The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russia keen to market nuclear power to impoverished Cambodia

Russia to help Cambodia build capacity for nuclear power, REUTERS, YEKATERINBURG, nuclear-marketing-crapRUSSIA/PHNOM PENH 26 Nov Russian-Bear Russia will help Cambodia work towards building a nuclear power plant under an agreement the two countries signed this week, said Sergei Kirienko, the head of state nuclear firm Rosatom.

Cambodia depends heavily on imported fuel and power. Electricity in the country is among the most expensive in Southeast Asia and a common source of complaint from investors.

“The Cambodian government is mulling, in future, a nuclear power station construction,” Kirienko told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the agreement.

Cambodian energy officials declined to comment on the deal on Thursday.

The agreement was signed during a visit by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Cambodia this week. His visit was the first to Cambodia by a senior Russian politician since 1986.

Under the terms of the agreement, Russia will provide expertise, research and training to Cambodia……

November 27, 2015 Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Despite airplane bombing , and Egypt’s lax security, Russia to provide nuclear reactors to Egypt!

safety-symbol1flag-Egyptflag_RussiaEgypt’s Nuclear Power Plant Deal With Russia Signed Amid Escalating Tensions  By Menna Zaki, AllAfrica, 20 Nov 15 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signed a nuclear power plant deal with Russia Thursday, just days after the Kremlin’s unilateral announcement that the Russian charter flight which blew up over Sinai late October was downed by an act of terrorism…….

The deal, which has been under negotiation for months, was signed days after Russia vowed to avenge the terrorist bombing of a Russian airliner killing all 224 passengers and crew on board, the majority of whom were Russian holidaymakers visiting the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh and heading to St. Petersburg.

Since the crash, Egypt has made no conclusive statements on the results of the Egypt-led international investigation, agreeing only that the jet broke up midair after abruptly disappearing from the radar 23 minutes from takeoff.

Egyptian officials said on separate occasions that it is too early to jump to conclusions and that no criminal evidence can be established so far.

Russia, on the other hand, announced days before signing the nuclear deal with Egypt that the crash was a terrorist act. Days after the crash, Russia had halted all flights to Egypt and banned the national carrier EgyptAir from flying to Russia, apparently based on information passed on by the UK which was not shared with Egypt, according to Egyptian officials…….

Russia announced Thursday that it has evacuated 90,000 of its citizens from Egypt, with the remaining 2,500 to leave by November 30………Egypt’s lax airport security has come under heavy scrutiny since the incident amid news reports that small bribes by travellers are enough to help them bypass queues and luggage scanners…….

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Egypt, Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear reactors to Egypt, involving big debt for Egypt

Russian-BearEgypt, Russia sign deal to build a nuclear power plant Reuters, 19 Nov 15  CAIRO Moscow and Cairo signed an agreement on Thursday for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt, with Russia extending a loan to Egypt to cover the cost of construction.

A spokesman for Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom said the plant, Egypt’s first, would be built at Dabaa in the north of the country and was expected to be completed by 2022.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, speaking on state TV, gave few details but said the project would involve the building of a ‘third-generation’ plant with four reactors.

It is not clear how much the deal is worth but Sisi said the loan from Russia would be paid off over 35 years……..

November 20, 2015 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia leaks ‘Secret’ Plans For Nuclear Weapons

Russian News Stations Air ‘Secret’ Plans For Nuclear Weapons, Huffington Post 12 Nov 15 
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plans should not have been aired.  
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said plans for a new submarine-launched nuclear torpedo shown on Kremlin-controlled television were secret and should never have been aired.

NTV and Channel One showed a large document — filmed over a military officer’s shoulder during a meeting with Putin — with drawings and details of a weapons system called Status-6.

The torpedoes could create “extensive zones of radioactive contamination” that would make enemy coastal areas “unsuitable for military, economic, business or other activity for a long time,” the document said.

The channels later removed the footage, which was shot during a meeting on Monday in Sochi.

“It’s true that some secret information was caught by the camera and therefore it was subsequently removed,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said late Wednesday. “We hope this will not happen again.”

The appearance of the video on television channels under such tight Kremlin control raised suspicions that it was done intentionally to cause alarm in the West…..

November 13, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mayak Production Association the source of nuclear fuels on black market

Fuel For a Nuclear Bomb Is Probably on the Black Market Right Now

And it often originates from one site in Russia.

