Mayak plant’s general director dismissed from his post

Publish date: March 20, 2006

A Russian court ordered the dismissal of the director of the nation’s main nuclear waste processing plant who has been charged with violation of safety rules that led to the dumping of radioactive waste in rivers, the Interfax news agency reported.

The court in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg determined that Vitaly Sadovnikov, the director of the Mayak plant, could not remain in his post, Interfax said. The Russian Prosecutor General’s office said in the beginning of March that he had sanctioned dumping of tens of millions of cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste into the Techa river in 2001-2004, even though the facility had enough money to prevent it, The Associated Press reported. Instead of preventing the damage to the environment, Sadovnikov had spent the money on maintaining a representative office in the Russian capital and lump payments to himself, it said. Mayak, located near the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk, about 1,500 kilometers (950 miles) east of Moscow, produced nuclear weapons during Soviet times and is now Russia’s main nuclear waste processing plant. Some environmentalists say the area around it is among the most contaminated on the planet.