Recently laws allowing for the imports of spent nuclear fuel
into Russia have come into force. A large number of propagandist
publications explaining its importance for the development of
science and industry in Russia emerged at once. The Yabloko faction
which voted against these laws consider them doubtful economically
and dangerous ecologically. Imagine that something has gone wrong
with a rubbish chute in your house, but that you decide to make
money on this by proposing that your neighbours bring their waste
into your flat. Think about the reaction of your neighbours after
such a business proposal. However, such a decision was adopted
by the Russian authorities. The only difference is that they want
to make money on the storage of nuclear waste, rather than simply
waste. In other words, Russia offered other countries to make
use of a “clean” part of the nuclear energy, and took up all the
trouble about the “dirty” and most dangerous part of the nuclear
cycle. For money, of course.
What money are we talking about? The financial feasibility study
of the project raises many questions. The magic figure of USD20
bln is simply a myth. It is grounded on the assumption that “nuclear”
countries will bring their nuclear waste to us shouting “hurrah!”
But they have already made it clear that they question the ability
of our nuclear complex to ensure the safety of transportation,
storage and recycling of nuclear waste. Recently, in a referendum
Finland decided to bury nuclear waste in its territory, afraid
of transporting them throughout Russia’s regions bordering Finland.
So Russia may attract clients only by considerably lowering the
prices of such services. Therefore the mythical USD 20 bln are
vanishing at once.
This raises the suspicion that the real earnings from nuclear
waste [imports] will be insufficient not only for ecological programmes,
but even for building depositories and creating recycling production
bases. This means that if the waste arrives, there will be no
place or money to store and recycle it.
The condition of roads used to transports the waste is a separate
problem. An act of a terrorists on any part of such a route might
lead to consequences comparable with Chernobyl. Can we rule out
this option, given that the time frame for this project is 40
According to opinion polls, at least 75% of the citizens of
Russia disagree with the decision to import nuclear waste. Now
our opponents would like to persuade the people that a decision
adopted without considering the opinion of the majority of citizens
We favour continuing the discussion and further decision-making
regardingthe results of this discussion. Today the only way out
is provided holding a broad discussion on the problem of imports
of nuclear waste, which should culminate in a nation-wide referendum.
In the short term Yabloko will begin an official collection of
signatures in favour of such a referendum.
The nuclear lobby states that decisions on such issues cannot
be taken by the people, this may only be decided by the “experts”,
and under “experts”: they mean themselves. We think that this
position is insulting to our people. In Finland the same problem
was taken to referendum. Are the Finnish people smarter than Russians?
Certainly, not. Simply Finnish politicians have more respect for
the people. Surely this is the main test for the states as to
how civilised they are?
A referendum is the last chance to make our bureaucrats and
deputies [of parliament] listen to the opinion of the Russian
citizens on a problem that has a direct impact on their future.
waste bill section of the web-site