Russia has sailed the world’s last civilian nuclear-powered cargo ship along the coast of Norway in a voyage that has caused concern in Oslo. The Sevmorput, loaded with 5,000 tonnes of frozen fish and other seafood from the Pacific Ocean, left Russia’s far east Kamchatka region on August 29. The 30-year-old icebreaker’s reactor contains about 150 kilos of uranium. The ship sailed along the Arctic northern sea route before passing through the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Baltic on its way to St Petersburg. This is the first time that Russia has used a nuclear-powered vessel to transport commercial cargo to St Petersburg along this route. Russian officials say they hope such voyages will become regular as melting ice sheets open new trade routes between Europe and the Far East. Moscow plans to ship 80 million tons of cargo along the northern sea route by 2025. The Sevmorput will make the journey again next month. The ship was due to be scrapped in 2008 but the decision was reversed. It underwent upgrades and safety checks in 2015. Last month Russia’s first waterborne nuclear power station embarked on a 3,000-mile journey from the far northern port of Murmansk to Chukotka, in the country’s far east. Environmental campaigners described it as a “floating Chernobyl”.
Times 16th Sept 2019 read more »