Russian nuke plants complain of misinformation hoax to scare the public

Publish date: June 11, 2009

Several Russian nuclear power plants claim they have been the target of a so-called information terror campaign spreading false information about an alleged nuclear accident, according to the country's nuclear powr plant operator, Energoatom.

Reports circulated on the Internet and by SMS messaging claimed that major incidents had occurred at nuclear power plants at Kursk, Novovoronezh, Balakovo and Volgodonsk. However, Energoatom, which operates all of Russia’s nuclear power plants, denied the allegations.
"The reports (…) saying that there have been accidents at some of the Russian nuclear power plants are not true. It appears to be one more information attack," Energoatom said in a statement, and advised worries parties to consult, a website that purports to report background radiation levels in real time from all of Russia’s nuclear plants in Russian.

By 6 June, Energoatom said that the information attack was "subsiding", with the number of enquiries to the website having peaked, World Nuclear News reported.

This is not the first time that Russian nuclear plants have suffered so-called information attacks, seemingly designed to cause panic.

In June 2008, rumours were circulated about a spurious accident at the Leningrad nuclear power station, as were allegations of radiation releases from the Volgodonsk nuclear plant. A July 2007 campaign against Volgodonsk, which according to Rosatom involved emails, SMS messages and telephone calls urging people to evacuate, led to over 500,000 telephone calls to the emergency ministry and panic buying of canned food, red wine and iodine pills, said WWN.

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