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Second Russian nuclear facility threatened by fires

Russian soldiers drive an armoured vehicle the burnt out forest near Voronezh on August 4, 2010. Explosive and radioactive materials have been removed from Russia's top secret nuclear research facility due to wildfires raging in the region, the Russian nuclear agency chief said. Photo courtesy AFP.

France offers plane, staff to fight Russia fires
Paris (AFP) Aug 8, 2010 - France offered to send 120 firefighting personnel and a plane to drop water on the wildfires that have sparked a crisis in Russia, the French presidency said on Sunday. The offer to Russian authorities also included 37 other vehicles and pumps to help fight the blazes, it said in a statement. "France, while keeping the necessary (firefighting) capacities on its national territory, thus expresses its full solidarity with Russia and the Russian people in the terrible ordeal they are facing," it said.

The foreign ministry later added three French firefighting experts would leave for Russia late on Sunday, with 30,000 anti-smoke masks also to go on their flight. The wildfires have killed 52 people, destroyed villages and covered Moscow with a choking smog which has also delayed flights. Authorities said the blazes were still spreading in central Russia, with the country's worst heatwave in decades expected to continue.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Aug 8, 2010
Russia's emergency response minister ordered firefighters to redouble their efforts Sunday to put out a wildfire threatening one of the country's nuclear research facilities in the Urals.

"As for Snezhinsk, I recommend you work through the night," Sergei Shoigu said during a meeting with officials from regions hit by the blazes.

Snezhinsk, located some 1,500 kilometres (925 miles) east of Moscow, is home to one of Russia's centres for its nuclear research programme.

"You have only seven hectares left, that's not a big area and I hope you can put out that fire," said the minister.

Russia's other major nuclear centre at Sarov in the Nizhny Novgorod region has also been threatened by blazes, but Shoigu said Sunday at the meeting that all of the wildfires around the city had been put out.

After stating several times that the wildfires pose no threat to the nuclear facilities, Russian authorities announced they had removed all radioactive and explosive materials from the site.

The fires which have been blazing as western Russia suffers through a scorching heatwave have killed 52 people.

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Russia: Fears of nuke smog as fires rage
Moscow (UPI) Aug 6, 2010
Moscow was shrouded in smoke Friday as authorities warned of a possible radioactive cloud that could form if the wildfires raging in Russia spread to an area contaminated by the Chernobyl accident. The images emerging from Moscow Friday look like they were taken from a doomsday movie: A giant smoke cloud has made the landmarks including the Kremlin disappear, with the few commuters who ... read more

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