Statement on Muslyumovo: moving from Techa to Techa?

Rashid Alimov / Bellona

Publish date: March 11, 2008

Statement on Muslyumovo: moving from Techa to Techa?

Rosatom and the Chelyabinsk Regional government have in recent months been widely advertising their campaign to resettle residents from the radioactively contaminated village of Muslyumovo to New Muslyumovo, which is also located dangerously close to the radioactively contaminated Techa River.

Unfortunately, a number of renowned and influential Russian environmental organisations have joined this campaign, specifically the Russian office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). (See statement here)

It is especially concerning that these environmentalists who are apparently unacquainted with Russia’s nuclear and radiation problems support the position of Rosatom relative to the continuing operation of the most radioactively contaminating process at the Mayak Chemical Combine. They have apparently forgotten that it is specifically the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) at Mayak that has caused the problems in the village of Muslyumovo and other settlements in the Ural Mountains region.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter of guaranteeing safety to those who live along the Techa is highly embellished. The facts prove that the resettlement of Muslyumovo’s residents is no longer geared toward saving the lives and health of Russian citizens who have fallen victim to the past and current activities of Mayak, but has become a propagandistic campaign in which the life and health of citizens has become currency for the achievement of others’ goals. The decision about where to put the new village for the migrating residents was taken not only despite the wishes of the majority of the moving citizens, but without accounting for the real radiation circumstances. The new settlement is being constructed near the Muslyumovo train station a few hundred metres from the very same Techa River, in the water and precipitation of which there are concentrations of radionuclides exceeding allowable limits by thousands of times. Many plots in the railroad workers’ village are contaminated with radionuclides to an even greater degree than the plots in old Muslyumovo. The decisions taken to move Muslyumovo’s residents to the territory surrounding the Muslyumovo railway station is neither ecologically nor morally justified.

It is disturbing that the distribution of money for the acquisition by residents of new homes is complicated and takes place at an exceedingly slow pace. It is clear that there is insufficient legal assistance for residents to fill out the necessary property documentation for the new homes, which slams the breaks on the process.

It has not been taken into account that, in the year since the moment money began to be distributed, the average home cost in the Chelyabinsk Region rose by 40 percent.

Other villages are located a few kilometres down stream that are in dangerous proximity to the contaminated Techa River, such as Brodokalmak, Russskaya Techa and Nizhnypetropavloskoye. The Mayak Chemical Combine continues to dump millions of cubic metres of liquid radioactive waste into the Techa River Cascade. The problem of providing radiation safety to the population of the Chelyabinsk Region is inseparable from the problems of the past and current operations of the Mayak Chemical Combine. Its solution does not come down to only the question of resettling the inhabitants of the village of Muslyumovo. The solution suggested today only makes the situation worse, putting off its resolution on future generations. We therefore cannot join the chorus of those who glorify the current management of Rosatom.

No industry should be allowed to develop at the expense of human health and nature in Russia.

