Ashes as a Source of Harm

Environmental threat could come not from where it was expected after Chernobyl catastrophe. The question is that today, at the end of winter, this is not huge nuclear productions of the “nuclear” city of Severodvinsk and not its rusting submarines with nuclear fuel, which is the most dangerous thing. For, according to the Severny Rabochy newspaper, the military dockyards of the city now produce only about 3 percent of its pollution. The main polluter is the Heat Power Plant-1, which works on coal from the city of Inta. This winter is very snowy, so in spring, flood is expected in Russian Coastal Region. And with water, huge dirt masses will flow out from ash damp. The dirty water would get to North Dvina River, and then to White Sea.

This unique deposit is situated in the city. There is tin, bismuth, palladium, lead. There is a lot of silver: approximately about 400 tons. The radiation level makes 60 microroentgen an hour, which is several times more than the normal one. The deposit, whose square makes over 20 hectares, is not of natural origin, but created by people. Its height makes 9 metres. It is indeed “Man-caused Biochemical Province.”

The ash damp is almost full, and it will work at longest till next year. Then, there will be simply no place to pour out ashes. While over the citizens’ heads, 17 thousand tons of dirt coming out of the heat power plant tubes will fall. Within the time the plant exist, in the ash damp and the Yuzhny open pit (which is already closed), about 8 million tons of the heat-power production rests accumulated. While in the ash damp, at least 200 thousand tons are added every year. And there is no money to build a new line of the damp. About 110 million rubles (approximately $ 3,700,000) are necessary for this work. Though, there is a source. The question is that the heat power plant owes 50 million rubles the regional environmental fund, i.e. the nature.

But, in my view, the power plant cannot be accused of this debt. The question is that last June, the Supreme Court allowed a suit of Kola Nuclear Power Station, which had not agreed to pay environmental payments. Therefore, a precedent was created, and other power plants could refuse from paying to environmental organisations.

Environmental Ministry sent warning letters to power producers, demanding payment for use of nature, though for nothing. But last December, Russian Constitutional Court corrected the Supreme Court mistake and insisted on necessity to pay. This is the reason, why some power plants have debts before environmental organisations.

Though, while Themis attempted to reach justice, Severodvinsk section of the regional environmental fund was closed (there was no money to keep it). Now, Severodvinsk plants and factories (there are over 50 of them) have to sent their representatives to the city of Arkhangelsk to pay their debts to “nature,” so they do not hasten to pay, while the half-a-year debts are forgotten at all.

The Severodvinsk chief state inspector on environment, Yury Dyachenko hopes only for Russian Tax Code being changed and a full-value tax being introduced. This would help in solving the Severodvinks environmental issue would be solved.

One of these days, regional law About Preservation of the Environment in Arkhangelsk Region was passed in its first reading, which could help in obtaining some money from the heat power plant. But, as far as there is no more Severodvinsk section of the environmental fund, the only hope is for Severodvinsk deputies’ watchfulness: they must control the means spending.

Andrei Mikhailov Special to PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian:

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