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Sergei Mitrokhin plans to gain access to data on the threat to Russia's ecology posed by the Highly-Enriched Uranium - Low-Enriched Uranium Agreement

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Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Sergei Mitrokhin (YABLOKO faction) forwarded letters to the Minister for Nuclear Power of Russia Alexander Rumyantsev and the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia Alexander Onischenko, demanding that they provide him with data on the degree of potential danger posed by nuclear waste obtained after the recycling of foreign nuclear waste imported into Russia under the Highly-Enriched Uranium - Low-Enriched Uranium Agreement (HEU-LEU Agreement).

"At present in accordance with the HEU-LEU Agreement, Russia imports nuclear waste from the enrichment of natural uranium and transforms it into nuclear fuel," said Mitrokhin. "Many specialists think that this waste, also called "tails", poses a serious potential threat to the health of the personnel of dangerous sites contaminated with radiation and the local population, to say nothing of the environment."

In accordance with data received by YABLOKO from non-governmental experts in the treatment of nuclear materials, the "tails" (uranium hexoftorid) are stored in Russia in the open air, as gas bags. If they enter to the atmosphere, the chemical substance makes hydrofluoric acid, which can inflict serious burns on humans. And the storage space of most of the containers where uranium hexoftorid is preserved is already exhausted.

"Thus Russia gets dozens of tons of exceptionally dangerous foreign waste for eternal storage," said Mitrokhin. "We have accumulated our own nuclear "tails" during the years developing the nuclear complex. I am going to find out how much the Ministry for Atomic energy can control its reserves."

According to Mitrokhin, leakage of uranium hexaftroid into the atmosphere is possible due not only to the natural destruction of containers, but also terrorist acts. "During my inspection trips I faced many times the problem of the dilapidation of the systems for physical protection of Nuclear Power facilities," said Mitrokhin. - "And the efforts undertaken to achieve this modernization are clearly insufficient."

Mitrokhin is going to find out whether imports of nuclear "tails" conform with effective Russian legislation and are economically justified. "There is a feeling that radioactive and chemically dangerous waste has been imported," noted Mitrokhin. "As our foreign partners do not pay, the problem of utilization of the waste is shifted to the next generations of Russian citizens."

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Yabloko for Nuclear Safety
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