By Paul Goble
Residents in many regions are protesting against Moscow’s disposal of nuclear wastes where they live (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/07/environmental-protests-in-russia.html). Now, the same thing may be about to occur in the Russian capital where Greenpeace activists and local deputies have discovered a serious problem.
Rashid Alimov, an activist for Greenpeace Russia, and Sergey Vlasov, a city deputy, are calling attention to the fact that the government plans to build a new highway directly above a place where officials admit there are still tens of thousands of tons of radioactive wastes (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/07/13/81228-esli-kopnut-poglubzhe).
The project, to develop the southeast “chord” of the highway network is slated to pass over territory where a plant has been dumping radioactive wastes since the 1930s. Small amounts of these wastes have been removed as a result of concerns about workers there over the last 20 years, but now the full extent of the problem is becoming obvious.
Construction could throw particles of this waste into the atmosphere or water supply and cause serious health problems. But at present there are no plans to move the road or engage in a serious clean up because the costs of doing either are too high and the demands for the relief of Moscow’s traffic problems too great.
Moscow officials have refused permits for 12 demonstrations against the project, but pressure appears to be growing to do something. The issue has passed from opposition media like Novaya gazeta to popular outlets like Moskvich (moskvichmag.ru/grinpis-obnaruzhil-v-grunte-na-beregu-moskvy-reki-ekstremalnyj-radiatsionnyj-fon/).