MAXIM MAN, November 12, 2015 By STEVE HUFF It’s the kind of scenario that fueled the novels of the late Tom Clancy: fuel that could form the core of a nuclear weapon on the black market, for sale to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, as a joint report from The Center for Public Integrity and Vice News has revealed, this fictional scenario is very real — and U.S. security officials have been in a constant state of concern about it for years.

The detailed report begins with an account of a failed attempt that occurred in Moldova in 2011 to pass off 22 pounds of highly enriched uranium for a few hundred thousand dollars. The transaction was actually a sting, and it ultimately led to the imprisonment of a Moldovan lawyer named Teodor Chetrus for attempting to smuggle the material. Chetrus’s arrest, however, did nothing to ease Western worries about a terrorist group or rogue nation acquiring the ability to make their own nuclear bomb:

Instead, it stoked them, because the resulting international probe into the case has sparked fresh, and previously unreported worries, that thieves inside of Russia somehow made off years ago with a full bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium. Western spies fear the thieves have been doggedly looking for a buyer for the past sixteen years, by repeatedly dangling in front of them identical, genuine samples of that highly valuable material.

Five current or former U.S. officials who have tracked nuclear smuggling, and who declined to be named because this assessment is classified, said it is now a consensus view within the intelligence community.

But wait, it gets worse! According to this report, Western intelligence has no idea “exactly who has this nuclear explosive material, and where they may be.”

Journalists Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith write that the anxieties regarding nuclear materials in the wild go back some 16 years. Since 1999, there have been at least three incidents in which “identically packaged containers of highly-enriched uranium have been seized by authorities outside of Russia.”

All those packages have been forensically traced to the early 1990s and one source: the Mayak Production Association, a giant nuclear facility in the Ural Mountains.

One quote from the report ratchets up the pucker factor considerably while emphasizing exactly why this is the stuff of military suspense fiction:

While seven of those involved in the smuggling have so far been prosecuted in Bulgaria, France and Moldova, officials say they are just low-level members of a shadowy international ring with Moldovan and Russian connections, all working for a person or persons whose identity remains cloaked.

So far, efforts at stopping the spread of these materials has only taken small-time go-betweens out of commission. The masterminds are still out there.

Reading the report in full is worth the time, if you don’t want to sleep well for a while. It will make you wish James Bond was real.

November 13, 2015 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Narrowly avoided accidental nuclear apocalypse in 1983 revealed

exclamation-SmTop Secret Documents Reveal A NATO Training Exercise Nearly Started A Nuclear Apocalypse With Russi The Huffington Post UK  |  By Thomas Tamblyn
A recently declassified document has revealed that in 1983, the United States and Russia were almost plunged into nuclear war and here’s the real kicker: It would have been completely by accident

The New York Times has, for the first time, shed light on these documents which reveal that in ’83 NATO was planning a massive nuclear-based military exercise.
 Unfortunately for the world, the USSR didn’t get that memo and so when it saw that most of the western world’s military were moving into high-alert it assumed that the training exercise was actually a cover for a genuine attack.

It is thought that the exercise could have, at some stages, brought the two countries closer to war than even the famous Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Codenamed Able Archer, the NYT reveals in its exposé of the training exercise that many NATO commanders were seemingly oblivious to the knife edge that they were creating.

Then US President Ronald Reagan rather eloquently described the situation as ‘Really scary’ after reading the briefing documents that summarised how perilously close the situation had become.

The document was finally declassified earlier this month, some 11-years after the request had been made by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Speaking to the NYT about the significance of the event archive director Thomas S. Blanton said: “Turns out, 1983 is a classic, like the Cuban missile crisis, where neither superpower intended to go nuclear, but the risk of inadvertence, miscalculation, misperception were just really high. Cuba led J.F.K. to the test ban. Nineteen eighty-three led Reagan to Reykjavik and almost to abolition.”

What might be the most terrifying piece of news is that before and during the exercise, the Soviets weren’t just using human judgement but were inputting some 40,000 scenarios into a supercomputer in an effort to try and assess how likely a nuclear strike actually was.

Ironically it was the then leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev who summed up the severity of the situation later in 1986:

“Never, perhaps, in the postwar decades has the situation in the world been as explosive and, hence, more difficult and unfavorable as in the first half of the 1980’s.”

