Nuclear Victim Organization "Aigul"
Natalia Mironova, Nuclear
2001 World Conference
against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima
The Nuclear Policy of Russia
and the Response of the Public
“Our lives are a reflection
of the quality of our attention.?
Lau-tzu’s Tao Te Ching
I want to begin by saying
“thank you? to Gensuikyo for the opportunity to participate in this conference.
We are here today because
the suffering and pain did not end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but is still
going on in many places of Russia where people are exposed to the effects
of nuclear production and we are afraid that soon everyone will learn that
the plutonium economy, that Russia has decided to develop, has made millions
suffer and has made our planet an impossible place to live on.
I live near the site where
the first Russian nuclear and hydrogen bombs were produced. When
I was a schoolgirl I took part in staging a performance about the victims
of nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some of us wept to the
sound of the bell tolling for the victims and we didn’t know that the bell
was tolling for us. Only at the beginning of the 90s we got to know
that we lived in the dirtiest place on the Earth, and took part in a horrendous
play, acting like guinea pigs for studying the effects of small doses of
radiation. From 1949 to 1952 2.76 million Cu of liquid radioactive
wastes were discharged into the river Techa on the banks by which there
were 39 villages with 41,000 people. 270,000 more people were exposed
to various doses of radiation due to the accident of 1957. In 1967
due to the fallout from Karachai 2,700 square kilometers were contaminated
and 124,000 people were irradiated.
People who are still living
as the downwinders and the downstreamers of the military nuclear facility
“Mayak? that was responsible for this contamination are told that their
survival depends on the money Russia will get for storing and reprocessing
imported spent fuel. These statements are made by nuclear departments,
by local and federal authorities. They are the very people who over
many years never told the truth to the people who paid the cost for the
development of the Russian nuclear shield with health of themselves and
their children. And what is more, our government is ready to place
international nuclear waste storage on this land, worn out with suffering.
And in Russia, there is no law on handling nuclear wastes.
On July 4, 2001 the government
of Russia agreed to import 20,000 tons of nuclear spent fuel and reprocess
it into plutonium though almost 90% of the population were against it.
There are two ways to deal
with plutonium: Converting it into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel and burning it
in nuclear reactors; or immobilizing it by combining it with other high-level
nuclear wastes and stabilizing it in a ceramic matrix.
The Russian Government has
decided to choose the first way and is going to develop a plutonium economy.
The nuclear elite of Russia
claims that they have the most advanced and safe technology, and they want
to earn money to rehabilitate the contaminated areas. The price of
the contract is 21 billion dollars for 40 years. Last year 28 billion
dollars escaped from Russia. This problem is not scientific or technological,
it is political and the future of the planet is at stake.
They say that the money from
reselling plutonium as commercial energy if a market develops can be used
for the safe disposal of nuclear wastes. The level of corruption
in Russia is so high that the government can’t find the money it transfers.
What we can be sure of, is that the money would be stolen and the wastes
would remain and the victims would be left to deal with their health problems.
Big policy is made with big money. But no one should be allowed to
benefit financially from harming others.
As for the safe technology,
the reality in Russia is such that now one of our local NGOs is suing nuclear
facility “Mayak? for using radioactive waste dumps without a proper license
to do so. And this is going on at a time when the radioactive lens
of underground water has been moving 90 meters a year and poses a great
risk to the sources of drinking water for Chelyabinsk with a population
of 1,300 people.
They say that the risks have
been estimated, that the plutonium economy is effective. They haven’t
estimated the cost of the rehabilitation of the territory after the Chelyabinsk
and Chernobyl accidents and nobody is accountable for the suffering of
the people. It was estimated that 1.3 billion people have been killed,
maimed or diseased by the nuclear industry since its inception.
They say that transportation
of nuclear wastes is safe. But not in Russia now. Last month
a train going from the Urals arrived in Novosibirsk without a single roof.
The roofs were stolen and sold as metal waste by people who couldn’t earn
money any other way.
The authorities try to convince
us that millions of tons of nuclear wastes will do no harm to us and those
who will live after us. They try to convince that they have high
technology. Their “high? technology includes placing radioactive
wastes into the environment, which is absurd and unacceptable from the
point of view of any modern environmental mind.
