“The international community has to act together, in full partnership with Russia, to ensure that what can be described as a hazard today does not become a disaster tomorrow.” The 110 million euro is due to be the first installment in the ‘support fund’ for the Northern Dimension Environmental Programme (NDEP). Involving the Commission, Russia and several financial institutions, the NDEP was formed in 1997 in an attempt to arrest the trend towards environmental destruction in the Baltic and Arctic Sea regions and in north-west Russia.Twelve projects – with an overall cost of 1.3 billion euro – are due to be undertaken as part of the programme. The ‘steering group’ for the NDEP has compiled a further list of nuclear waste management schemes, with an estimated price tag of 500 million euro.Their aim will be to control the nuclear waste in the Barents Sea region, considered to have the largest concentration of such waste in the world. The region’s stockpile of waste is especially large on the Kola Peninsula, south-east of Murmansk.“There are hundreds of nuclear submarines and reactors to be dismantled and vast quantities of radioactive waste to take care of,” said Chris Patten, the EU external relations commissioner.“Future generations will not understand if we do not act now to tackle the legacy of environmental degradation and above all the legacy of dangerous nuclear material left in northern Europe,” he added.“Blaming the failures and mistakes of the past is not an answer. At a conference in Brussels this week the Commission pledged 50 million euro to a newly established support fund for Russia’s environment, with Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Russia itself each promising 10 million euro.About 62 million euro of the total is due to be spent on projects aimed at tackling pollution from nuclear weapons and power plants. But Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Kolotukhin said: “We are far from enthusiastic about the intention to direct half of the support fund proceeds to the nuclear part of the environmental problem.”The scale of the nuclear waste crisis is too large for the amount concerned to make a significant difference, he said.