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Russia – the threat under Moscow

Russia – the threat under Moscow

There is a potential radiological threat to Moscow in the form of a time bomb under the Russian capital, writes Finn Iltalithy.

Experts' fear is not of a nuclear attack, but of underground pipelines extending to a million cities.

According to the Moscow Times, authorities in the capital are planning to start new construction projects in the Shukino district, northwest of the city.

Commercial buildings, residential buildings, a school and a nursery are planned.

The problem is that under the planned buildings there are pipelines carrying nuclear waste.

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– Huge mix

Now both residents and experts fear that large-scale construction could damage the pipeline, thus releasing radioactive waste into the environment.

The inner surface of the old pipes contains centimeter-thick deposits of radioactive salts. It is a huge mixture of several different radioactive isotopes, says nuclear physicist Andrei Ozarovsky. He adds:

– If a pipe is damaged, it can lead to a leak causing local contamination.

According to the Moscow Times, in the 1940s the Shukino region was the cradle of Russia's nuclear industry.

Research conducted in the area was pivotal in the development of the then Soviet Union's first atomic bomb.

Among other things, the Kurchatov Institute, known as the leading Russian institution in the field of research and development in the field of nuclear energy, has for decades produced a large amount of nuclear waste.

The nuclear waste was transported to a treatment plant in Moscow via pipelines, about which concerns have now been raised.

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According to Ozarovsky, the Russian authorities hide a large part of the activities in the region, and therefore there is no accurate information about the amount of radioactive materials or the potential damage of a possible accident.

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The expert believes that the worst-case scenario would involve nuclear waste leaking from the pipes in liquid form into the ground and eventually ending up in the Moskva River.

– This would cause a radioactive contaminated area that would have to be isolated, he says.

Ozarovsky is not alone in his concerns.

According to the Moscow Times, Vladimir Mordashov, a leading expert at the Kurchatov Institute, warned of the same earlier in April.

The first plan is to demolish a large garage in the area, which, according to Mordashov, is a “cemetery for long-lived radioactive nuclear waste.”

-The radiation levels there are so high that it is not safe to build anything there. The only option for this area is to fill the entire site with soil and plants, he told the Moscow City Council.

Politicians at the federal level also see danger in this situation.

Denis Parfenov, a Duma activist, claims that local authorities in Moscow are putting the interests of the construction industry ahead of the interests of local residents.

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Suspicions of corruption

The Moscow Times newspaper notes that under the reign of city mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow pumped huge sums of money into various construction projects.

This has raised criticism and suspicions about possible corruption. Local authorities in Moscow did not respond to The Moscow Times' request for comment.

Ozarovsky fears that the authorities will cover up the whole matter, which will only increase the risk of accidents.

– There is radioactive waste there. This could lead to problems both now and in the future.

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