Groups protest nuclear fuel import plans

Thomas Nilsen
1999-09-30 12:00

Groups protest nuclear fuel import plans

Russian envirogroups staged actions of protest in major cities of Siberia where Russian Nuclear Ministry plans to build storage sites for imported spent nuclear fuel.

Action in Chelyabinsk

Action of protest in front of Chelyabinsk County Administration building.
Action in Chelyabinsk

The banner says: Better Be Active Than Radioactive.
Action in Chelyabinsk

Police is about to arrest the protesters.

Photos: Movement For Nuclear Safety

Natalia Mironova, the leader of a Chelyabinsk-based Movement for Nuclear Safety, was arrested Wednesday together with four other local environmentalist after protesting against the plans to import foreign spent nuclear fuel to Siberia. After some hours in custody she was released, but she still has to face a court hearing on October 4. Two of the other activists remained in custody Thursday awaiting the court hearing.

The activists blocked the entrance to the Administration Building downtown Chelyabinsk on the anniversary of the Kysthym-accident, one of the Russia’s worst nuclear accident, which happened on September 29, 1957, at Mayak plant’s secret plutonium factory.

At the same time the activists delivered 2.000 signatures against the plans to import spent nuclear fuel from other countries for storage in Siberia. Several other environmental groups in Chelyabinsk participated in the demonstration.

“We want to make it clear for the federal authorities that the population in Siberia is strongly against the import of nuclear waste,” Mironova said to Bellona Web after she was released from custody.

Similar demonstrations were arranged this week in the Siberian cities of Novosibirsk and Tomsk. An appeal protesting the nuclear waste import plans signed by local environmental groups in Krasnoyarsk was sent to Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy, or Minatom, in Moscow. Krasnoyarsk is the most likely location for foreign spent nuclear fuel storage.

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