100,000 demanding referendum against RT-2

Publish date: March 14, 1997

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Green movement activists in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, have collected 100,000 signatures in support of a local referendum on whether the construction of reprocessing plant RT-2 is to be completed. The information was reported by Russian national TV channels. According to current legislation, a demand for a referendum backed by 100,000 signatures must be obliged, allthough the local government may decide to implement the suggested desicion directly instead.

Construction of the new reprocessing plant in Krasnoyarsk-26 was authorised in 1977, allthough actual construction works were not started until 1985. The RT-2 plant will reprocess spent nuclear fuel from light water reactors such as the VVER-1000. In 1989 the construction works, then 30-40 % complete, were halted, due both to a lack of funding and strong opposition against the facility on the local level. Originally expected to be paused for five years only, the construction works have not been restarted. There are now plans to establish an international company in order to raise the capital necessary for the completion of RT-2.

When accepting foreign spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing, the annual income at RT-2 could amount to 300 million USD. However, due to concerns about the proposed new plant’s impact upon the local environment, the authorities in Krasnoyarsk county and local green groups have cast their votes against the project. The first regional referendum organised in the beginning of the nineties voted against it by a very large majority.

This second referendum is being organised due to the complete ignoral of the results of the first one by the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy. It is expected that the Krasnoyarsk regional administration will decide whether to arrange the second referendum on March 19 this year.

On December 8 1996 there was a referendum held in Kostroma county in the middle part of Russia, questioning the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the county. 87 % of the population voted against completion of the plant.