Rosatom and Bellona try to find common ground on environmental issues at seminar

Alexander Gorbanovsky/Bellona

Publish date: September 9, 2009

Translated by: Charles Digges

ST. PETERSBURG – Russia’s state nuclear corporation and Bellona yesterday kicked off a seminary entitled “the Ecological Aspects of the use of Cooling Towers in Nuclear Power Plant Cooling Systems – a reare and surprising joint effort between the Russia’s nuclear industry and NGOs.

The seminar was organised by Rosatom’s regional and NGO relations department and the Environmental Rights Centre (ERC) Bellona, Bellona’s St. Petersburg branch.

The nuclear side put forth the chief engineer of Atomenergoproekt, Russia’s nuclear utility, Alexander Kazrein to relay its information, as well as Alexander Gavrilov, department head of Moscow’s Hydro-Meteorology Institute, chief of large scale project for the French pollution control and cooling system firm Namon, Serge Vizje, and Oleg Chernikov, management chief for the construction of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant 2.

Bellona’s experts included Academic Vladimir Kuznetsov of the Regional Agency on Energy Effectiveness Rating (REAN), the Analytic Center for Agro-Industrial Economics (AEP) and member of the public board of Rosatom, Alexander Marichin of the Polzunov Scientific- Industrial Union, Sergei Vishnyakov, director of Ekodelta, Ltd., and Dmitry Podushkov, city council member of Udomlya in the Kalinin Region. Bellona also invited members of non-profit groups in the city of Sosnovy Bor, home to the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant and the future home to the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant 2, where the construction of many cooling towers is planned. Some 50 people were in attendance.

What was special about the gathering is that Bellona included experts of equal calibre from both sides of the fence in the discussion it initiated. Furthermore, residents of Sosnovy Bor were able to access complete information relative to the ecological impact of the cooling towers.

So did the residents of Sosnovy Bor walk away satisfied that they had heard what they needed to about the cooling towers? Probably not. The Rosatom experts’ opinions on the absolute safety of the cooling mechanisms and information and information supplied by Udomlya’s Podushkov simply contradicted one another too much.

According to the afirmations of Podushokov, who is the former mayor of Udomlya, the 150-meter cooling towers of the Kalilin Nuclear Power Plant became a serious environmental danger for the city. Repesentatives of the nuclear industry were not able to supply so many answers on this issue. There were other questions on the minds of the seminar’s participants.

As a result, participants from civil society organisations and NGOs formulated the following questions:

1.) Performing a public comparative environmental impact study on the technological and economic research of the technical systems of water supply for cooling towers of the dry and steam varieties for use at the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant 2;

2.) The recommendation that Rosengergoatom conduct an expedited technical and economical study on the impact of the dry and steam varieties for the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant 2 (especially concerning the No.3 and No 4 reactor blocks);

3.) The formulation of an appeal to Rosatom’s public board to include in their agenda a discussion of the practice of using dry cooling towers at nuclear power plants in Russia, and to ask Kuznetsov to prepare and publicly discuss a report on this issue.

More information on these events will be reported on Bellona Web in the coming days.

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