We are convinced and we claim
that the suffering of thousands of people in Russia who have already felt
the harmful effect of radiation will increase, and that the list of new
accidents and new victims will increase. We want you to listen to
the voices of those who were born, have lived and raised children in the
zone of 3 nuclear accidents, under the ongoing influence of the activity
of nuclear production and whose lives in future will depend on numerous
factors of high risk.
Taking into account the former
sad experience of relations between state authorities and the public in
Russia we are sorry to say that what lies ahead of us is a policy of genocide
against the nation.
This is not to say that Russian
people did nothing to fight this decision. The NGOs of Russia gathered
2.5 million signatures against importing spent fuel (our NGO gathered 60,000).
Nuclear Safety Movement sent 400 information packages to the State Duma
members and in the second reading of the law there were 110 more votes
against the law. We have gained good experience in negotiating with
the Russian government and our regional Duma. Due to our efforts,
after a public hearing, organized by our Movement, our regional Duma initiated
a regional referendum on this issue. So the fight is not over yet.
What we are gravely concerned
about now is that the main purpose of the plutonium economy is to coerce
political and economic control and defend social privilege of the political
and the nuclear elite of Russia.
Why are we against the plutonium
economy and the world storage of nuclear wastes in Russia? For the
The amount of plutonium
There is no such thing as
peaceful plutonium: it can be extracted from fuel rods and used for military
Reprocessing of spent fuel
introduces new environmentally risky processes to the fuel cycle.
All experts agree that reprocessing is a very dirty process.
All the above-mentioned
reasons are technological and scientific problems but there is also a very
grave political aspect. In the Russian Parliament there are very
many aggressive members who hope to obtain plutonium together with the
imported spent fuel and use this plutonium as a tool of political blackmail.
So the political and nuclear
elite of Russia has decided to develop a plutonium economy. It has
neither the facilities nor the money to build it. Therefore Russia
is prepared to provide permanent storage for the world’s stockpile of nuclear
The world political and scientific
communities have been trying to solve the problem of permanent storage
for 25 years. The project of Yukka Mountain in the USA and the project
of Pangea Resources have failed.
Now Russia is eager to allow
its territory to be used. This idea poses an even greater risk to
the whole world. The solution to how to store the wastes hasn’t been
Even the idea of storing
all wastes in one place is doubtful. The safe transportation of wastes
over the globe over a long period defies the laws of probability.
Accidents do happen and even one plutonium accident is capable of damaging
life on the whole planet.
Apart from the risk of transport,
leakage, etc., a centralized dump will discourage the states that produce
the waste from taking responsibility for it.
Russia today is the least
suitable place for such permanent storage. The country has been going
through political, economic and social crisis. Democracy hasn’t been
established yet. Corruption at all levels is very high.
The problems we face are
not only the problems of Russia but of the entire human community.
Therefore, we call on the international community to get united.
We need help. We are addressing all of you now. We, the people
of Russia, need the help of everybody who is concerned for the safe future
of the world. What is going on in Russia now can endanger world security.
We appeal to you to move
against this plan and urge the governments of Eastern Europe, Taiwan, South
Korea and Switzerland to abandon their plans of transporting spent fuel
to Russia for reprocessing.
We, the Nuclear Safety Movement
have been dealing with the nuclear safety problem for 12 years and have
come to the conclusion that a Convention on the Elimination of Nuclear
Weapons is essential and must become a pivotal point in our struggle for
a safe future.
We appeal to all of you here
to include in the Conference Resolution an address to the United Nations
to begin and promote the work on a Convention on the Prohibition and the
Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Chelyabinsk Nuclear Victim
2001 World Conference
against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima
Radiation Effects on the
As a result of the activity
of the nuclear production plant “Mayak? in the South Urals since 1948 a
vast amount of radioactive wastes has been discharged into the environment.
It has caused an extremely difficult ecological situation for a very large
region. During 1948 - 52 the discharge of radioactive wastes into
the river Techa constituted 3 million Cu. The radioactive wastes
through the Techa, Iset, Tobol, Irtush and Ob reached the Arctic Ocean.
By 1952 it became clear that the situation was critical, and when they
found leukemia among 67% of the inhabitants of the village of Metlino,
they decided to resettle the villages. But in 1957 one more accident
happened, and 270,000 more people found themselves in the contaminated
area. They were not asked where they wanted to go, but they were
loaded into the trucks and moved away. The buildings and the cattle were
All 6 villages (18,000 people)
were evacuated, but at intervals of 30-40 km 4 villages were left: Muslumovo,
Brodocalmak, Russian Techa, Nijnia Petropavlovka. What for?
