According to ecologists, about 700,000 tons of uranium hexafluoride have been accumulated in Russia. It is a byproduct of uranium enrichment that appears during the production of fuel at nuclear power plants. Today Russia is the only country which accepts this compound.
Activists of the ecological movements Bellona and Ecodefense organized an action of protest in the center of St. Petersburg against the import of 2,000 tons of uranium hexafluoride from Germany and Holland. The train with radioactive waste on board was put on a platform on the outskirts of St. Petersburg near the residential area. St. Petersburg ecologists managed to measure the radioactive background near the container. The radiation level exceeded the norm 30 times.
If Russia continues to accept radioactive wastes in the future, many Russians will have to buy radioactivity indicators. Radiation can accumulate in a human organism and trigger the development of cancer, allergies, chronic respiratory tract diseases and so on. Several tons of radioactive foodstuffs are withdrawn from Moscow markets every year.
Also read: Russia turns into nuclear cemetery
Russia receives radioactive cargos not only from Europe, but from the former Soviet republics as well. Cargoes of construction materials, metal products, wood, ores and concoctions are often detained at Russian borders due to high level of their radioactivity. The statistics from the Federal Customs Service shows that in 2006 they found out 480 cases of illegal imports of radioactive goods and about 1000 similar cases in 2007. But only 70 percent of customs are provided with necessary equipment and facilities for radiation survey.
Metal products that are widely used in construction, as well as housing and public utilities require more careful control. Russia’s Surgeon General Gennady Onishenko made a particular mentioning of that in 2007 and ordered to thoroughly examine check fittings, beams, tubes and beam channels for radioactivity. If radioactive tubes are used in construction of buildings or water supply networks, it may cause irreparable damage to people.
Translated by Julia Bulygina
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