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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Decommissioned Subs Pose Risk of an Accident: Report

More than half of the Pacific Fleet's 75 decommissioned nuclear submarines are stranded in harbors waiting for nuclear fuel to be unloaded from their reactors, raising the risk of a nuclear accident, a lawmaker said in an interview published Friday.

"The Russian Far East and bordering states are under threat of a nuclear catastrophe every minute," State Duma Deputy Boris Reznik was quoted as saying in a front-page interview in the Izvestia daily. "But the military doesn't let in the inspectors under the guise of military secrecy."

According to Reznik, who said he did his own research, the greatest source of danger is from the decommissioned submarine PM-32, which he said was used as a provisional storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from other submarines.

"It has 126 defect channels through which radiation is continually leaking into the sea," he was quoted as saying.

Officials have repeatedly denied such allegations and contend that the risk of a nuclear accident is extremely slight.

"We are doing everything to minimize the possibility of radiation accidents, such as leaks," Viktor Akhunov, a Nuclear Power Ministry official in charge of submarine disposal, was quoted by Izvestia as saying.

The Nuclear Power Ministry said in December that the navy had decommissioned a total of 189 nuclear submarines, but 126 were still waiting to be scrapped.

Reznik told Izvestia that the Pacific Fleet decommissioned 75 submarines, but 45 subs still had fuel in their reactors.

Akhunov acknowledged that if more money was available, the decommissioning work, which is expected to be completed in about six years, could be done sooner.

This year, navy experts are expected to unload spent nuclear fuel from 20 nuclear submarines and completely dismantle 17.