Saturday, December 22, 2018

Will Russian Developers Be Able to Force the Kurchatov Institute to Shut Down?

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 21 – A dangerous and absurd situation has arisen in Moscow: in pursuit of profit, Russian developers are ignoring the interests of the state and the security of those who may purchase the apartments in new buildings they plan for adjacent to the Kurchatov Institute, Russia’s oldest nuclear institute and one with seven reactors still operating.

            And these developers, working hand in glove with local and federal officials, have even suggested that the institute be closed so that they can go ahead with their plans, local activists say (

            Pro-construction officials at a meeting earlier this week called on the Kurchatov to carry out inspections to ensure that it is sufficiently safe for the residents of the proposed high-rise buildings.  Mikhail Moryev, a Rostekhnadzor inspector, said that “if it doesn’t satisfy us, the Kurchatov Institute will be compelled to stop its activities.”

               Academician Yevgeny Velikhov, the honorary president of the Kurchatov which recently marked its 75th anniversary, said that officials shouldn’t be focusing on his institute but on the mistake of allowing developers to throw up housing which “completely ignores the threats which exist in being next to such a complex, strategically important object.”

            Nearby residents also object: the new buildings will make the defense of the institute against terrorist attacks far more difficult and thus “lower the anti-terrorist defense capability of Moscow.”  Moreover, shutting down even for a time the institute would undermine Russia’s national security.

            Liliya Kadashova of the Activata portal says that “it is sad that in Moscow in recent years the interests of the construction business in the capital have become more important than the strategic interests of the state in science and the security of people living there.”  That must be fought.

            Unfortunately, at present, it looks as if the developers may be winning this battle.

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