A. Nikitin – Environmental Rights Centre Bellona (St. Petersburg)
N. Mironova – Chelyabinsk Social Movement for Nuclear Safety
A. Yablokov – Programme for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, the International Social Ecological Union (MSoES) and the Centre for Ecological Policy of Russia (TsEPR)
A. Talevlin – Chelyabinsk Social Fund for nature
V. Slivyak – Ecodefence! (Moscow)
Chyorny – Ecology and Human Rights (Moscow)
N. Kutepova – Planet of Hope (Ozersk, Chelyabinsk Region) Ecodefence! Ozersk)
V. Servetnik – Nature and Youth (Murmansk)
V. Brinikh – International Social Ecological Union (Moscow)
O. Razbash – Russian Regional Ecological Centre (Moscow)
A. Ilyina – The Russian network of Lawyers and Ecologists (Moscow)
S. Simak – Samara division of the Social Ecological Union (SoES)
S. Shapkheyev – Buryat Regional Union for Baikal (Ulan-Ude)
A. Chomchoyev – Our Home is Yakutiya coalition (Yakutsk)
N. Krayev – Kirovsk Regional Society of Hunters and Fishermen
T. Levashova – Green World (Nizhny Novgorod)
O. Podosenova – Ural Ecological Union (Yekatrinburg) Ecodefence! (Yekaterinburg)
E. Tolstoguzova – GROZA (Rostov)
A. Popov – Etas (Arkangelsk)
Z. Altukhova – The Social Ecological Centre of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya)
A. Sutyagin – BTS Monitoring Project (St. Petersburg)
A Nikitin – Organisation of Convalescents of Chernobyl, Solidarity (Saratov)
A. Marluliyev – Tsaritsino for All (Moscow)
V. Nazarenko – Sails of the Academy sports and heath organisation (Rostov)
L. Rikhanov – Ecogeos (minor state enterprise, Tomsk)
T. Dobretsova – In the Name of Life (Kostroma)
V. Lavutov – Ecological movement Zeleny Don (Novocherkassk)
L. Savelyev – Crossroads of Civilization organisation (Volgograd)
Y. Yevseyeva – Eyge environmental education centre (Yakutsk)
V. Sobolyev – Consumer Rights Society (Yakutsk)
D. Levashov – Social Rights Ecological Cooperative (Nizhny Novgorod Region)
I. Burtsev – Viliyu Committee (Yakutsk)
A. Vinogradov – Balakova division of The All-Russia Society for the Protection of Nature (VOOP)
I. Shamayev – Social Centre of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya)
S. Mukhachev – Tataristan division of The Social Ecological Union
I Atlasov – The Evenki Association of the Russian Federation (Yakutsk)
M Vinokurova – the Emekeldi Association (Yakutiya)
B. Pavlov – Union of Ecologists of the Republic of Bashkortostan
V. Levchenko – ENWL (St. Petersburg)
A. Laletin – Friends of Siberian Forests (Krasnoyarsk)
V. Mishenko – Ekoyuris Institute (Moscow)
T. Strizhova – Baikal Fund (Irkutsk)
N. Zubov – Krasnoyarsk Region Ecological Union
G. Kabirov – Techa (Chelyabinsk)
L. Baikova – Green Branch (Yaroslavl)
A. Kayumov – Ecocentre Dront (Nizhny Novgorod)
D. Rybakov – Association of Green Karelia (Petrozavodsk)
Ye. Kopakova – Coordinating Center of the Russian Network of Rivers (Nizhny Novgorod)
V. Orekhov – Vyunitsa (Derzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod Region)
G. Mingazov – Green Leaf newspaper (Petrozavodsk)
D. Guryev – BNIIFTRI Center of Dynamic Pressure (Moscow Region)
Yu. Voblikov – Penza City Ecological Club (Penza)
A. Koroleva – Ecodefence! (Kaliningrad)

Attachment to the Statement of Social Organisations for Muslyumovo March 6th 2008.

1. 1994
A study ordered by the Chelyabinsk Regional Administration showed that the most effective solution to the existing situation was the voluntary resettlement of residents. Discussed separately was the issue of the possibility and advisability of moving people in the area surrounding Muslyumovo railroad station. It was shown that it was necessary to move people from the Muslyumovo railroad station. To achieve a positive effect it was necessary to break the ties people had with the river. The recommendation was to choose (or build) a settlement located at a distance of not less than 12 kilometres from the river (and let those who are capable bring their cattle.) (From material contained in the Report on Radio-Ecological and Socio-Psychological Research in the Village of Muslyumovo and at the Muslyumovo railroad station in 1992-1994 by the Regional Centre for Radio-Ecological Studies of the International Social Ecological Union of Kransnoyarsk, and the Centre for Independent Ecological Research, Moscow.) (From a letter by M.V. Khotuleva, of the Ecoline centre for ecological assessments, Wednesday March 5th 2008;

2. 2007
Upon review of laboratory experiment protocols (numbered and dates as follows: 931 from 10/4/2005; 0511101166 from 11/12/2005; 060516160 from 5/26/2006; 376/K from 10/26/2006; 377/K from 10/26/2006; 3/16/2007 77/K; 136/K from 3/26/2007; 164/K from 4/3/2007; 171/K from 4/4/2007; and 213/k from 4/23/2007) it was revealed that the drinking water from underground sources of the centralised drinking water source for the village of Muslyumovo and Muslyumovo railroad station in the Kushanskoye Region do not meet sanitary rules and regulations because of its level of overall alpha radioactivity and level of overall beta-radiation (from Directive 272 of June 25th 2007 of the chief medical doctor of the Sosnovy, Argyashansky and Kushanskoye Regions of the Chelyabinsk region to the heads of the Kushanskoye Regional administration and local authorities of the Muslyumovo village settlement (

3. 2008
I am just back from Muslyumovo. There was a town meeting. The heads of the village and region, the regional minister of construction attended…many people just don’t want to move anywhere until it is decided they will be moved to clean territory. They were promised that no one can force them to move…anyone who got a lemon for their house and bought one near the station have been deprived of compensation, even though they were promised it would be maintained. The land under the houses is only for rent, no one is even talking about property yet. (Gosman Kabirov of the Chelyabinsk’s Techa ecological educational organization – from a March 4th 2008 email;