At the bottom of the sea off the coast of Norway has its own “Chernobyl”. The U-864 submarine loaded with mercury on board was sunk in 1945. Since then, it has been poisoning sea water.
The submarine of the Second World War, sunk off the coast of Norway, poisons the sea and the life of the locals. The German submarine was carrying 1,800 canisters with mercury weighing 60 tons. And now every year about 4 kg of hazardous substances fall into the sea water. Local crabs and cod due to the high mercury content are already unsafe to catch and eat.
Scientists have developed a plan to eliminate the consequences of the disaster 73 years ago. They want to fill the boat with sand and gravel to stop the leakage of chemicals into the ocean. This is the standard method for neutralizing mercury. The operation of the “burial” of U-864, which will cost 31 million euros, should start in 2020.
Neutralization of poisonous fragments of the submarine is complicated by the fact that one of them lies on the underwater slope, and can crawl down and break if you act carelessly. In June 2017, a huge backup was installed under this piece to minimize the risk of shifting submarine residues.
U-864 off the Norwegian coast was discovered by a minesweeper in 2003. Since then, there has been heated debate around the “underwater Chernobyl”. Environmentalists demand that the boat with all its contents be lifted to the surface and declare that the plan for the submarine’s underwater burial is unreliable and will not eliminate the risk of leakage completely. But local authorities are not willing to take such a step because of the risk of more serious leaks.