Kola radiation alarm cut due to unpaid phone bill

The radiation alarm system is supposed to warn Nordic authorities about accidents or other releases of radioactivity from Kola Nuclear power plant or other nuclear installations at the Kola Peninsula. In 1993 Finland paid for the modern alarm system which is connected through the telephone lines. Eight radiation sensors across Kola are connected to the alarm system.

According to the Finnish radiation and nuclear safety authority, the breakdown of the system is due to the fact that Murmansk Meteorological Institute has failed to pay its telephone bill. The bill is between 1,900 and 3,800 USD, a small amount of money compared with the cost of the installation of the alarm system.

–Since the spring of 1996 the phone has been cut because the bills have not been paid, said Heikki Reponen, a senior advisor at Finland`s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority to Reuters.

–I have not heard about any problems with the unpaid bills, commented on the situation Ludmila Amozova, head of the Radiation Protection Department in the Murmansk County Environmental Committee.

–As far as I know, there were only problems with the modems delivered from Finland which were not adjustable to the creepy Russian telephone lines, added Amozova.

Norwegian Radiation Protection Authorities do also have problems with a planned new system for monitoring radiation at the Kola Peninsula. They say the Russians are dragging their feet on allowing a radiation sensor to be installed which could help to provide information.

Bellona Web could not get any comments from officials at Kola Nuclear Power Plant today, due to the fact that it was impossible to get through by phone.

Igor Kudrik

igor@bellona.no