Environmentalists to raise awareness of the import of nuclear spent fuel before elections

Publish date: November 19, 2003

Action-days have been initiated by Ecodefense, Russia's national anti-nuclear group, campaigning since 1998 against the importing of nuclear waste to Russia.

Ecodefense announced actions would take place in as many as 20 large cities. On November 25th, environmental activists across Russia will stage protests against the import of nuclear waste. Actions will also be focused on informing voters about parliamentarians’ positions on the nuclear waste import issue. Two weeks ahead of the December 7th elections to the State Duma, lower house of the Russian Parliament. Russian environmental groups will organise protests, rallies, actions and performances aimed at informing voters across country on the candidates’ positions on nuclear waste issue. In 2001, the Russian Parliament approved legislation allowing the nuclear industry to import high-level radioactive waste (spent nuclear fuel). At the same time, nearly 90% of citizens expressed their opposition to the new legislation, holding hundreds of actions all across the country.

The parliament ignored mass public opinion. More than 50 environmental groups are campaigning to inform citizens on the position of members of parliament on various environmental issues. Nuclear waste is the priority issue. The campaign is targeted at building of strong civil society by forcing parliamentarians to be more responsible. The Russian nuclear industry has announced it will import over 20,000 tonnes of nuclear waste from across the world for long-term storage in the hope of earning nearly $20 billion for new reactor construction and spent fuel reprocessing. At the same time, for the past several years the nuclear industry has been under strong public pressure, and cannot find new customers for its spent fuel services. “The new elections are coming, and we have to remind voters which Duma members voted in favour of the import of nuclear waste. Through effective public pressure we have to force the new parliament to disapprove the nuclear waste legislation as amoral and anti-democratic”, Ecodefense said.