A Warm Welcome For Nuclear Waste

The authorities have refused to sanction a demonstration against the import of radioactive waste.

On October 9th, St. Petersburg authorities responded with rejection to a notification given by members of the “Ekozaschita” (literally, Eco-Protection) activist group, as well as other environmental-activists. The notice informed officials of an October 11th protest against the import of spent nuclear fuel into the Russian Federation.

Organizers have reiterated in a press-release that they plan to hold the demonstration anyway, as the prohibition is actually unlawful.

The co-chairman of “Ekozaschita,” Vladimir Slivyak, elaborated:

“From Monday to Thursday is the three day period, which is required by law to give notice of a planned protest. Nonetheless, the officials have decided that the notice isn’t far enough in advance, and have refused us, even though by law, their permission isn’t even required. In Russia, the procedure for registering a demonstration is one of notifying the state, and not one of obtaining permission. Hence, a protest cannot be prohibited.

“We believe, that the actions of the bureaucracy are illegal, and are targeted to prevent any kind of demonstrations at the time when the the ship, carrying radioactive waste byproducts, arrives into Russia.”

The waste originated in a German uranium enriching facility in the Gronau region, which belongs to Urenco Deutschland Gmbh. On October 4th, a train left the plant with radioactive and toxic waste, intended for the Russian company of Techsnabexport. It carried around 1000 tons, in 19 wagons.

In the Dutch port of Rotterdam on October 5th, the containers were loaded onto the Doggersbank, a vessel bound for the port of St. Petersburg. The end destination of the toxic waste in the city of Novouralsk, in the Sverdlovsk oblast, and the Ural eletro-chemical compound.

UPDATE, October 12:

Police have shut down the picket, and 10 activists have been detained. Read complete coverage from the St. Petersburg Times.