“,Ordinary people are too ignorant”,

Igor Kudrik
1997-05-05 12:00











Krasnoyarsk Council deputies exposed:

“Ordinary people are too ignorant”

—Ordinary people are too ignorant to make decisions on the development of
nuclear energy, claimed deputies of the Krasnoyarsk county council when rejecting the
referendum on the construction of reprocessing plant RT-2. As we reported earlier, the
decision was made in a closed hearing on April 18. Today we got hold of the
transcripts.

On April 18 Krasnoyarsk Deputies Council held a hearing concerning a proposed referendum
on the construction of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant RT-2 in Krasnoyarsk-26. Prior to the
proceedings the Krasnoyarsk environmental movement collected some 100,000 signatures in
support of the referendum among the local population.

Rather than appointing a date for the referendum, the deputies referred to RT-2 as being
subject to federal authorities – and rejected the initiative. Russian environmental legislation grants
local authorities the right to veto any object on their territory, given that the object may be
hazardous to the environment. Krasnoyarsk deputies concluded that this does not apply, since –
according to them – it is not certain that the RT-2 will constitute a risk. An environmental expert
survey of the plans has not yet been completed.

However, on perusal of the transcripts from the proceedings, we find some lines of argument
that where not publicised with the desicion. First of all, the deputies doubted the reasonability of
trusting “ignorant ordinary people” when dealing with decisions concerning “the future of the
Russian nuclear energy development in general”. A second strong argument was that a referendum
would require allocation of enormous financial resources. Somehow, it seems to have slipped the
deputies’ minds that the completion of the plant in question will require some 1,4 billion USD.

On another tack, Krasnoyarsk environmentalist and PhD of technical sciences Vladimir
Khizhnyak, was struck by the shallow knowledge about state of affairs at the RT-2 and of the
Krasnoyarsk nuclear complex in general, pronounced through several of the deputies’ speeches.

— Letting alone the technical mistakes deputies allowed themselves to make, like “liquid nuclear
fuel” etc., they apparently were quite brain-washed by the Krasnoyarsk Mining and Chemical
Combine administration, showing much interest in the new job opportunities they are planning to
get with the completion of the RT-2, comments Vladimir Khizhnyak.

Back to the county council proceedings: After 19 out of 26 deputies cast their vote against making
the referendum vote public, the rejection of the referendum was passed by an overwhelming
majority of 22 votes.

According to Vladimir Micheev, a Krasnoyarsk member of Socio-Ecological Union, the
Krasnoyarsk green movement filed a complaint against the council decision on April 29. The
county court should deal with the complaint within 40 days. In case the court decision supports
the rejection, Greenpeace Russia is ready to back the case all the way up to the Supreme Court of
the Russian Federation in Moscow.

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Igor Kudrik

igor@bellona.no