VLADIVOSTOK. February 2. VOSTOK-MEDIA – The Administration of the Far East appreciates the importance of dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear Submarines in Russian Fra East. The issue was raised at the plenary meeting of the Third International Ecological Forum ‘Nature Without Borders’ by Hajime Sasaki, Secretary-General, Technical Secretariat of the Committee on Cooperation to Assist the Destruction of Nuclear Weapons Reduced in the Russian Federation.
Here’s the text of the report of Hajime Sasaki.
“Thank you very much for your kind invitation to The Third International Ecological Forum: Nature Without Borders. The question of dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines is now one of the topics for the first time in this Conference.
It is needless to say that projects on the dismantlement of nuclear submarines are closely linked to marine and coastal environment in not only Primorsky Territory, but also Russian Far East as a whole. From this point of view, I would like to pay tribute to the insight of the Administration of Primorsky Territory to discuss this important issue in this Forum.
Japan’s cooperation to Russia dates back to Munich Summit held in 1992.
In 1991, the former Soviet Union collapsed and the safe elimination of nuclear weapons left behind in the former Soviet Union and the solution of ecological problems accompanied with the elimination of nuclear weapons became a matter of serious concerns in the international community.
Under these circumstances, G7 leaders inclusive of Japan decided to render assistances to the former Soviet countries for the solution of the problems.
The Government of Japan concluded the bilateral Agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus for the cooperation. Japan concluded the above Agreement with Russia in October, 1993.
The first big project under the bilateral Agreement between Japan and Russia was a provision of “Suzuran” (“Landysh”), a floating facility for processing of low-level liquid radioactive waste. After being obvious that the Russian Navy dumped liquid radioactive wastes into the Sea of Japan in 1993, the Japan- Russia Cooperation Committee provided “Suzuran” in November, 2001. The activities of “Suzuran” directly linked to the coastal and marine environment of the Primorsky Territory and the Sea of Japan which is one of the main theme of this Conference.
“Suzuran” is now moored in the Bolshoy Kamen Bay and the quality of liquid waste released into the sea after the treatment is below the safety level defined by the international standards, such as IAEA, EC, etc and not harmful at all to the marine environment in the Primorsky Territory. After the provision of ”Suzuran”, liquid radioactive waste generated from the dismantlement of nuclear submarines are all treated and therefore, significance of our cooperation has been substantiated and our cooperation is highly appreciated by the authorities concerned.
On top of it, the Facility is capable to treat all liquid radioactive waste generated in the Russian Far East. Our experts are now engaged in their post evaluation study on the Facility. It is already confirmed that “Suzuran” has already attaind its original objectives and promoted the current cooperation, which also led the establishment of relevant Russian laws and regulations consistent with the international standards.
Next, I would like to explain Japan’s cooperation for dismantling decommissioned nuclear submarines. The dismantlement programme of the decommissioned nuclear submarines was named “Star of Hope” after the Zvezda Shipyard by the Former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi.
In December, 2004, we completed our pilot project, the dismantlement of Victor III class submarine.
Then, on the occasion of then President Putin’s visit to Japan on November 21, 2005, the Implementing Arramgement on the dismantlement was signed for additional five decommissioned nuclear submarines (one Victor I class (Hull No. 614), three Victor III class (Hull No. 271, 308, 333), and one Charilie I class (Hull No. 714)).
Of the five submarines, the first Victor-I class submarine, is already dismantled in August, 2007.
With regard to the Victor-III class nuclear submarines, the dismantlement work of the first one (Hull No. 333) out of the three is now completed. The remaining two submarines will be dismantled in order, when the dockyard becomes available.
The Charlie-I class submarine is now under the dismantlement at the North Eastern Repair Centre (NERC) in Kamchatka. All dismantling works which the Japan-Russian Cooperation Committee has assisted to date were carried out at the “Zvezda” Shipyard located in Bolshoy Kamen and therefore, the dismantlement of Charlie-I class submarine is the first project implemented in Kamchatka under the Japan-Russia cooperation framework.
In connection with our Japan-Russia cooperation, Australia and the Republic of Korea (ROK) made financial contributions to the dismantlement of the Victor-I Class nuclear submarine (Hull No. 614), while ROK and New Zealand rendered financial assistances to the dismantlement of the Victor-III Class nuclear submarine (Hull No. 333).
Their financial contributions are their responses to the appeal of the G8 Global Partnership which was agreed at the Kananaskis Summit in 2002 and indicate their strong commitment to G8GP. Their contributions are deserving of our high esteem and sincere gratitude.
I am very much honoured to introduce their cooperation on this occasion.
Russia is now constructing the long term on-shore storage facility for the reactor compartment units of dismantled submarines which have been temporarily stored in Razboinik Bay since 1992.
Considering the safe storage of reactor compartment units and enviromental protection, it is the most desirable to keep them in the onshore facility. From this point of view, Japan decided to assist the Project with the supply of one floating dock, two jib cranes and one tugboat. We have now completed our basic design study on these three items and I hope the Implementing Arrangement on the Project will be signed in the near future.
It is our sincere hope that both the safe management of reactor compartment units and environment preservation shall be secured as soon as possible through the earliest possible operation of the Facility.
On April 15, 2008, our Foreign Minister Koumura had a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.
On that occasion, Foreign Minister Lavrov expressed his appreciation to the Japanese cooperation to our joint endeavour to date. And both Ministers welcomed the prospect that the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines in the Russian Far East will be completed by 2010.
Both Ministers also agreed to consult the ensuing cooperation after 2010 and the details will be discussed between two Governments in due course.
It is indeed pleased to identify not only from the perspective of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the fight against the nuclear terrorism, but also from the environmental viewpoints that the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines in the Russian Far East are in good progress by the Japanese-Russian cooperation, the financial cooperation from Australia, ROK and New Zealand through the Japanese-Russian cooperation channel, and Canadian and Russian cooperation, on top of US-Russian cooperation.
Now I am the Secretary General of the Secretariat for the Japan-Russia Cooperation Committee. But I worked in the International Environmental Technology Center (IETC) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from 1996 to 1998 in Osaka, Japan.
At that time, IETC focused its activities on fresh water and urban environment issues and therefore I am very much interested in various environmental issues being discussed in this Forum apart from the question of dismantling decommissioned nuclear submarines.
While working at the IETC, UNEP always sent a very important message to the international community. The message is that all stakeholders should participate in decision makings and management processes of environmental issues.
I firmly believe that this message is, even today, true of tackling the environmental problems in the Primorsky Territory. It is my sincere hope that the sustainable development in the Primorsky Territory will be promoted widely through the sound management of fresh water, forests, solution of urban environmental issues and the preservation of marine and coastal environment by the participation of all stakeholders inclusive of citizens, citizens groups, industries, academics and local governments.
Hoping the successful outcome of the Conference, I close my presentation.
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