On the boarder of the depopulated zone there is situated Muslumovo on the
river Techa ? this village is on the nuclear dump.
The disease rate of the population
was very high. The reason seemed to be obvious. The life of
the inhabitants of Muslumovo is connected with the river Techa, the floor
of which is covered with radioactive wastes. But Soviet medicine
didn’t want to recognize the links between diseases and the radioactive
A great number of locals
died with symptoms of cancer, but the documents described the cause of
death as general disease. We can’t say how long this curtain of secrecy
and silence about the accidents at the Mayak facility would have been kept,
but in 1986 the Chernobyl tragedy happened. The radiation disease,
the link between the disease and the radiation exposure, became widely
discussed in mass media. Nevertheless, the official point of view
was that the exposure to radiation hadn’t affected the health of the local
people. The first to act was the doctor of the local hospital Gulfarida
Galimova, who had her patients diagnosed in a diagnostic center.
The examination led to a sharp rise in the number of diseases diagnosed,
and the official information about the good situation regarding public
health in Chelyabinsk Region was no longer confirmed.
Together with genetic scientists
from Novosibirsk genetic blood testing of children - descendents of irradiated
people - was carried out and it was found that every fourth child is a
mutant due to chromosome changes.
It became possible to establish
the truth only after joining a public movement “Movement for Nuclear Safety.?
But again official medicine considers these results to be an exception,
but our NGO “Aigul? united women with chromic radiation disease and children
who have health deviations.
We decided to continue the
research. With the financial support of the Ford fund we made a contract
with the Institute of General Genetics named after Vavilov of the RAS presented
by professor V.A. Shecvhenko. The results surprised the scientist:
in the blood of children born in 1997 found markers that can appear only
after exposure to radiation. There are no other factors.
Now that Russia has decided
to import spent fuel it is necessary to analyze the effects of the former
activity of the nuclear facility “Mayak?, the additional risks to the public
The population of the Chelyabinsk
Region is about 3,200,000 people. More than a thousand and a half
are still being exposed to radiation due to the contaminated environment
and food contaminated with radionuclides.
The population of the contaminated
areas has to live in the high-risk zone. There is a rise in the number
of people, unable to work, early deaths and disability.
The medical research shows
high rates of heavy chronic pathology both among adults and children, an
increase in the number of radiation disease cases, a high rate of cancer,
infertility and inborn deformities.
The Data of Diseases in Muslumovo
Chronic radiation disease:
1997- 132 people, 2 of them children
The birth rate is decreasing,
but the number of children with pathology is rising:
1997 - 47 were born - 30
with pathology ? 67.8%,
1998 - 57 were born - 28
with pathology - 49%
1999 - 45 were born - 43
with pathology ? 95.5%
Children are very susceptible
to radiation exposure, small doses of radiation slow or stop altogether
the growth of bones. This leads to skeleton development abnormalities.
Among the pathologies the
first place is occupied by pathologies of the throat and nose - every third
- Every fifth - chronic
diseases of respiratory system
- Every sixth - digestive
- Every third child has
a syndrome of vascular distony
- Every fifth - cardiovascular
70% of the examined children
of pre-school and elementary school age show psychic deviations, connected
with diffusion or insufficiency of the brain. Geneticists warn about
the population catastrophe. 45 years after the discharge of the wastes
into the river Techa the examination of the population revealed the presence
of cells with dicenters, with tricenters and centrical rings that point
first of all to the high doses of radiation received by the population
and second, exposure to internal irradiation. The research showed
that the level of genetic destruction among the descendents is higher than
among the parents.
State of Health of the Downwinders
of the Argayash Region
The Argayash region is not
situated on the Techa River, and it didn’t suffer from the fallout but
it is situated in the vicinity of the nuclear facility “Mayak.? The
state of health of the population is very worrying:
Nervous system diseases
Digestive system diseases
Blood organs diseases ?
Disabled ? every fifth person.
In January 2000 the NGO “Aigul?
initiated a research to find out the effective doses of radiation received
by the population.
The results showed that
in the examined settlements the population was exposed to a huge mutagenetic
factor of radiation origin.
