. Earth Science News .

Lithuania vexed by Leningrad nuke mishap
by Staff Writers
Vilnius, Lithuania (UPI) Aug 24, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

A construction accident at a next-generation prototype Russian nuclear power plant is alarming and shows a lack of transparency, Lithuanian officials say.

Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis said this week at a conference in Estonia that Russian nuclear power projects near his country are being carried out in secrecy and serious red flags about their safety have emerged.

Speaking at an event marking the 20th anniversary of Estonia's independence from Moscow, Azubalis said a July incident during the construction of the Leningrad-2 nuclear power plant showed that the design of a new generation of Russian of water-cooled, water-moderated reactors is dangerously flawed.

Lithuania, he said, was dismayed by "the non-compliance with international safety requirements at the nuclear power plants that are planned for construction in Lithuania's neighborhood," pointing to a July 17 incident in which construction was halted on the Leningrad-2 project.

The Russian nuclear energy company Rosenergoatom said the mishap occurred when construction crews were pouring the concrete for the outer protective shell of Unit 1 at the site about 50 miles west of St. Petersburg on the shores of the Gulf of Finland.

Shortly after the concrete was placed, the reinforcement cage began deforming about 26 feet above the ground, resulting in what officials said would be commissioning delay of several weeks, Itar-TASS reported.

Rosenergoatom said no "machine or mechanism was damaged" and blamed the accident on "a breach of construction technology by the subcontractor."

Russian officials said the incident didn't reflect on the safety or design integrity of the VVER-1200 water-cooler reactor, which is the cornerstone of the country's ambitious nuclear power expansion program.

Six such new reactors are planned around the country, including four at Leningrad, Kaliningrad and Udomlya, Russia -- which Vilnius considers is in its "neighborhood."

"Reactors of this type have four independent safety systems," Rosenergoatom Deputy Director General Sergei Boyarkin told the news agency. "They will be complemented with another two in this project. The probability of an accident is estimated as one per 10 million years."

The VVER series includes two 5-foot-thick concrete containment vessels around the reactor, which, he said, "can withstand even a plane crash. Therefore a release of radiation into the environment will be ruled out."

But such assurances haven't persuaded Lithuania.

Political director of Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Eitvydas Bajarunas said during a meeting with British Energy Security Envoy Adm. Neil Morisetti last week his country remained concerned with the "non-transparent ... realization of projects of nuclear power plants" in Russia and Belarus.

Bajarunas told Morisetti the Leningrad construction accident was discussed and both agreed "this is really worrisome because similar reactors are to be built near Lithuania," the Latvian online business publication Baltic Course reported.

Earlier this month Azubalis complained to Kaliningrad officials that residents of the Russian enclave weren't being allowed to vote on the building of the new nuclear plant there.

He said the lack of public consultation violates the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment, to which Russia is a signatory, The Moscow Times reported.

Lithuania is striving for energy security and independence from Moscow and is seeking to replace its own shuttered Ignalina power plant, which when it closed in 2009 was supplying most of the country electricity demand.

It sees the key issue it faces as moving ahead with such strategic energy projects meant to bring the Baltic region out from the energy isolation.

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Fukushima contaminating China's seas?
Beijing (UPI) Aug 16, 2011
Chinese sea waters are at risk of being contaminated by radioactive effluents from Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake, China's ocean watchdog warned. China will increase monitoring for radioactive substances in the waters off Fukushima and in the East China Sea, with the aim of forecasting possible effects on the environment and the safe ... read more

Facebook-Twitter to face riot-spooked British officials

Ex-Japanese foreign minister eyes top job

Lithuania vexed by Leningrad nuke mishap

NIST tests help ensure reliable wireless alarm beacons for first responders

Melanin's 'trick' for maintaining radioprotection studied

Fukushima caesium leaks 'equal 168 Hiroshimas'

Dutch judge slaps ban on Samsung smartphones

Antennas in your clothes? New design could pave the way

Growing energy demand adds stress to water supply

Australia's Coral Sea 'biodiversity hotspot': study

Water Week starts with calls for better urban water

Office of Naval Research taking on challenges of unmanned underwater vehicles

Research Vessel Polarstern at North Pole

Newly discovered Icelandic current could change climate picture

Denmark moves forward on North Pole claim

UCI researchers chart long-shrouded glacial reaches of Antarctica

Breeding Ozone-Tolerant Crops

Pastoralism offer best hope for combating African dryland droughts

Radical overhaul of farming could be 'game-changer' for global food security

Summer Drought limits the positive effects of CO2 and heat on plant growth in future climate

'Dangerous' Irene lashes Bahamas, aims at US coast

Washington assesses damage from rare east coast quake

Hurricane Irene pounds Bahamas, aims at US coast

Powerful quake rattles remote area of Peru

Guinea-Bissau says military reform requires funding

Mystery fire fuels Zimbabwe power struggle

Top Zimbabwe military officer killed in blaze

Zimbabwe powerbroker, ex-defence chief Mujuru dies in blaze

A New Nuance to Neurons

Study: Human ancestors early seafarers

Narcissism may benefit the young, researchers report; but older adults? Not so much

Study: Some are born with math ability

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement