False nuclear alarm in Baltics

  • 2002-12-12

Announcement of plans to build a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad Oblast were hotly denied by Russian authorities last week.

Nikolai Shingarev, Min-atom's director for information policy denied the statement of the Kaliningrad environmental group Eko-Zashchita (Eco-Protection) on the alleged planned construction of a floating nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad.

Ekozashita's statements are "complete foolishness," said Shingarev.

The project for constructing a floating nuclear power plant was adopted by Minister for Nuclear Energy Alexander Rumyancev, Shingarev admitted, but it envisages the construction of such a power plant in Severodvinsk in northern Russia.

The plant, the first of its kind in the world, should be completed by 2008.

Eko-Zashchita earlier issued a press release protesting against the idea of a floating nuclear power plants.

Vladimir Sliviak, one of the leaders of Eko-Zashchita said that "construction of a floating nuclear power plant will lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons, a bigger threat of international terrorism and will pose danger to Russia's nature and residents".

The ecologists said that Russia's minister for nuclear energy had approved the project of a transportable floating nuclear power plant, with Kaliningrad being chosen a possible construction site for the first unit. The project was prepared by the concern Rosenergoatom.

Shingarev said that there were ideas to build a nuclear plant in Kaliningrad, but that more detailed plans will be prepared only after regional authorities express their wish to have such a facility in the region.

Oleg Bocharev, deputy chairman of the regional energy committee, said there was no necessity in constructing a floating nuclear power plant in the exclave region.

"The need to construct a nuclear power plant was not discussed at any level. In the territory of Kaliningrad currently one thermal power unit is under construction. It is an energy source included in the federal program [for Kaliningrad Oblast]," Bocharov said.