The aim of our work is to
help people of the region get the information on radiation situation in
the region, radiation in general and the effect of small doses on human
beings. It is possible that this information will help people under
the present conditions take some measures to decrease radiation risks for
themselves and their children and to protect their right to life and a
Movement for Nuclear
2000 World Conference
against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima
Dangerous Links Between Plutonium
Bombs And Plutonium Economy
Transparency and Openness
Help Society to Make a Choice
I am happy to be joining
the most responsible part of our society at this significant Conference.
I am sure most of us believe that:
"If powerful men and women
Could center themselves
The whole world would be
By itself, in its natural
rhythms." (Tao Te Ching)
Let's think together: where
is the place, what is the role of nuclear weapons for the next Millennium?
Political and military elites try to deny nations the right to live in
peaceful rhythm. Have nuclear weapons transformed the natural rhythms
of the citizens of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Muslumovo, Argayash region,
Rocky Flats, Sellafield, or other places of the our planet, or region,
where I live? Nuclear weapons have forced people to adjust their
rhythm of their lives to fit in with the dictates of a nuclear world.
There are very deep psychological changes: society has been split into
two parts - small numbers of heroic nuclear kamikazes and big numbers of
victims of this heroism. Only political elites and military industry
have made profit from this conflict.
The Summary of the nuclear
and political elites activity:
The Summary of the
nuclear and political elites activity:
|National product (NP) 10(9)
$ (USD) *
|National product per person,
|Growth of NP
|Total Nuclear Warheads (NW)**
|Number of NW after
|Total Pu resources (t)
||180 ? 220
|Military Pu resources (t)
|Military Uranium (t)
* - "The Economist"
** - A.Machijany, "Energy
and Security", 1999.
*** - 500 ton HEU discusses
to sell to USA
According to the experts'
conclusion the optimal number of warheads for Russia and USA is 1500 each.
The mountains of surplus plutonium are putting pressure on the national
and the world economy. Today we see very dangerous processes of transforming
Plutonium Bombs to a Plutonium economy.
It is known that processing
of each 100 tons of spent nuclear fuel produces one ton of "commercial"
plutonium.? In the early 80s the biggest Russian nuclear site, "Mayak",
had 30 tons of "commercial" plutonium from processing Russian and
foreign spent nuclear fuel. Over the next 20 years "Mayak" was processing
100-200 tons of spent fuel every year. ?So, "Mayak" had to store a minimum
of 20 more tons of plutonium during these years. ?It means that they now
must have 50 tons from processing Russian and foreign spent fuel.
But officials claim only 30 - 33 tons. This is very questionable.
Until 1999 this quantity of "civilian" plutonium was excluded from the
Russian-American program for reducing the danger of plutonium. The
Movement for Nuclear Safety has drawn the attention to this disproportion.
Success came in 2000, when "civilian" plutonium was included in negotiations.
The legacy of the strategy
of "nuclear restraint": Today the stock of plutonium in Russia is
twice as much as the stock of plutonium in the USA and it is still growing.
The safe handling of 200 tons of plutonium costs, according to American
safety standards, 800 million dollars a year. The political cold
war gambling led to a situation where the USA invested 100 times more national
resources than those of their close political competitors. The USA
expenditure on nuclear weapons and their infrastructure constituted 5.5
billion dollars for the period 1940-1996. (Arjun Machijany, 1999,
with reference to Stephen I. Schwartz, 1998). No equivalent figures
have been published for Russian nuclear arsenals.
Today experts believe that
the number of nuclear warheads of the super states should be decreased
to 1,500 in each one. Such a decrease could lift the economic
burden and could strengthen national defense. But the problem is
that neither in the USA nor in Russia has the process of nuclear disarmament
become irreversible. Almost 10 billion dollars that have been invested
into the industrial infrastructure of both Russia and the USA, thousands
of nuclear scientists who don't want to do anything else, the budget interests
of military corporations - all these create an inertial stream that has
to be blocked by a public aware of its danger. The nuclear elite
lives in a closed technocratic atmosphere and they don't want to leave
"cold war" priorities and principles: They miss the "cold war". Chelyabinsk-65
was reported to have 83,000 inhabitants and "almost 100,000 people."
