Russian general prosecutor wants to tackle environmental problems

Publish date: February 6, 2005

The Russian general prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov suddenly realised that ”river Techa brings death to the local people”, nuclear storage facilities in Murmansk region are not tight enough, and promised to launch criminal cases.

Russia lacks order in handling of radioactive waste and nuclear material, the general prosecutor pointed out at the expanded collegium of the General Prosecutor’s office, RIA Novosti reported on January 21. “Murmansk’s nuclear waste storage sites, holding as much as 17,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste, were built back in the 1960s, and have by now become outdated both morally and physically” Ustinov added.

Ustinov also informed about the situation with Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant in Chelyabinsk region, and Techa River which “brings death to the locals today and to the future generations”. The general prosecutor ordered his deputy in the Urals region Yury Zolotov to examine the situation around the Mayak plant, “to get those who does not take measures preventing the catastrophe threat” and “if needed launch criminal cases”.

Following Ustinov’s order, the Chelyabinsk region prosecutor Alexander Voytovich initiated a working group on examining the fulfilment of the environmental legislation at the Mayak plant and Techa reservoirs. The group includes the members from the Chelyabinsk prosecutor’s office and the Urals department of the General prosecutor’s office. They are examining the documents on the plant’s activity, reports from the environmentalists and the state environmental agencies. Some enquiries to the FSB (former KGB) have been also made. The prosecutors are mostly concerned about the budget money, which have been allocated to the Mayak for environmental projects during the recent 10 years.

According to some sources, the sudden attack of the general prosecutor might be directed towards new priorities in nuclear industry financing. For example, to take money from construction of the Beloyarsk NPP and send it to the South Ural. Otherwise, it is hard to find explanations of the general prosecutor’s actions.

The press secretary of the Mayak plant Yevgeny Ryzhkov said to UralPressInform agency that the plant operates as usual without any accidents. “Judging by the general prosecutor’s speech, it’s been decided not to look for the possibility to solve