Nuclear Officials Are Responsible for Panic in Privolghie Caused by Emergency at the Nuclear Power Plant

Press release - 24 November, 2004
23 November 2004, Moscow. Today Greenpeace Russia together with 22 other Russian organizations submitted two petitions to the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation proving that a recent incident at the Balakovo NPP is the result of nonfeasance of nuclear authorities.

No licenses for new Chernobyls

Ecologists agree with the RF Gosatomnadzor about reasons of a panic caused by the incident at the Balakovo NPP

23 November 2004, Moscow. Today Greenpeace Russia together with 22 other Russian organizations submitted two petitions to the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation proving that a recent incident at the Balakovo NPP is the result of nonfeasance of nuclear authorities.

Non-governmental organizations have requested an investigation about violations and elements of crime in actions of officials who hadn't provided the population of the Saratov, Ulyanovsk, Penza and other regions with timely and reliable information about the incident at the Balakovo NPP at night of 3-4th of November 2004.

The cause of a mass panic of the population was, first of all, contradictory official information about the incident. After the structure's block had been shut down the officials responsible for informing the population gave at least two contrary interpretations of what had happened in mass media:

1. At the 2nd energy block of the Balakovo NPP maintenance works of the feedwater pipe line of the 4th steam generator are carried out. The generator was deactivated to be repaired in compliance with the application submitted and endorsed by an appropriate organization. The source of the information is the chief engineer of the Balakovo NPP Mr. Ignatov.

2. There was an emergency situation at the 2nd energy block of the Balakovo NPP (an emergency shutdown caused by the safety system of the reactor after the pipe line of the regulator of steam generators' level had been damaged). The source is the press service of the RF Atomic Energy Agency.

Furthermore, an official (the head of civil defense and emergency situations department Mr.Romanenko) made his first statement on a local TV channel in the town of Balakovo (situated in immediate proximity to the NPP) 17 hours after the incident.

Gosatomnadzor, having analyzed the situation, imposed responsibility to appropriate structures of the Balakovo NPP. "I think the work of bodies in charge of public relations was not sufficient because they failed to inform citizens about what had really happened", - said Mikhail Miroshenko, the head of the department for safety control over nuclear power plants of the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision.

Besides that, non-governmental organizations addressed the General Prosecutor's Office of the RF with a demand to take necessary measures in regard to the report of the press service of the Balakovo NPP of November 9, 2004. According to the press release of the Balakovo NPP, "the Greens" "contributed to stirring up hysteria".

The authors of the appeal express their hope that criminal negligence in words and actions must entail responsibility. According to non-governmental organizations, the distribution of such information comes under article 129.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF "Slander in a Public Statement or in Mass Media".

"We are not going to bear tricks of nuclear officials, - said Greenpeace Russia energy department coordinator Vladimir Chouprov. - These people should know how to bear responsibility for what they do".

Additional information

Art. 8.5 of the Code on Administrative Offences

- Concealment, deliberate distortion or untimely provision of full and complete information about radiation environment, as well as the distortion of facts about the environment by persons in charge of providing such information... entails an administrative fine at the amount of 5-10 minimum wages for citizens; 10-20 minimum wages for officials; 100-200 minimum wages for legal entities.

Art. 140 of the Criminal Code of the RF

- Illegal refusal by an official to provide collected according to the procedure documents and materials that directly affect rights and freedoms of citizens or provision a citizen with incomplete of deliberately false information, if these actions caused damage to rights and legitimate interests of citizens... entail a fine at the amount up to 200.000 roubles or at the amount of 18 month wage or other income of the convict or revocation of right to be appointed to certain positions or to take certain activity during 2-5 years.

The following representatives addressed the General Prosecutor's office:

Greenpeace Russia (Moscow)

Zeleny Mir (Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad region)

The Division of the All-Russian Society for Nature Protection (Balakovo, Saratovsky region)

Saint Petersburg Society of Naturalists

Belona Ecological Association (Saint Petersburg)

Moscow International Discussion Club (Moscow)

"Scientists for Social Responsibility" (Novosibirsk)

"Centre for Ecological Initiatives" (Saratov)

"Center for Civil Initiatives" (Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanov region)

Clean Energy Coalition (Saratov)

"Ecodefence-Council" (Moscow)

"Nature and Youth" (Murmansk region)

Siberian Information Ecological Agency (Tomsk)

"Save Pechora Committee" (Pechora, the Republic of Komi).

Union for Chemical Safety (Moscow)

Public Assessment Group for Technical-Economic Feasibility Study of the Construction of the Far East NPP (Komsomolsk-na-Amure)

Ecological and Social Equity Fund (Voronezh)

Eco-SPES (Dzerzhinsk)

"Krasnoyarsk District Ecological Union" (Krasnoyarsk)

"Buryat Regional Baikal Organization" (Ulan-Ude)

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Centre (Krasnoyarsk)

Komi Regional Commission "Memorial" (Syktyvkar)

"Collective Action Institute" (Moscow)

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