The nuclear complex covers some 90 square kilometers according to a ministry
report, and is run by the production association Mayak. All the reactors
are located near the southeast shore of Lake Kyzyltash and relied on open-cycle
cooling: water from the lake was pumped directly through the core.
The plutonium reactors were closed in the 90s. Processing and isotopes
production still operates. "Mayak" was the first Soviet plutonium
production complex. Construction was started on the first buildings
of the new city in November 1945. Some 70,000 inmates from 12 labor
camps were reportedly used to build the complex.
Nuclear downwinders? environmental
and health problems: There are 15 nuclear sites in Russia, connected
with military production and the fuel cycle. Five of them are situated
in the Ural Mountains and three of them are situated in the Chelyabinsk
region. The most famous, most dangerous and oldest is the complex
"Mayak". I live near the site, where the first Russian nuclear and
hydrogen bombs were produced. From the end of the 40s the first radiochemical
plant started to produce plutonium. The production of military plutonium
is closed now. Tritium production is still operating. In 1976
radiochemical plant PT-1 started "civilian" activity. Last year 1,831
million cubic metres liquid and solid wastes with radioactivity of 42.5
million Ku were produced at Mayak. From this number 1.25 million
Ku was dumped in the Karachay, Old Swamp and some other lakes and the Techa-
river. 150 millions Ku radioactivity has been collected in Karachay
since 1953. Several other lakes and rivers are used by "Mayak" scientists
and officials for dumping nuclear wastes. The migration of radionuclides
with underground water from the Karachay is extremely dangerous for drinking
resources of the Chelyabinsk region. Tritium waste is dumped into
the lake named "Old Swamp". Tritium waste also migrates from the
Old Swamp to the underground water.
Nukes can go on polluting
natural water resources by falsifying the safety checks and putting the
censure on environmental information. But this falsification
and censure can't protect the environment from nuclear contamination and
health from nuclear hazardous effects. According to Nuclear Inspectorate
Gosatomnadzor information 1999, "Mayak" has no license to use reservoirs:
lakes and rivers for the disposal of nuclear waste.
The people of the Chelyabinsk
Region have suffered no less than three nuclear disasters: For several
years 1949 - 1953, the Mayak complex systematically dumped radioactive
waste into the Techa River, the only source of water for the 24 villages
which lined its banks. The four largest of those villages were never
evacuated, and only recently have the authorities revealed to the population
why they strung barbed wire along the banks of the river some 35 years
In 1957, the area suffered
its next calamity when the cooling system of a radioactive waste containment
unit malfunctioned and exploded. About two million curies spread
throughout the region, exposing to radiation over a quarter of a million
people. Less than half of one percent of these people was evacuated,
and some of those only after years had passed.
The third disaster came ten
years later. The Mayak complex had been using Lake Karachay as a
dumping basin for its radioactive waste since 1951. In 1967, a drought
reduced the water level of the lake, and gale-force winds spread radioactive
dust throughout 25,000 square kilometers, further irradiating half a million
people with five million curies.
There were 217 towns and
villages with a combined population of 270,000 people in the area that
was contaminated with greater than 0.1 curies of strontium 90 per square
kilometer. By comparison, the total strontium 90 fallout at this
latitude from past atmospheric tests is 0.08 curies per square kilometer.
Virtually all water supply sources in the area were contaminated.
Evacuation of the most highly contaminated areas, where 1,100 people lived,
was not completed until 10 days after the accident. Other areas were
evacuated a year later, after the population had consumed radioactive food.
In the years following the accident, 515 square miles of land was plowed
under or removed from agricultural use; all except 80 square kilometers
was returned to use by 1978.
About 10,000 people lived
in the 1,000-square-kilometer area contaminated with more than two curies
of strontium 90 per square kilometer. One-fifth of these people eventually
showed a reduction of leukocytes in their blood. There are no records
of deaths caused by the accident.
Contamination from "Mayak"
operation activity can be compared with the effects of nuclear bombing,
but they are more dangerous because they are kept secret. People
keep living on the contaminated territory. The food is contaminated,
water is contaminated, and air is contaminated. The most terrible
effect this contamination has is on the third generation. Children's health
is very bad. On the downwind territory each fifth child has chronic
lung diseases, each third has acute respiratory disorders, each sixth has
chronic stomach diseases. Each third child has vascular atony, each
fifth has heart dysfunctions. Seven in every ten children aged 3-10
have behavior abnormalities and problems in social adaptation connected
with a partial dysfunction (deficiency) of the central nervous system and
diffusive or focal failure of the brain. Recent investigation has
shown that a 1-year-old girl, Regina Stern, has a particle of plutonium
in her body.
