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Exxon, Rosneft eye oil in nuclear wasteland

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Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters/File

(Read caption) A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas, in this September 2008 file photo. Exxon Mobil and Rosneft are planning to drill in a former nuclear dump which is estimated to hold enough oil to supply the world for five years, Burgess writes.

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It has been well documented that oil majors from around the world are looking at oil exploration in the Arctic, where they believe that some of the largest untapped fields in the world still lie. Environmentalists have been fighting efforts to start exploring for oil, fearing that any serious oil spill could mean the destruction of one of the last pristine wildernesses on the planet.

In the Kara Sea, where Exxon Mobil and Rosneft are planning to drill a region which is estimated to hold enough oil to supply the world for five years, environmentalists have a new reason to fear for the environment; nuclear radiation. (RELATED: Oil is Not Looking So Hot)

The Kara Sea is so remote that the Soviet Union used it as a dumping ground for radioactive material for more than 25 years. The two oil companies have avoided calls for the nuclear waste, estimated to consist of over 17,000 barrels of radioactive waste, worn-out reactors, and even an old nuclear submarine, to be cleared up before any exploration takes place.
Scientists from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) will soon present the results from their first survey in the area for 18 years, to determine whether or not the radiation is stable or increasing.
Rosneft released a statement to try and reassure the public that “all ecological and nature protection norms are being followed at the same time,” using “the the best world practices available.”

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