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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S.-Funded Recycling Facility Opens

SEVERODVINSK, Far North — Russia and the United States unveiled Wednesday their first joint project to render harmless Moscow’s rusting fleet of disused nuclear submarines, which has raised serious fears of pollution.

The U.S.-funded facility in the town of Severodvinsk on the White Sea will help Russia reduce the risk of polluting its own and international waters as it takes hundreds of nuclear vessels out of service under disarmament agreements with Washington.

"This project will help make this area safer, the Arctic region safer, in fact, the whole world safer for the work that will be done at this plant," Thomas Kuenning, director of U.S. Common Threat Reduction directorate, said at the opening.

The directorate oversaw the $17 million project, carried out jointly by Russian, British and French companies with U.S. Lockheed Martin Energy Technologies as prime contractor.

The plant is due to help Russia tackle the problem of low-level radioactive waste extracted from nuclear submarines scrapped under START strategic disarmament agreements with the United States.

Some 185 such vessels, 55 of them already cut up, are waiting to be recycled.