Russian prosecutors enter radioactive waste scene

Publish date: April 17, 1997

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Regional prosecutor offices in Russia have been instructed to look into toxic and radioactive waste issues. The first results of the survey, which is to include military installations, should be submitted to Moscow at the time of writing.

On January 8 this year, the General Prosecutor’s office in Moscow dispatched a letter to the regional prosecutor offices, instructing them to control the fulfilment of the legislation regulating smuggling and handling of toxic and radioactive waste on Russian territory. The first results of the survey were to be submitted to Moscow by April 15.

Signed by Deputy General Prosecutor Davydov, the letter said that special attention should be paid to the condition of military temporary storage facilities for solid and liquid radioactive waste. The regional prosecutors should also find out if there is co-operation between local military institutions and environmental agencies on environmental safeguarding issues.

According to Murmansk county representative of the Russian Nuclear Safety Inspection (Gosatomnadzor) Anatoly Prochorov, the military objects will not become accessible to civilian inspectors. Most probably, he added, Northern Fleet nuclear objects will be controlled by the Military Prosecutor’s office through the military nuclear safety inspection.

Entitled to control the military objects by presidential decree in 1990, the Russian Nuclear Safety Inspection (Gosatomnadzor) was not allowed to fulfil this function by the Ministry of Defence. The fight between the civilian inspectors and the Ministry of Defence was ended in 1995, when another presidential decree relieved Gosatomnadzor from the responsibility of military nuclear objects inspection. Currently supervision of radiation and nuclear safety regulations at military objects, including those of the Northern Fleet, is conducted by the military nuclear and radiation safety inspection.