60 Years Beside the Radioactive River is Enough!

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Feature story - 24 April, 2013
Greenpeace Action in Chelyabinsk: volunteer equipped with a chemical protection suit delivered to the Regional Government a letter demanding to provide the residents of contaminated areas with new safe homes.

About 10,000 people still live near  the radioactive river in the Chelyabinsk Region. Hazardous radioactive waste has been dumped into the Techa River for 60 years. Muslumovo, Brodokalmak, Russkaya Techa and Nizhne-Petropavlovskoye are four settlements that are located inside the contaminated area.

Greenpeace’s volunteer, equipped with a chemical protection suit, keeping in hand  60 balloons approached the building of the Chelyabinsk Regional Government and tied balloons at the entrance. Then he entered the building and handed the letter demanding the relocation of residents from the contaminated area to the officer. In front of the Government building the activist unfurled a banner with the slogan: "60 years of radiation, how lоng else?" Security guards and the police checked the documents of a participant in one-person picket and detached a bunch of balls that immediately were given to a foreign tourist.

The experts of Greenpeace claim that only the relocation to a safe area can preserve the health of the inhabitants from the villages along the Techa River. "Starting from the 1940s till present day the  Mayak Chemical Combine  has been dumping  the liquid radioactive wastes into the Techa River. Those who are living along its banks, day after day get more and more doses of radiation, - says Greenpeace Russia Anti-Nuclear Program Coordinator Liliya Ivanova. - Greenpeace demands to solve the problem as quickly as possible. The relocation of residents from the affected villages could be for instance included in the Federal Program “On the elimination of the past environmental damage for 2013-2015” which is being developed now.

 

Greenpeace action in Chelyabinsk is a forced measure: in 2013 local residents twice conducted  the community meetings  to draw the authorities' attention to the misery of the villages, but everything was of no effect.

The last community meeting was held on April 22 in Brodokalmak, which has been attended by about 120 people. The meeting started with a scandal - an hour and a half elder people stood at the closed doors of the house of culture, where they were refused to enter  because of the leakage in the basement. The discussion at the meeting was focused on the problems of resettlement and the provision of medical care. One of the main results of this activity and that of the 21st February was an official promise given by the local Ministry of Health not to close down the Brodokolmak hospital, where  local people could be treated from  a "radiation sickness."


Additional Information:
The result of the community meeting of local people held on February 21, 2013 was a resolution  summarizing the main demands of the residents. The resolution was supported by more than 1,300 residents of settlements along the Techa. One of the requirements of the resolution was the realization of the right to voluntary resettlement of citizens from radiation-contaminated areas.

April 17, 2013 Greenpeace Russia forwarded an appeal to the President of the Russian Federation signed by more than 1,000 people living along the contaminated Techa River in the Chelyabinsk Region where they are demanding to restore the quality of life lost after discharges of radioactive wastse into Techa coming from the Mayak.

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