Russia – State Of Emergency As Wildfires Blaze Near Nuclear Town
August 10, 2010: London Telegraph Editor’s / London Telegraph – August 10, 2010
“A state of emergency has been introduced in forests and parks on the territory of the Ozersk city district due to a complicated fire hazard situation,” said a statement posted on the district’s website.
Ozersk, in the Urals region of Russia, is the latest strategic site to be threatened by wildfires which have already badly damaged military depots and threatened other atomic facilities.
Ozersk’s Mayak plant can process 400 tonnes of waste a year. It was the scene of one of the former Soviet Union’s major nuclear disasters in 1957 when a liquid waste accident affected some 260,000 people and forced the evacuation of several towns. The Snezhinsk centre, which makes nuclear weapons, is located in another town in the Urals some 925 miles east of Moscow. On Sunday the Russian emergencies ministry called on its services to work round the clock to put out a fire threatening the centre.
Russia’s other major nuclear centre – at Sarov in the Nizhny Novgorod region 310 miles to the east of Moscow – has also been threatened by blazes. After stating several times that the wildfires posed no threat to the nuclear facilities, Russian authorities announced they had removed all radioactive and explosive materials from the site. Radioactive materials were back at the plant by Monday, authorities said. Sarov city, closed to foreigners, has hosted since Soviet times an important nuclear research centre that makes nuclear arms.
The defence ministry has in addition ordered that weapons, artillery and missiles at a munitions depot at Alabinsk, 40 miles southwest of Moscow, be transferred to a secure site. The authorities have said that two Russian army bases had burned in late July in the Moscow region, ravaged by the flames. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cut short his traditional summer break in the southern resort of Sochi and returned to Moscow to chair an emergency meeting of the national security council on the fire disaster.
Mr Medvedev sacked a string of officers over their failures to control the fires. He formally warned the head of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky and his deputy Alexander Tatarinov over “incomplete professional responsibility” in tackling a fire last week. “I order the ministry of defence to fire a whole number of officers for the disciplinary infringements that were allowed to take place,” the president added in televised comments. Those sacked included the head of the Russian Navy’s logistics division Sergei Sergeyev and the head of the Navy’s aviation Nikolai Kuklev, Medvedev said.
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Reports out of Moscow are claiming that 700 people a day are dying in the city from heat and respiratory complications due to smoke from the wildfires. Is this also due to the very real possibility of radioactive particles being released into the charged atmosphere as the Russian wildfires overwhelm multiple military bases? – SJH
The London Guardian
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