Of downwind adults 72% have
nerves diseases, 50% stomach diseases, and 40% blood abnormality.
Each fifth adult is an invalid. The health and environmental effects
of the nuclear industry activity reveal a showing low-level of technical
safety and a low-level engineering culture. The rehabilitation of
the territory and inhabitants of Chelyabinsk region looks like a sham,
which creates catastrophes. Dismantling military nuclear arsenals:
Moreover, 50,000 warheads will also be stored in the same nuclear site,
"Mayak" complex. And eventually infrastructure for MOX (mixed Oxide)
fuel will also be built at "Mayak". People are opposing with
these plans. "Mayak" consists of several dozens of facilities. Can
you imagine what may happen on this site, if a terrorist would attempt
to take some fissile materials, or if a terrorist will send a rocket?
The disaster will be several hundred times more than those of Hiroshima
Links between plutonium bombs
and plutonium economy: As you may know, on June 4 President Clinton
and President Putin announced an agreement, which supports the industrial
use of weapon grade plutonium in nuclear power reactors in both nations.
At the upcoming G-8 Summit in Okinawa, Russian and American leaders asked
other nations for financial support for this program.
want dismantled weapons to be handled safely they are sure that to process
plutonium for use as fuel in American and Russian nuclear power plants
is wrong. Many scientists, engineers, and environmentalists oppose
the bilateral agreement, which would abandon the safer alternative of immobilization
for Russian plutonium.
The US-Russian agreement
calls for 34 tons of Russian plutonium to be used in nuclear power plants;
in the United States 25.5 tons of plutonium would be used in nuclear power
reactors and 8.5 tons immobilized. Plutonium mixed oxide fuel has
a greater quantity of hazardous radioactive materials, which would cause
additional harmful radiation exposure to the public in case of reactor
failure. The increase in health risk is related to the amount of
plutonium fuel loaded into the reactor core. A reactor using mixed
oxide for one-third of its fuel would contain about three times more plutonium
239 than a same reactor loaded with conventional uranium fuel. A
severe accident, involving containment failure or bypass, could cause 30%
more cancer fatalities, corresponding to hundreds or even thousands of
additional cancer deaths in the communities surrounding the plant.
Moreover, who will assume
liability for plutonium fuel accidents in Russian light water reactors
funded by America and other G-8 nations? What would be the political
fallout from such accidents? These issues should have been resolved
before President Clinton signed the agreement with President Putin.
"Greens" prevented nuclear
corruption: Russian greens and environmentalists understand the situation
very clearly. They are trying to prevent a new type of corruption
connected with nuclear waste business.
The documents, dated May
19, 1998, show that 200,000 barrels of Taiwan Power Company's (Taipower)
nuclear waste will be shipped to Russia via Japan within 10 years.
Taipower will pay NT(National Taiwan)$800 million, or an average of NT$4,000
Benefits to the three parties
were also mentioned in these documents. For Taiwan, problems caused
by the lack of dump sites for nuclear waste would be solved, while thousands
of job opportunities would be created for Russians. As for Japan,
documents show that, as the agent, Asia Tat Trading Co. Ltd. (ATT) would
make a handsome profit. The Kurchatov Institute (KI), Russia's largest
nuclear weapons center, is reportedly organizing the project. Profit
for the venture has been projected at around US$10 billion. The Japanese
agent had reached an informal agreement with a Russian atomic research
center concerning dumping nuclear waste for the company.
According to the information
of one of Russian environmental organizations Ecodefense, Kurchatov Institute
officials lobbied for changes in Russia's legislation in exchange for financial
support by ATT. It has been reported that Taipower plans to begin
operating the nuclear waste dump in 2012, but that local protesters asking
for compensation could affect these plans.
Another case: Receiving and
storing foreign spent fuel is banned in the federal level but has been
allowed by the regional law in Chelyabinsk region. The administration,
due to a Presidential order, is getting 12% of Mayak profit and regards
this enterprise as the source of extra budget funds that may be used for
supporting election campaigns.
