Mayak social tension near point of explosion

Publish date: September 19, 1997

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

Officials of the Russian nuclear weapons research center in Snezhinsk (Chelyabinsk-70) warn Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that the center is in a catastrophic position and its safety jeopardized, because of poor financing.

The employees in Snezhinsk have not been paid for more than three months, and as a result plant officials say social tension is near the point of explosion. They claim to have 111 billion rubels (approx. 19 million USD) oustanding with the federal government for this year, most of it for wages, according to Itar-Tass. The center’s managers and trade union leaders warned of an impending strike. There is 16,000 employees at the All-Russian Institute of Technical Physics (VNIITF).

Last fall, one of the VNIITF’s directors shot himself to death, reportedly after leaving a note citing governmental indifference to the nuclear complex’ financial woes.

On september 16th, employees and scientists of the other Russian Federal Nuclear Center, in Sarov (Arzamas-16), startet protest actions because of the state’s salary-debt to the center.

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