Saturday, April 20, 2024

Flooding in Russia Threatens to Spread Russian Radioactive Waste into Arctic, Nikitin Warns

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 15 – Aleksandr Nikitin, an environmental expert at Norway’s Bellona Foundation who attracted international attention with his warnings about Soviet disposal of nuclear waste in the Arctic, now says flooding in Siberia may lead to the spread of radioactive waste from storage dumps near Tomsk into Russian rivers and ultimately into the Arctic Ocean.

            Flooding has hit the area around Tomsk, including the sites where Moscow produced weapons’ grade plutonium and then disposed of much of it; and according to Nikitin, there is no evidence that the Russian authorities have these sites under control or are even monitoring them (

            The dump sites are, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, likely the largest in Russia (, and the Bellona expert says that it is both surprising and worrisome that Russian officials haven’t even made “simple statements like we have everything under control.”

            That strongly suggests that the enormous amount of nuclear waste will leak into the rivers and ultimately into the Arctic Ocean, Nikitin says. “Putin doesn’t care a fig about floods and the shitty lives of people in Russia” or about others he may harm. He is fighting a war and Rosatom, which oversees these dumps, is one of his favorites.

            And that Russian government agency is following the simple logic that, in Nikitin’s words, “if you say that everything is under control and then something happens, you will have to answer for it.” But if you say nothing, then there is all too great a chance that something will and so Rosatom wants to ensure that it will escape responsibility.


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