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. Russian Nuclear Plant Chief Prosecuted For Waste Dumping In River

The poisoned Techa River. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Mar 28, 2006
The head of Russia's main nuclear fuel processing centre is being prosecuted for allegedly dumping atomic waste in a local river, the daily Gazeta reported Monday.

Vitaly Sadovnikov, the boss of the Mayak plant in the Urals region of Chelyabinsk, is accused of violating environmental regulations by allowing the dumping of tens of millions of cubic metres of waste in the Techa river basin between 2001 and 2004.

Quoting local prosecutors, the paper said the level of radioactivity in the river had reached dangerous levels.

Sadovnikov, a member of the local parliament, had been deprived of his parliamentary immunity and dismissed from his post last month after being charged, the report said.

He was now under house arrest and a court would soon be dealing with his case.

Last November regional prosecutor Andrey Potapov alleged that the Mayak plant was pouring nearly 10 million cubic metres (353 million cubic feet) of contaminated water into the Techa every year.

In 1957 the same plant caused one of the biggest nuclear disasters in the Soviet Union when an accidental discharge of contaminated effluent affected 260,000 people and forced several towns and villages to be evacuated.

Built in 1948, Mayak can process some 400 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel every year, from Russia's atomic submarine fleet, and Soviet-designed domestic and foreign power stations.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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