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The State Duma refused to investigate the deal on imports of spent nuclear fuel from Bulgaria

Press realease

On January 16, 2002, the State Duma refused to forward a parliamentary inquiry to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on observation of the law to import 71 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from Bulgaria to the processing plant in Zheleznogorsk, Russia.

 The initiators of the inquiry, deputies from the Yabloko faction Igor Artemyev and Sergei Mitrokhin, proposed that the deputies ask the Prime Minister whether the provisions of the Russian law on mandatory state ecological expertise had been observed during the deal in November 2001.

 Yabloko's deputies were also asking for explanations as to where the funds paid under the contract would accumulate (in the bank accounts of which companies), what amount of funds would be received from this deal, how these funds would be distributed and spent and why, in breach of Russian law the state budget for 2002 does not stipulate the formation of a special budget fund to perform state control over the use of nuclear energy.

 The authors of the deputies' inquiry also asked why the costs of services on handling spent nuclear fuel were understated in this contract, amounting to USD620 per kg of the heavy metal; whereas, according to the Ministry for Nuclear Energy data, often cited when pushing through the laws allowing for the imports of nuclear waste into Russia, these services cost $1,000 on the world market.

 According to Yabloko's deputies, a whole range of components of this batch of radioactive substances was also imported into Russia in breach of Russian law.

 Submitting a draft inquiry to the Duma, Igor Artemyev noted that it was unclear from the contract whether this batch had been imported for recycling or burial which also contradicts bilateral Russian-Bulgarian agreements. "We presume, said Artemyev, - that control over such deals should be extremely tough, as the danger to the population's health from some unexpected consequences of such operations is great."

 "This deal offers considerable potential for corruption," noted Artemyev to journalists after voting in the  State Duma on this inquiry. "The operation was performed with obvious violations of Russian laws and endangers the safety of the citizens of Russia," he said. "The health of our citizens should obviously be more important than making money through our energy sector workers," stressed the deputy.

 In response to a question from journalists Igor Artemyev stated that Yabloko had documentary confirmation of the violations obtained from the control bodies, in particular State Control Body over Nuclear Energy. "But the Ministry for Nuclear Energy does not pay attention to federal laws, the decisions of control bodies and inquiries and continues its business of making money," noted Artemyev.

  Only 48 Duma deputies voted to forward the inquiry to Prime Minister Kasyanov (required minimum of 226 votes).

Voting results by factions

on forwarding a parliamentary inquiry to Prime Minister Kasyanov "On the Imports to the RF of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Bulgaria"
Factions Votes,%
Communist Party 0%
0 out of 84
"Unity" 0%
0 out of 82
"People's deputy" 3.51%
2 out of 57
"Fatherland - All Russia" 4%
2 out of 50
Union of the Right-Wing Forces 71.88%
23 out of 32
"Yabloko" 100%
17 out of 17
"Russia's Regions" 4.26%
2 out of 47
0 out of 12
Agro-Industrial group 0%
0 out of 43
Independent deputies 9.52%
2 out of 21

 Igor Artemyev also informed journalists that the inquiry would still be sent to Prime Minister, but this time not from the whole of the State Duma, but from the deputies of the Yabloko faction. "We expect an objective investigation of this deal," concluded Artemyev.

See also:

Nuclear Waste Bill

Roll-call for forwarding an inquiry to Prime Minister Kasyanov "On the Imports of Spent Nuclear Fuel to the Russian Federation from Bulgaria", January 16, 2002

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