Discourses on industrial pollution
As said in Chapter 2, the two nickel smelters on the Kola Peninsula – the Pechenganickel Combine at Zapolyarnyy/Nikel and the Severonickel Combine at Monchegorsk – emit large quantities of sulphur dioxide (SO2), causing considerable acid precipitation on the Kola Peninsula and in the neighbouring Nordic countries. We also saw that emissions decreased during the 1990s as the result of a general slump in industrial output, but that considerable areas around the smelter towns have been irreversibly damaged by the pollution (see Figure 2.4). Hence, while current emission levels follow Russia’s international obligations (Kotov and Nikitina 1998b; Hønneland and Jørgensen 2003), industrial pollution from the Kola Peninsula nickel smelters is still considered by Western governments to be a major environmental challenge in the European Arctic. Plans for comprehensive smelter modernisation projects had started on the Nordic side in the mid-1980s, but it was not until 2001 that agreement was reached between Norway and Russia on a project involving a 90 per cent reduction in emissions of SO2 and heavy metals, scheduled to be finalised in 2006-2007.