naturvernforbund) Lars Haltbrekken.

Norwegian authorities have been prompt in their reactions to the incident, calling for the development of improved radioactive cargo transport policies.

“Obviously, a shipwreck with radioactive material would have provided challenges. We want to expand bilateral and international contact, as well as formalize cooperation with the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket),” Per Strand, Head of Department at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (Statens Strålevern), told NRK.

Meanwhile, the authority’s Eldri Holo has already said she is worried about the consequences of a radioactive leak, reports Aftenposten.

“We’ve run several scenarios regarding what could happen, and assume the cargo was properly contained in accordance with the regulations.”



Published on Wednesday, 22nd December, 2010 at 14:30 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau.
Last updated on 22nd December 2010 at 21:18.

This post has the following tags: puma, ship, murmansk, radioactive, waste, uranium, fuel, chelyabinsk, mayak, plant, south-urals, murmansk, lars, haltbrekken, friends, earth.





  
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