November 12, 2015 Posted by | history, incidents, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s militarisation of the Arctic, and the danger of its mini nuclear reactors

safety-symbol1flag_RussiaRussia’s mini nuclear reactors plan causes concern Norway’s radiation watchdog says the risk of accidents and releases of radioactive substances will increase in the Arctic. Thomas Nilsen November 07, 2015

A military plan building up to 30 small transportable nuclear reactors for the Arctic was announced earlier this week. The reactors will provide electricity to remote bases currently under development as part of Russia’s Arctic militarization.

“If these plans are given a go-ahead in the future, it will lead to an increased risk of accidents and releases of radioactive substances,” says Ingar Amundsen, Head of Section for international nuclear safety with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authorities (NRPA). Amundsen was on inspection with three other Norwegian experts at Kola nuclear power when being contacted by the Independent Barents Observer about the Russian military plans.

Norway wants information
He says NRPA was not informed about the plans before reading about it in Russian media this week. “Norwegian authorities will bring up the issue with our Russian counterpart in those forums we have dialogue, to hear if there is realism in these plans,” Ingar Amundsen says.

Since 1995, Norway has co-financed a series of comprehensive nuclear safety projects in Northwest Russia, including decommissioning of Cold War submarines bringing their reactors into safe onshore long-term storage.

Amundsen elaborates on the risks involved in Russia’s announced new military reactors. “Nuclear power plants requires good access to needed infrastructure and a comprehensive control regime for safe operation, Ingar Amundsen says and continues:  “This is important to avoid accidents and releases, but also to avoid unauthorized access by strangers to the facility and the nuclear material.”   He believes that will be very difficult to achieve with mobile units in remote areas.

Arctic militarization

Russia current militarization of the Arctic includes new bases and re-opening of Cold War bases along the north coast of Siberia and on archipelagoes like the New Siberia Islands, Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land. The aim of creating small nuclear reactors is to fly- or ship them in to the bases and produce electricity- and heat instead of diesel generators and steam boilers.

The reactors are so small they can be transported around by a KAMAZ truck, in a cargo plane, on a sledge or even carried by Russia’s huge Mi-26 cargo helicopters.

The first of the new mini reactors could be ready for testing before 2020, TASS reported on Wednesday.

Murmansk and Severodvinsk
Nothing is said about where to maintain the reactors Today, maintain- and uranium fuel replacement of naval reactors in northern Russia takes place at the submarine yard in Severodvinsk near Arkhangelsk and at icebreaker base Atomflot in Murmansk.

As previously reported by the Independent Barents Observer, small transportable nuclear reactors for use in remote corners of the Arctic is not a new invention.

Both the United States and the Soviet Union built several transportable reactors. In the Arctic, the U.S. military had a secret nuclear reactor in operation for some few years in the 60ies at Camp Century east of Thule airbase on Greenland’s northern ice-sheet. The reactor was then transported on the ice by a tractor with a sledge and placed under the ice to produce electricity and heat for a Arctic missile research facility.

Also in Antarctica, the United States operated a medium-size reactor in the 60ies and 70ies at the McMurdo research station.

In the Soviet Union, a two-megawatt reactor was built in 1961. The reactor was carried around on the chassis of a tank. Another smaller reactor, named NURKA, was located at one of the Northern fleet’s submarine bases on the coast of the Barents Sea, but it is unclear if this reactor ever was used. Several other types of mini-reactors were developed during Soviet-times.

For space, several series of lightweight ultrasmall reactors were use in satellites.

November 9, 2015 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, safety | Leave a comment

The New START treaty – arms control pact between USA and Russia

Carroll: The enduring nuclear threat, By Vincent Carroll, Denver Post 7 Nov 15  “…Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose E. Gottemoeller was the chief negotiator for the New START treaty, an arms control pact with the Russians that went into effect in 2011. Her career in arms control and national security goes back many years and spans government, academia and think tanks.….

Gottemoeller: We’ve been limiting and reducing nuclear arms starting with the Soviets back in the 1970s, so it’s been a slow and steady process in our commitment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons.And, frankly, the Russians have been pretty good partners over the years. We’ve been dealing with what I call the Cold War nuclear overhang. They built 45,000 nuclear weapons; we built 31,000. So we had a lot of what I call ash and trash from the Cold War to get rid of.

