Russian Cabinet To Approve Plans To Import Nuclear Waste
RUSSIAN CABINET EXPECTED TO APPROVE PLANS TO IMPORT NUCLEAR WASTE
MOSCOW, March 23, 2000 – Russia could move a step closer to becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump with the cabinet of ministers expected to approve today plans to overturn national environmental legislation and import nuclear waste.
“This is an extremely dangerous and cynical deal to generate billions of dollars which will only add to the enormous environmental problems that already exist in Russia, as well as increasing security risks and nuclear proliferation,” said Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Tobias Muenchmeyer.
“The proposed amendment of the Environmental Law weakens environmental protection and will mean Russia becoming the world’s largest nuclear dump site,” Muenchmeyer said.
Greenpeace recently obtained a confidential document which provides background details on plans of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy to import up to 20,000 metric tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from foreign countries not only for intermediate storage – as had been proposed, but also for final disposal and even plutonium reprocessing in Russia. The document calculates an income for these services of $US 21 billion. The document, dated 1999, is signed by First Deputy Minister Valentin Ivanov. The document envisages the import of up to 20,500 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) to get revenues of US$ 21 billion. “Payments of US$ 21 billion are equivalent to bribes to the Russian nuclear industry for taking nuclear wastes from other countries,” said Muenchmeyer. The countries listed as being potential clients are; Germany, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Spain, Taiwan.
Greenpeace is strongly opposed to any plans to export spent nuclear fuel to Russia for interim storage, reprocessing or final disposal. “The world’s nuclear waste problem should not be solved by dumping the problem on a poor country which suffers already from the legacies of its nuclear industry,” said Muenchmeyer. “The funds to be provided by foreign clients will certainly be used to expand Russia’s nuclear program, including the plutonium industry.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT :
James Williams Greenpeace International (Press Office) 176 Keizersgracht 1016 DW Amsterdam Netherlands. Phone: ++ 31 (20) 5249 515 Fax: ++ 31 20 523 6212