All three nuclear sites have
their representatives in the Chelyabinsk regional legislative body, lobbying
for the interests of this industry. The peculiar feature of this
activity is fact that although receiving and storing foreign spent
fuel is banned under federal level, it has been allowed since 1999 by the
regional law "Concerning radioactive protection of the population of the
The "Movement for Nuclear
Safety" watches illegal activity of regional legislators. We apply
to the General Prosecutor for asking him to over-rule the regional Law
"Concerning radioactive protection of the population of the Chelyabinsk
region". This regional law violates federal law by ignoring state
prohibition to import nuclear material for storage. He called us
on July 13 and informed us that he would apply to the regional Court against
this violation. The Regional Prosecutor invited MNS to be the third
side in this case. It is great victory of our network.
But that is not all.
On April 29 Chelyabinsk legislators wrote a letter to President Putin asking
him to support nuclear waste deals. For our part we asked the
public to write to legislators to withdraw its letter to Putin because
it violated human rights. On June 29 7 Russian green activists were
arrested in Chelyabinsk after a public action against the nuclear waste
industry. I was one of them. Five NGOs organized an action
against a spent nuclear fuel deal as a national financial base of the Plutonium
economy in Russia.
Seven activists were arrested
for 4 hours and received a warning from the Judge. We made a very
nice action. The Judge after we answered her questions said, that
she was supporting our point of view! The policemen, who arrested
us, also added that they were against importing nuclear waste. So,
we had a big success. All local press, TV and Radio informed people
about this action and problems connected with it. The Regional Governor
invited us to meet him after the action - before, he was ignoring our addresses
The "Movement for Nuclear
Safety" is carrying on a program of professional education of NGOs leaders.
We are sure that this program will enable us to successfully negotiate
with the government on the issues of national nuclear policy and of ensuring
transparency and strengthening public participation in the decision making
process of nuclear disarmament and decreasing nuclear threats. At
the same time we need to strengthen public influence on the United Nation
for developing a UN Convention on nuclear weapons elimination. We
must strengthen our international collaboration.
Union of Nuclear Test
Victims - Altai Branch
“Fifty Years since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?, August
In 1947 the government of
the former USSR made a decision to build a nuclear test site on the territory
of the former Kazakh Socialist Republic for testing nuclear weapons. On
August 29, 1949 a ground test of the first Soviet atomic device was carried
out. On account of the lack of experience, scientists were not able
to foresee the nuclear cloud that expanded to relatively distant and highly
populated regions. People who lived in the Altai Region were not
informed of that nuclear test and the following ones and nothing had been
done to protect them. In August 1949, due to the passage of a nuclear
cloud and radioactive fallout, residents in some southern parts of the
Altai Region were subjected to heavy radiation of hundreds of millisievert,
which was much more than the level that the people living in the 30-kilometer-zone
around Chernobyl Power Station had suffered.
Lack of medical study on
the effects and the strict secrecy on nuclear testing made it impossible
for us to grasp even now whether only a part of the region or the whole
of it was affected by radiation.
The population of the Altai
Region have been repeatedly affected by ensuing nuclear tests, in particular,
the first thermo-nuclear device tested on August 12, 1953 and the hydrogen
bomb test on November 22, 1955. In total, 87 atmospheric and 26 above-ground
tests were conducted.
For the 40 years since the
day nuclear tests began, military leaders and bureaucrats have constantly
denied the possibility that the Altai Region had been affected by radiation.
And only with the help of our scientists, such as Prof. Shoihet, vice president
of the Altai Medical University Research and Scientific Department, and
social, anti-nuclear, non-governmental organizations, which were trying
to acquire the truth of those years, we could force not only people who
had engaged in the nuclear tests but also high officials in Moscow to take
measures for the effects of nuclear tests inflicted on the Altai Region.
Most of the damages and effects on the Altai Region, caused by nuclear
tests in the 1940s through the 1960s, has now been made clear.
The documents of the Semipalatinsk
Nuclear Test Site revealed that during the period of nuclear testing, fallout
generated by 56 atmospheric tests fell on many parts of the Altai Region
and contaminated almost the whole of the region. Most seriously damaged
was the southern part of the Altai Region. Moreover, it was confirmed
that following some nuclear explosions, a considerable amount of radioactive
substance fell on the distant northern part.