The New START treaty will take our nuclear weapons that are deployed down to 1,550 — and the same with the Russians — by February 2018. By contrast, when we signed the first START treaty in 1994, we and the Russians both had approximately 12,000 deployed nuclear warheads.

Even after the Ukraine crisis and their grab of Crimea, they continued to have a businesslike attitude toward the implementation of START. We conduct 18 inspections a year in Russia and they come here, too. Everything is reciprocal. And we exchange on a daily basis the status of our strategic nuclear forces. If the Russians take an ICBM out of its silo to a repair facility, they have to tell us that.

Q:Has the megatonnage come down proportionately with those reductions in warheads?

A: Absolutely. It’s been a real success story. So no matter what the ups and downs of our relationship, this process has been good for U.S. national security, and for predictability and mutual stability for these two great nuclear powers. And I would say especially now, when relations aren’t so hot, it’s good to have a clear idea of what’s going on with their nuclear forces.

The question is what to do about the future. Between 2010 and 2014 under President Obama we did a posture review, and in 2013 the president concluded we could go up to one-third lower in the New START, from 1,550 down even as low as 1,000 and still maintain our security. So in Berlin in June 2013, we put that offer on the table and said to the Russians, “Let’s work on the next nuclear disarmament negotiation.” But so far the Russians haven’t picked that offer up from the table, even though I think it would be good for them, too.

I think their reaction is wrapped up in a lot of things, such as Vladimir Putin’s sense that nuclear weapons mean a lot for Russian security at this moment to concerns, he says, in our national missile defense program. But it’s ridiculous to think that our limited missile defense system can somehow threaten the Russian strategic offensive deterrent.

Q:That system is for a smaller rogue regime?

A: It’s North Korea. And I’m glad we have it available as an insurance policy. ………

Q:Where do you see the major threats to proliferation?

A: The biggest new threat we face today is nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists. And not only nuclear weapons, but fissile material, highly enriched plutonium or uranium that could be used to craft a simple nuclear bomb. President Obama was really clear about this in his Prague speech back in 2009.

This threat is undeterrable. Even North Korea, as crazy as they are, knows they will be facing a very intense response if they attack us with a nuclear weapon. Countries hold off on that basis. That’s why the president said we need to push step by step for a world without nuclear weapons. The policy is to minimize the amount of highly enriched uranium and plutonium around the world, and to constantly press toward fewer weapons.

Q:Don’t terrorists need the assistance of a state to develop a nuclear weapon, at least in terms of getting the fuel?

A: The key factor is having enough fissile material, highly enriched uranium or plutonium. Then the designs for simple devices are on the Internet basically. So the concern is that they could get enough fissile material to make a bomb on their own or that they could steal a bomb or the material from somewhere.

In some cases, we do worry about state sponsorship. That’s one of the reasons we’re watching so closely North Korea, because they ship missile parts around the world and might get into this business as well……..

November 9, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bellona joins other anti nuclear non profit groups – no longer NGO, harassed by Russian govt

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterflag_RussiaTwo decades of legal harassment dissolve Bellona Murmansk as a Russian NGO – but it will continue its work, Bellona,  October 12, 2015 by  Twenty years ago this month, Bellona’s still nascent offices in Murmansk were raided by the FSB, the successor organization to the Soviet KGB, setting in motion a legal Rube Goldberg machine that led to treason allegations against the Bellona’s Alexander Nikitin, and charges against the Bellona itself.

In those two decades, Nikitin beat his espionage wrap, and Bellona Murmansk became a vital force in attracting international funding for dismantling Russia’s nuclear naval legacy and spearheading renewable energy efforts on Russia’s Kola Peninsula.

But, the group again faces a vague future after it was declared in March to be a “foreign agent” by Russia’s Justice Ministry, showing that official spy-mania directed against non-profit groups demanding transparency on nuclear and environmental issues is again on an upswing.

On Monday, it surfaced that the group would be forced to stop operating as an NGO, and group chairman Andrei Zolotkov confirmed that Bellona Murmansk was “at a cross roads” and that its eventual liquidation as a non-profit had been announced as early as April.

