Authorities use scare tactics on opponents of nuclear power

Publish date: July 15, 2007

On July 14th 10 citizens of the Irkutsk District were arrested by the local police (militsiya) in an Angarsk suburb not very far from the Angarsky Electrolysis Chemical Plant (AECP).

They were held without being charged and placed in the #3 police department in Angarsk, where they were then released after having their identity confirmed and being questioned by Federal State Security officers.

Andrei Ozharovski, a member of the ‘Ecozashita’ anti-nuclear energy activist group, stated that “we see the police’s actions and the FSS’s interrogation of these people as ways to scare the national anti-nuclear camp that is opening next week in Angarsk. The constitution guarantees a Russian citizen’s right to move freely about the country; instead of using scare tactics, it would be worth law-enforcement officials’ time to help anti-nuclear activists gain the freedom of expression as well.”

It must be remembered that on July 26th the Irkutsk-based organizations ‘Baikal Environmental Wave,’ ‘The Baikal Movement’ and the Russian environmental group ‘Eco-Defense’ are intending to open a national anti-nuclear base next to the AECP uranium enrichment enterprise. The anti-nuclear camp plans to pay special attention to the creation of an international uranium enrichment center and the import of radioactive discharges as part of their efforts to prevent the import of waste from foreign countries. The anti-nuclear camps activities will include protest rallies to attract attention to the above mentioned problems.

Ozharovsky, a member of the ‘Eco-Defense’ steering committee, commented that the “authorities opposition is nothing new, unfortunately. For example, before the police were called up in 2002 during a similar anti-nuclear camp outside of Krasnoyarsk there was a camping ground located next to us. However, the people arrested that had been walking around peacefully were in breach of some restricted area – this is something new.”

At the end of 2006 the Russian government adopted a resolution to take the Angarsky factory off the closed enterprises list so that an international uranium enrichment center could be built on its base. National anti-nuclear camp organizers in Angarsk oppose bringing in radioactive waste into Russia, while they support forcing all of the atomic industry’s financial assets to be put towards developing technology for safely recycling radioactive waste, thus eliminating any radioactive threat. The steering committee released an announcement calling for “all actions and projects that increase the amount of radioactive waste should be halted before this recycling technology is developed. If the atomic industry is unable to show that it can solve the radioactive waste problem, then it has no right to grow while increasing the number of problems that will rest on the shoulders of future generations.