Representatives of the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority NRPA were present at the drills.
"This is very important for Norway, not only for our safety and security, but also for sidestepping criticality accidents in the future," NRPA head Malgorzata Sneve told NRK.
Norway has been following the cleansing of the former military facilities on Kola Peninsula with a vested interest, as joint cleansing efforts began as early as 1997. NRK estimates the total treatment cost of the nuclear waste at 1 billion kroner (120 million dollars), of which Norway has contributed 30 million dollars. The Norwegian contribution reportedly funded infrastructural expansion and security measures.
According to the plan, the first container with nuclear waste is to be removed during the course of the year. The waste will be shipped to Murmansk and then sent in specially designed trains to the Mayak nuclear facility in the Urals, where Russia processes all its nuclear fuel.
"If everything goes as planned, we will commence the removal of the first containers of nuclear fuel in the fourth quarter of this year. We will also build roads and infrastructure so that the waste can be removed in its entirety starting from next year," Valery Panteleyev, director of the state company SevRAO told NRK. His company is responsible for cleaning up nuclear waste sites in north-west Russia.
Andreyev Bay is a former Russian military service base that was used to replenish nuclear fuel on atomic submarines as well as to store used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. The facility ceased to operate towards the end of the Soviet era in the 1980s.