Bellona Executive Director Nils Bøhmer confirmed Monday that as of Monday Bellona Murmansk is no longer a Russian non-profit, but would still continue its present functions under different auspices. Continue reading

October 26, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Russia | Leave a comment

Nuclear-Tipped Missiles very dangerous, as Russia is proving

Russia is Proving Why Nuclear-Tipped Cruise Missiles Are a Very Bad Idea, Defense One OCTOBER 19, 2015 BY TOM Z. COLLINAWILLIAM SAETREN

Those four cruise missiles that crashed in Iran could’ve been carrying nuclear warheads — which is why the US should ban them, not renew them. When Russia this month launched 26 cruise missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea into Syria, more than 900 miles away, the missiles had to pass over Iran and Iraq. Four crashed in Iran. According to reports, a number of cows were killed in the ensuing blast.

Apologies to the cows, but this could have been a lot worse.

The Russian cruise missiles, the Kalibr-NK, were armed with conventional warheads. But these missiles are also capable of carrying nuclear warheads. That’s a problem. Cruise missile attacks are inherently ambiguous and can add major risks to a crisis. Had the target been the United States, military leaders would not have known until impact if it was a nuclear attack. This kind of uncertainty can increase the risk of nuclear war and it’s why nuclear-tipped cruise missiles should banned completely.

Cruise missiles are unreliable. In the case of Moscow’s attack into Syria, if nuclear warheads had been involved and some of them crashed in Iran without detonating (which is likely), Tehran could have retrieved them. This scenario is not as far fetched as one might think. In 2007, six nuclear-armed cruise missiles were mistakenly loadedonto a B-52 bomber and flown across the United States. Because nuclear-armed cruise missiles are virtually indistinguishable from conventional ones, the error went undetected for 36 hours. If this can happen under strict American guidelines, imagine what could happen from Russia to the Middle East…

why is the U.S. Air Force planning to spend $20 billion to build approximately 1,000 new nuclear-armed Air-Launched Cruise Missiles, or ALCMs, with refreshed warheads, to replace its current fleet? It should not. Not only are they “uniquely destabilizing” but their mission has evaporated.

As Perry and Weber explain, nuclear cruise missiles were initially conceived to keep the B-52 flying until it could be replaced by the stealthier B-2 bomber. During the Vietnam War, many B-52s were lost to enemy surface-to-air defenses making it painfully obvious that the plane was no longer able to safely operate in contested airspace. But with the cruise missile, the B-52 could still strike targets deep in the heart of enemy territory. This feature was deemed necessary during the Cold War so NATO could offset the Warsaw Pact’s larger conventional forces.

That was then. As Perry and Weber write, such a Cold War posture “no longer reflects the reality of today’s U.S.conventional military dominance.”

In fact, the ALCM was supposed to be retired long ago along with the B-52 bomber when the B-2 came on line……..

President Obama can safely cancel the new nuclear cruise missile and challenge other nations, like Russia, to eliminate these destabilizing weapons. This step would save tens of billions of dollars, reduce the risk of nuclear war and provide momentum toward Obama’s goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. And, ironically, it would eliminate yet another potential pathway for Iran to get the bomb.

October 23, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nadejda Koutepova speaks out on the hidden scandal of the Mayak radioactive contamination

