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A march of remembrance took place in Chelyabinsk Region on the 45th anniversary of the disaster at the “Mayak” plant

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On September 29, 2002 public environmental organisations and the regional branch of the YABLOKO party conducted a march of remembrance in Chelyabinsk Region to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the disaster at the “Mayak” plant. About 500 people took part in the meetings and other events in Tatarskaya Karabolka, Kasli and Kyshtym.

Sergei Mitrokin, State Duma Deputy of the RF and Deputy Head of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO also took part in the march of remembrance. Residents of the contaminated territories handed to Mitrokhin about 300 claims to the authorities, demanding that they recognize them as victims of the disaster in 1957 and compensate them for damage made to their health, urgently resettle residents from the most contaminated territories, refrain from building the South-Urals Nuclear Power Station and ban nuclear waste imports into Russia. Sergei Mitrokhin called on the residents to initiate legal proceedings against the Ministry of Nuclear Power for compensation for damage to the health of people caused by the Mayak plant.

The residents of Tatarskaya Karabolka handed to Mitrokhin over 160 claims and their statement on the need to resettle the residents from this [contaminated] settlement to clean territories and mandatory observation of all corresponding social protection norms. Mitrokhin met residents in the towns of Kasli and Kyshtym, who expressed their complaints about the continuing radio active dumping by the Mayak plant.

In Kyshtym at 4 p.m., the time when 45 year ago the explosion took place, the participants of the meeting flew 217 balloons in memory of 217 settlements that disappeared from the earth’s surface after the disaster in 1957. Mitrokhin placed a mourning wreath in the Tetcha River that was contaminated by radiation, in memory of the victims.

At a press conference Mitrokhin informed journalists that the YABLOKO party would raise the issue of conducting complex measures connected with the environmental rehabilitation of Chelyabinsk Region and social support for residents of the contaminated territories. He also expressed his indignation that the Ministry of Atomic Energy of Russia and its department - the Mayak plant – had not been made liable for the radiation damage inflicted on the residents of Chelyabinsk Region for the past 50 years. “The situation is absurd: the Ministry of Nuclear Power can find the resources to build new nuclear power plants, but feigns poverty when referring to the victims of its functioning,” noted Mitrokhin.

Mitrokhin believes that the nuclear power sector requires urgent reforms, stating . “We should insist that the polluter pays in Russia, as is the case everywhere else in the civilized world. If the nuclear power sector was subject to normal economic laws, it would be possible to resolve many social and environmental problems without transforming Russia into an international nuclear waste dump.”

See also:
Activists address Russia's radioactive legacy before disaster's anniversary
Associated Press, By Vladimir Isachenkov, September 27, 2002

YABLOKO Against Nuclear Waste Imports

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