Miners blockaded uranium train

Publish date: July 14, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

A train loaded with uranium got stuck in Kemerovo County, western Siberia. The train was on its way to the Siberian Chemical Combine in Tomsk County, but the railway was blocked by protesting miners.

The blockade of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Kemerovo County by miners caused a train loaded with uranium to get stuck there for several days, reported Radio Free Europe. The train was on its way to the Siberian Chemical Combine located in Seversk, Tomsk County.

The Siberian Chemical Combine comprises a reactor complex. Two of the combine’s five plutonium production reactors (ADE-4 and ADE-5) are still operating. The combine is now focusing on the production of low-enriched uranium for civil fuel. The facility for blending down highly enriched uranium was commissioned in 1996.

Although unconfirmed, the train might be loaded with highly enriched weapons-grade uranium on its way to be blended down in Seversk.

The governor of Kemerovo County, Aman Tuleev, appealed to the protesters on July 13 to lift the blockade. Tuleev said the uranium train poses a major environmental threat being stuck on the tracks. The appeal did not effect the miners’ decision to proceed with the blockade.