Norway Holds Emergency Meeting Regarding Sub

Monday, August 14, 2000
Norway called a meeting of a crisis team for radioactive accidents on Monday, August 14, after technical faults forced a Russian nuclear submarine to run aground on the sea bed off northern Russia. "The crisis commission for atomic accidents has been alerted to the situation, and will meet this afternoon to go over the available information," the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority said. The authority would try to compile all information on the accident, from Russia, other Nordic countries and the Norwegian armed forces, before the meeting of officials in the commission to decide whether any action was needed. Norway has long feared radioactive pollution from its eastern neighbor. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used the twin Arctic islands of Novaya Zemlya as a nuclear-testing ground. The Russian Northern Fleet is based in Murmansk. The Radiation Protection Authority said that the submarine had sunk off Murmansk, east of the Arctic border with Norway. The Russian navy said there were 107 people aboard the vessel. "I expect it's lying somewhere between 150 and 200 m (492 and 656 ft.) deep," Per Hoiby, a spokesman for the Norwegian armed forces, told NRK public radio. He said that, as far as he knew, there had been no Russian request for military assistance from Norway. Norway's rescue services also said they had not received any request for assistance. The Russian office of the Norwegian ecological group, Bellona, was quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax as saying it was concerned by the "atmosphere of secrecy" surrounding the submarine incident.
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