Metal smelting plant was taken at its word
On July 31st, St Petersburg's Court of Arbitration will be again considering the suit filed by the authorities of Sosnovy Bor against Ekomet-S.
At the previous arbitration session, which was the second, Sosnovy Bor authorities withdrew one of their suits.
The radioactive metal smelting plant Ekomet-S is situated on the premises of the Leningrad Nuclear Power plant (LAES), only few hundred meters away from the shore of the Baltic Sea shore and four kilometres from Sosnovy Bor's 60,000 inhabitants. The closed nuclear town itself is located 80km from St Petersburg.
The plant was built secretly and without an environmental impact study, which is required by Russian legislation.
The facility, which is devoted to the smelting and decontamination of radioactive metals for resale on the open market, was built by the Ministry for Nuclear Energy — the notorious Minatom — and fissile fuel monopolists hoping to cash in on the smelting of radioactive metal waste from nuclear power plants across Russia. Gazprom-bank invested $10m in the project.
The very fact that a private plant is located at the territory of the state-run LAES may be considered a violation of the current legislation. In late 2001, a group of LAES security guards published an open letter in which they claimed that since the opening of the smelting plant, they had been exposed to radiation. Their contracts, they noted, had not stipulated they would be working in conditions that exposed them to radiation hazards.............