When nuclear testing was
planned in the 1950s, the upper limit of the acceptable dose of radiation
was decided as a safety criterion for the population. First,
it was fixed at 50 roentgen and by the end of the decade it was lowered
to half, and it fell to 2 roentgen at the end of the 1960s. In accordance
with the criterion, conditions for nuclear testing were worked out.
However, there are evidences that the criterion was not observed in some
Even after atmospheric nuclear
tests were banned, nuclear tests were going on. At the time of an
underground test in 1965, a huge amount of radioactive substance with soil
leaked into the air and was carried to the Altai Region.
According to an interim data,
which needs to be confirmed, in the Altai Region, 270 thousand people were
exposed to a dose of more than 50 millisievert, 40,000 people, more than
250 millisievert, and about 1 million people, more than 10 millisievert.
The approximate total dose
of radiation that the Altai Region received from nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk
Nuclear Test Site has been counted as 3 sievert per 60 thousand people.
Such a "collective" dose theoretically must have caused 3-4 thousand additional
deaths from forms of cancer, 780 serious genetic affects and many other
diseases, with the total lives lost around 90 thousand human-life years.
It turned out that the population
of the Altai Region were affected by radiation twice as much if we put
together a number of people who took part in the cleaning-up work after
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station accident and residents of Bryanskaya Province
In this case it is not an
occasional thing that cancer mortality, genetic defects and other diseases,
which are usually characteristic of the late effects of radiation, have
been statistically registered more often in Altai, which is blessed with
the best natural environment in the whole of Siberia, than in the neighboring
To draw a real picture of
the influence of Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site on the territory of the
Altai Region, and to estimate medical, social and other aftereffects of
the tests, in 1991, in Barnaul, Altai Region, by our scientists, with the
head, Professor Shoihet, a special scientific research center was organized,
which later was transferred into the Scientific Research Institute of the
Medical and Pollution Problems of the Altai Region, and now they work especially
in this field.
As a result of those activities,
well organized and purposeful researches, where 90 leading universities
and institutes of Moscow, St.Petersburg and Siberia are taking part, have
started on the territory of the Altai Region. All the researches
are carried out as a special planned state program that has the consent
of the government of the Russian Federation.
Social Protection of the
Social protection of the
population of the Altai Region who suffered from nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk
Nuclear Test Site is provided by the decree of the president of the Russian
Federation , "On the Social Protection of People Who Suffered from the
Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, December 20,1993 #2228".
By this decree, Boris Yeltsin,
president of the Russian Federation, designated the list of places where
the people should have privileges and other means of social protection.
On April 1, 1994 a law of
social defense of the nuclear test victims of the Altai Region went into
effect. It has been applicable to those people who lived in the Altai
Region during the period 1949-1963 and received doses of radiation over
25 sievert, and also to those with doses over 5 sievert and less than 25
sievert. The articles of this law include enough measures to compensate
and to provide social defense. This law covers not only the first
generation of victims but also the later generations.
The law provides that these
people are allowed to get free medical treatment, medicines, free transportation
and medical-rehabilitation and sanatorium treatment, and to retire 10 years
earlier than the fixed age requirement etc..
But today this law does not
protect the victims as it should. It is not in the interest of government,
because of economic reasons, to add many parts of the Altai Region to the
list of sufferers, in spite of the fact that we have all the scientific
conclusions to do it.
At the present moment all
the privileges exist only on paper, and the law itself does not work.
The main cause of this situation is that the government stopped subsidizing
the Semipalatinsk Program.
The economic crisis in Russia
first of all influenced the medical treatment system, and this decreased
the chances of the victims to get necessary assistance. Children
are suffering most of all. In the second and third generations we
can see a high rate of newborn mortality and a huge amount of the innate
deformity, and many intellectually disabled children are being born.
The main purpose and aim
of our organization is to look for a way out of this situation for a solution
of this problem. First of all, we are directing our own and other
efforts and public efforts to organize a children's rehabilitation center,
in addition to the existing clinic. If we don't organize this center
soon, a lot of children will be doomed. The plan for establishing
this center was made by the clinicians who are involved in our movement.
We truly hope that our ideas in this field will be widely supported.
Only by working together, sharing experiences and opinions, and feeling
the pain of each other, can we be winners over the evil that has been brought
to the world by nuclear weapons.