flag_RussiaA Russian antinuclear activist asks for asylum in France  Mediapart , October 2, 2015, by Amélie Poinssot and Michel de Pracontal, The revelation, decades later
“………Fifteen years ago you established the NGO “Planet of Hope” in order to aid the victims of radioactive contamination from Maiak. What led you to this cause?
Nadejda Koutepova :
My grandmother was a chemical engineer and she worked at the complex from the time it opened in 1948. The Soviet state wanted, like the Americans, to develop nuclear weapons, so they built a secret factory in the Siberian forest next to the closed city of Ozersk. People who worked there were forbidden from talking about their work. In 1965, my grandmother died of lymphatic cancer. I never knew her. At the time of the accident in 1957, when a container of highly radioactive waste exploded, my father was a student in Ekaterinburg. He belonged to the Komsomols (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League) so he was immediately mobilized as a liquidator. He worked there for nearly five years. In 1985, he died of intestinal cancer. I was a teenager at the end of his life, and it was horrific. He lived with a colostomy bag and was consumed by alcoholism.
But it was only later that I understood what could have caused him and my grandmother to die. One fine day in 1999, I was invited to a conference on the environment organized in Chelyabinsk, the big regional city. It was there that I discovered that the whole Ozersk region is contaminated, yet the local population ignores the situation completely. Officially, the region is not polluted. The inhabitants eat mushrooms and fish in the rivers without asking any questions. This conference was a revelation. At that moment I decided to establish an NGO. I had studied law, sociology and political science at university. I wanted the inhabitants who were still there to have the means to leave and I wanted the unrecognized victims to be able to defend themselves.
Mayak disaster
In the first years of operation of the factory, 1949-52, all the highly radioactive wastes were dumped into the Techa. Cases of leukemia and premature death multiplied in the villages along the river, so the factory started managing the wastes in metal tanks. During the next decade, 34 out of 39 villages along the river were evacuated. At the same time, radioactive wastes were dumped in Lake Karachai. It was only in 1962 that the authorities announced that they would stop these practices.
In reality, the contamination of the surrounding waters never ended. In 2005, the director of the factory at Maiak, Vitali Sadovnikov, was prosecuted for having let the factory release, starting in the year 2000, tens of thousands of cubic meters of radioactive water into the Techa. Sadovnikov was given amnesty by the Duma (Russian parliament) in 2006. Nonetheless, the files on the court decision on Sadovnikov show that 30 to 40 cubic meters of radioactive water were dumped between 2001 and 2004! Since then, we haven’t even had access to the file, and the Maiak factory denies all responsibility for the contamination of the river.
Do the Russian authorities today recognize the victims of radioactive contamination?
A law was enacted in 1993, inspired by the 1991 law on victims of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. This law provides social assistance to the victims of the 1957 accident and to people affected by the contamination of the river—but not to their spouses or children. It specifies the typology of illnesses: if the patient could prove a direct link to her work at Maiak or to a place where she lived with radiation from Maiak, then she had a right to compensation.
In total, 19,000 people have been classified as eligible. The figure is always declining because of deaths. Five years ago there were 23,000. But this only represents a small part of the population affected by the consequences of contamination in the region. Our NGO estimates that the number has grown now to about 100,000.
The typology is very restrictive. It was reduced a lot by scientists after Chernobyl. There are only four categories: cancers, blood diseases, genetic instability, and chronic cellular dysfunction. Mental health and psychosomatic problems, for example, are not on the list. Furthermore, when a patient applies for compensation, a “council of experts” gets together at the center for radiation research in the Urals. Made up of eleven persons, they vote by a show of hands on whether the patient should be compensated. These men are not independent. They raise their hands under pressure from their supervisors. And who are we to question their decisions? They respond that they are the scientists. It is they who have the knowledge. We have tried to set up procedures to appeal their decisions. It is impossible.
Another problem is that many people lived and worked in the city at various jobs, but their occupations were not considered to have put them at risk. These were such people as the teachers at the technical college in Maiak, or workers at the train station in the neighboring town. They couldn’t claim compensation. Others didn’t live within the officially recognized zone of contamination. There is also the story of the children of the village of Karabolka who worked regularly in the fields. They were mobilized after the accident to bury carrots and potatoes. For weeks they handled irradiated produce. But unlike the liquidators, they never received certificates proving their participation. Fifty years later they have finally been recognized.
European Court of Human Rights
Still now local people don’t have the chance to get proper medical tests. When they are done, they are often very cursory. I know a woman who had a chromosome test done, but they looked at only one hundred cells. In order to do it properly, they need at least 500 to 1,000. As a result, no pathology was proven.
Compensation is not large. It depends on the occupation and the place the applicant lived. A former liquidator, for example, receives a food supplement of 600 rubles a month (which is worth about 8 euros at present rates), as well a small payment annually for health care. The recipient has access to free medicine and can, in theory, go once a year to a sanatorium. In some cases, a housing benefit is available…….

October 9, 2015 Posted by | environment, Reference, Russia | 1 Comment

The work of Russia’s anti nuclear NGO “Planet of Hope”

