Is Moscow About To Follow Regions With Protests About Disposal Of Radioactive Wastes? – OpEd


Residents in many regions are protesting against Moscow’s disposal of nuclear wastes where they live ( 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 (

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 (

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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