Submarines: January 16, 2003


At the height of the Cold War, Russia had the largest nuclear sub fleet in the world (over 200 boats.) But many of them were old, obsolete or poorly built. Even before the Cold War ended, Russia hastened to retire most of them. In the past fifteen years, Russia has taken 190 nuclear subs out of service. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Russian economy, there was no money for the expensive process of dismantling the nuclear power plants on these subs. Although the US, Japan and European nations came up with hundreds of millions of dollars for dismantling, there are still 90 Russian nuclear subs tied up in Russian ports waiting to be taken apart. Russia wants to dismantle 131 nuclear subs by 2010, and is begging wealthier Western nations for the money. In particular, Russia wants help in building permanent storage facilities for the reactors taken from the obsolete subs. Apparently, the usual suspects are ready to come up with the money, rather than see more nuclear material dumped into the arctic ocean. 


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