 A Russian antinuclear activist asks for asylum in France  Mediapart , October 2, 2015, by Amélie Poinssot and Michel de Pracontal,  “…….What did your NGO accomplish?
Protest-No!flag_RussiaOur NGO, based in Ozersk, had three programs. We educated citizens about their rights, in particular those who were victims of radioactive contamination. We did sociological research on the inhabitants. And we gave training to representatives of other NGOs in the Ozersk region.
We brought some sixty cases before Russian courts or administrative bodies. In most cases, they concerned proving that the person resided in the contaminated zone. For others, it was a matter of making them aware of their right to be relocated by the state, or to obtain the correct level of compensation.
One example was the case of Akhmadeyeva, a mother and her son who lived in the village of Mouslioumovo, on the Techa river. They requested to be relocated. The child had a mental deficiency linked to the effects of radiation contamination from the river. The municipality finally recognized him as disabled, then the state gave him a housing allowance and they were able to move to Chelyabinsk.
But we also failed many times. Such was the case with a small girl who died in 2011 from liver cancer. Experts had recognized that her illness was linked to a genetic anomaly derived from her grandmother’s exposure to radiation when she worked on cleanup of the site, after the accident in 1957. But the court decided that the accident was too far in the past. The case rested on a claim for pecuniary damage, which wasn’t possible under the laws of the USSR.
We took other cases to the European Court of Human Rights. My mother, Gayeva, was one such case. As a widow of a liquidator, she had not been compensated, and despite the positive appeal decision of the court in Ozersk (a three-year legal battle), her compensation was quickly denied by the regional court in Chelyabinsk. So next she went to Strasbourg. But the delays were very long, and she died in the meantime.
Have you taken on other types of cases?
Yes, we also worked on cases that were linked to the status of the closed city of Ozersk. At that time in the USSR, Ozersk was called Chelyabinsk 65. Like all the closed cities, it couldn’t be identified, so it took the name of the closest major city, followed by a postal code. On my passport, this is still listed as my place of birth. After an eight-year legal battle, a woman succeeded in correcting this incongruity and got her place of birth recognized as Ozersk, not Chelyabinsk.
Still today, even though the Soviet Union hasn’t existed for twenty-eight years, access to the town is limited. No one can enter without official authorization, and there are many restrictions. A resident of Ozersk who went to prison wanted to return when he was released, but he was not allowed to. We helped him in his applications, and he went as far as the European Court of Human Rights. In 2011, the court decided in his favor. He was able to return to his place of origin.
The explosion in 1957 was not revealed until nineteen years later, in 1976, by the exiled biologist Jaurès Medvedev. However, you, in spite of the illnesses you saw in people close to you, didn’t become aware of the severity of the accident until much later, after the collapse of the USSR. Why was this disaster ignored for so long?
The 1957 explosion released 20 million curies (two million went up in the atmosphere, 18 million fell on the nearby environment). An area of 23,000 square kilometers was contaminated at a high level. But all of this happened at a strategically important facility which didn’t exist on any map. It was completely shut off from outside visitors. The catastrophe remained a state secret.
It was 1990 when there was the first official recognition of the accident, with a visit from Boris Yeltsin. As for myself, at that time I still couldn’t admit the truth. We were brought up with such an ideology. We were convinced that at Ozersk we worked for the security of the USSR, we were heroes. My mother, who was a doctor, cared for employees at Maiak, and she lost her husband who was a liquidator. She told me certain things, but I didn’t attach importance to them.
Declared “undesirable”
What is Maiak like today?
The facility that was built, at first to produce the Soviet nuclear bomb, functions today as a nuclear fuel reprocessing center, including for foreign clients (Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Iraq and Ukraine, according to Greenpeace). 15,000 people live there and work in the complex. The old military reactors have been shut down.
But abnormal situations continue. The village of Mouslioumovo, one of the last to remain, was finally moved between 2005 and 2008. Most people took compensation and left, but a few chose to relocate only two kilometers from the Techa, which is highly polluted. Some inhabitants were not registered with local authorities. They were not eligible for compensation.

Today, we have no way to be certain that releases into the Techa have been stopped. The factory states that the reservoirs are secure…….

October 9, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Russia | Leave a comment

Turkey warns Russia it may not get its nuclear technology from Russia

Turkey’s Erdogan warns Russia on nuclear project, natural gas: papers   ISTANBUL (Reuters), 8 Oct 15  – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russia there were other places Turkey could get natural gas and other countries that could build its first nuclear plant, in the wake of Russian incursions into Turkish air space during its air campaign in Syria.

Russian aircraft twice entered Turkish air space at the weekend. Turkish F-16 jets have also been harassed by Syrian-based missile systems and unidentified planes since then.

