Greenpeace demands from the St.Petersburg Governor to stop the dangerous nuclear experiment

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Feature story - 5 April, 2017
Right in the centre of St.Petersburg, Russia’s second biggest city, Rosatom plans to fuel a floating NPP and start the reactor. Greenpeace collects signatures under the petition to the Governor Georgy Poltavchenko to stop hazardous works.

Until recently, the construction of any NPP at a distance less than 100 kilometres from big cities like St. Petersburg was banned. Now, however, the Baltic Shipyard plans to launch the reactor in the test mode at an NPP in just two kilometres from St Isaac Cathedral, in the city centre. “Akademik Lomonosov”, the experimental floating NPP, has not even obtained the operational licence. After that, the NPP will be towed to Chukotka in the Far East and installed off the town of Pevek. 

Upon the completion of tests for the readiness of the shipyard for hazardous nuclear operations, the confirmation must be handed over to the local office of Rostechnadzor, Russia’s technological and nuclear regulator. Once the confirmation is approved the Baltic Shipyards will get the permit for the loading of the nuclear fuel. 

The physical start of the reactor will follow the fuelling. Rostechnadzor has confirmed that this will happen “at the shipyard within the limits of the city of St. Petersburg during the mooring trials”.  

“Loading of the nuclear fuel in the reactor inside St. Petersburg puts the population of a multimillion city under enormous risk”, says Rashid Alimov, project head under the the Greenpeace Russia energy programme. “There’s no justification for these dangerous works. Moreover, this is  against the Russian law”.

Previously, there were several accidents during the hazardous nuclear works in Russia, which resulted in substantial exposure of the personnel to the radiation, deaths and serious nuclear contamination. In Gorky in 1970, there was an accident at the “Krasnoye Sormovo” plant with an uncontrolled launch of a submarine reactor. It lead to local contamination, several persons died, hundreds were irradiated above the limits.

Another serious accident happened in 1985 in the Chazhma Bay, Vladivostok, during the refuelling of a nuclear-powered submarine. There, the radioactive plume stretched for 5,5 kilometres and the radioactive particles were dispersed to even bigger area.

According to the Rostechnadzor, the state corporation Rosatom obtained the permission for the loading of the nuclear fuel to the floating NPP and reactor launch from the St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko in 2014.

Greenpeace Russia demands from the Governor to immediately call off his permission and stop the dangerous experiment.

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