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Vedomosti, July 31, 2002

Yavlinsky Conceives Split of the Ministry of Nuclear Power

by Zoya Kaika and Elena Evstigneeva

The YABLOKO faction, conducting a campaign against the import of spent nuclear fuel into Russia, found a radical way to resolve this problem. YABLOKO proposed that President Vladimir Putin virtually disband the Ministry of Nuclear Power, distributing its proxies between the Energy Ministry, Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Industry. However, this idea has no backers in the Presidential Administration or Government.

The analytical note handed over by the leader of YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky to President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the middle of July contained a sentence on the Ministry of Nuclear Power. A top official source in the Presidential Administration in a conversation with Vedomosti confirmed that such a meeting took place. Yavlinsky submitted the documents with arguments against nuclear waste imports into Russia. YABLOKO is the main critic of the laws allowing nuclear waste imports into Russia (they were adopted on the initiative of the Ministry of Nuclear Power last year). YABLOKO states that Russia does not have the requisite infrastructure to recycle and preserve nuclear waste. And the costs of creating such an infrastructure, according to YABLOKO, will exceed the profits from nuclear waste imports that have been estimated by the Ministry of Nuclear Power at over USD 20 billion within the next ten years.

Therefore YABLOKO's analytical note indicated that the ministry pushing through such unprepared projects as nuclear waste imports should be subject to serious reform.

According to the reform plan of the Ministry submitted by Yavlinsky, it would transpire that the Ministry of Nuclear Power would disappear. YABLOKO proposed a transfer of all the departments of the ministry engaged in the nuclear fuel cycle to the Ministry of Industry and Science, the nuclear defence complex to the Defence Ministry and Rosenergoatom concern (it includes all the Russian nuclear power stations) could, according to YABLOKO, be transferred to the Energy Ministry. YABLOKO did not officially confirm or refute this information for Vedomosti. However, deputy of the YABLOKO faction, Sergei Mitrokhin, who is preoccupied by this problem, said that in his opinion control over the nuclear fuel cycle and all military programmes should be wrested from the control of the Ministry of Nuclear Power.

"Due to the military programmes the Ministry of Atomic Energy is an extremely closed department, and at the same time is fully engaged in commercial activities in the most opaque and non-market variants," noted Mitrokhin.

The Ministry of Nuclear Power refused to issue an official comment on YABLOKO's idea. However, a source in the Ministry told Vedomosti that the ministry would issue its written answer to deputy proposals by 1 August 2002.

However, is unlikely that there are any threats for the Ministry of Nuclear Power. Our interlocutor in the Presidential Administration told Vedomosti that any grand-scale disbanding of the ministry is out of the question. "We shall be more careful when determining the managerial and economic functions of the ministry," he noted. Similarly the Government was not enthusiastic about the idea. In the Energy Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Science which had, according to YABLOKO, to get the proxies of the Ministry of Nuclear Power, Vedomosti was also told that they did not hear about such changes at all.

In the Ministry of Economy and Development, which participates in such reforms, Vedomosti was also told that the government had still not considered the proposals on restructuring the nuclear power ministry. "There is no speech yet about any plans to reform the Ministry of Nculear Power," Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrei Sharonov told Vedomosti.

See also:
YABLOKO Against Nuclear Waste Imports

Vedomosti, July 31, 2002

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