“We can’t accept the current situation. Russia’s explanations on the air space violations are not convincing,” the Turkish daily Sabah and others quoted Erdogan as telling reporters as he flew to Japan for an official visit. He said he was resentful over what had happened but did not currently plan to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“These are matters for Russia to think about. If the Russians don’t build the Akkuyu (nuclear plant in southern Turkey) another will come and build it,” he said.

Turkey in 2013 commissioned Russia’s state-owned Rosatom to build four 1,200-megawatt reactors, but a start date for what is Turkey’s first nuclear power plant project has not yet been set.

“We are Russia’s number one natural gas consumer. Losing Turkey would be a serious loss for Russia. If necessary, Turkey can get its natural gas from many different places,” he said.

Around 28-30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkey’s 50 bcm annual natural gas needs are met by Russia.

(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

October 9, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

How Russia repressed anti nuclear Non Government Organisation Planet of Hope [Planeta Nadezhd]

censorshipflag_RussiaA Russian antinuclear activist asks for asylum in France  Mediapart , October 2, 2015, by Amélie Poinssot and Michel de Pracontal,  “………..You have been in France since July, in Paris, and on October 2nd you are applying for asylum. Why did you leave Russia?
Our NGO came under increasing pressure over the years. In 2004, a law was passed to make it illegal to do sociological research in the Ozersk region, under the pretext that it threatened national security.
Starting in 2008, we were ordered to pay tax on our “profits.” We refused because we are financed by donations and we are non-profit. Next they tried to intimidate us. I was watched and harassed. But we won the game in court.
In 2012, a law enacted by the Duma put controls on NGOs that received donations from abroad. They were considered as “foreign agents.” So we organized a public meeting to explain that we are not foreign agents because in our activities we consult the local population. We work only for Russians.
But in April of this year, the authorities put us on their list of foreign agents. They accused us of two things: receiving financing from the United States, and “political activities.” This latter accusation concerns two interviews that I gave, one to an ecology magazine in which I discussed Article 42 of the constitution that grants the right to compensation when one is the victim of an environmental disaster. I criticized the way the courts were circumventing Article 42. The other interview was with the nuclear information website Bellona. I spoke of the deaths of children of liquidators and I also criticized the Russian courts.
In May, the pressure continued. The court in Ozersk ordered us to pay 900,000 rubles (4,000 euro) for not having registered with the authorities as foreign agents. All of a sudden, Rossia 24, one of the leading national media networks, broadcast an “assassin report” about us. My face was there at the top of the news, my views were misrepresented, and I was accused of industrial espionage. Journalists came and filmed my house. The question is this: how did they get the permits to enter Ozersk, which is still a closed city?
After this, my supporters encouraged me to leave Russia. Since then, I have been added to a list of persons declared “undesirable” by the Duma. This indicates that I could be imprisoned. At the end of June, a new report was broadcast on television. We decided to dissolve the NGO. On July 7, with my children I left for Paris as discretely as possible.
How do you explain the reaction by the media and the Russian authorities?
The general policy is that the United States is our enemy. We are surrounded by enemies. Whoever receives aid from enemies is an enemy also. Then there are the local interests. FSB Ozersk is not eager to have people know about the ecological catastrophe of the region. These interests merge with national interests.

See also:

Chris Harris, “Charity boss flees with young kids after Russia’s NGO crackdown,” Euronews, September 9, 2015.

October 9, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Russia | Leave a comment

Gangs of smugglers tried to sell nuclear materials to ISIS

Smugglers Have Tried to Sell Nuclear Materials to ISIS and Other Terrorists, Report Says Desmond Butler, Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press   6 Oct 15 In one case, man expressing hatred for the U.S. tried to sell bomb-grade uranium to a Sudanese buyer. (CHISINAU, Moldova) — The Associated Press has learned that gangs with Russian ties are driving a thriving black market in nuclear materials in eastern Europe, often with the explicit intent of connecting sellers to Middle Eastern extremist groups.

Authorities working with the FBI have interrupted four attempts by gangs shopping radioactive material in Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe. The latest known case came in February, when a smuggler offered radioactive cesium, specifically seeking an Islamic State buyer.

The most serious case came in 2011, when a man expressing hatred for the U.S. tried to sell bomb-grade uranium to a Sudanese buyer.

Successful busts were compromised by striking shortcomings: Key suspects got away; prison sentences were surprisingly short; and gang leaders may have escaped with the bulk of their nuclear contraband.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, Russia, safety | Leave a comment


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