Title

Nuclear Pollution in the Arctic: the Next Chernobyl?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
3:30pm
2325 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20002
United States
Moderator(s): 
Name: 
Paul Massaro
Title Text: 
Policy Advisor
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Witnesses: 
Name: 
Nils Bøhmer
Title: 
Managing Director
Body: 
Bellona Foundation
Statement: 
Name: 
Julia Gourley
Title: 
U.S. Senior Arctic Official
Body: 
Department of State
Name: 
Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen
Title: 
Visiting Fellow, Europe Program
Body: 
Center for Strategic and International Studies

For decades, certain nations have been dumping nuclear waste and radioactive material in the Arctic. The extent of this contaminated waste has only come to light in recent years, and some experts fear there could be severe consequences if the waste is not swiftly handled and removed. This briefing sought to explore the magnitude of the problem and present recommendations for what the U.S. and the international community can do moving forward.

The briefing participants offered diverse subject-area expertise, coming from backgrounds of Arctic environment, U.S. policy, and broader geopolitics. Nils Bøhmer, a Norwegian nuclear physicist, started the briefing off with an educated overview of past and current Russian nuclear activity in the Arctic. Next, Julia Gourley brought attention to some Arctic Council programs addressing environmental and health issues in the Arctic. Finally, Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen discussed nuclear-waste management, the current state of Arctic geopolitics, and offered models for nuclear-waste governance.  The discussion was productive and all of the participants encouraged further U.S. engagement on this issue.

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