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[cdn-nucl-l] Russian Nuclear Power Plant Blames Media, Greens for Meltdown Scare
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 1:42 PM
Subject: [MbrExchange] EnLG 2004nov11 Russian Nuclear Power Plant Blames
Media, Greens for Meltdown Scare
Nuclear Power Plant Blames Media, Greens for Meltdown Scare
The Balakovsky nuclear power plant has accused the media and environmental
activists of spreading rumors about a meltdown at the plant over the
A malfunction at the plant led to a shutdown last Thursday, after a safety
mechanism effectively reacted to a pipe leak. The incident sparked rumors of
a disaster, and panic spread over central Russia's Saratov region, with
people taking iodine which they thought would fight the effects of
Several people were hospitalized after taking too much iodine.
"Several online news sources only helped the situation escalate by publicly
doubting official statements denying reports of a disaster," the Russian
Information Agency Novosti reported, citing a statement from the nuclear
plant's press office.
The statement also accused environmental activists of contributing to the
hysteria by suggesting people take iodine.
On Tuesday regional prosecutors launched a criminal case, seeking to
persecute whoever was responsible for spreading the rumors.
The nuclear plant said that Greenpeace called the panic a provocation only
after the reports of a criminal case, implying the environmental group was
somehow fearing prosecution.
EnLG 2004nov6 Panic widespread, but Balakovo Russian nuclear reactor
Russian nuclear reactor restarted after shutdown caused panic
Colorado Channel 9 News 11/6/2004 9:12 AM MST
(((AP Story used widely, both Newspapers and TV)))
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian officials on Saturday restarted a nuclear reactor that
sparked widespread panic in southern Russia when it automatically shut down
earlier this week.
After the shutdown, rumors immediately spread that there had been a major
accident. Officals insisted there had been no radiation leakage from reactor
No. 2 at the Balakovo nuclear power plant in the Saratov region.
The reactor, which was shut down Thursday because of a turbine malfunction,
was restarted at 3:40 a.m. Saturday and was running normally, Russia's
Rosenergoatom Company said.
Hundreds of residents fled homes near the reactor, dozens of businesses
temporarily shut down and pharmacy's sold out of iodine, Russia's Kommersant
newspaper reported. Iodine can block absorption of radiation by shutting
down the thyroid gland.
"The whole city lost their heads," Anna Vinogradova, head of Balakovo's
Department of Environmental Protection, told Kommersant. "All the telephone
lines were busy. People were telling each other to drink vodka, take iodine
and no matter what not to use public water."
Sergei Kiriyenko, President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Volga region, made
a quick visit late Friday to the region, 560 miles southeast of Moscow, to
try to calm fears. He inspected all four reactors at the power plant,
including No. 2, Russian media reported.
"I am confident that there is no threat to people in Balakova, the Saratov
region and moreover in neighboring regions," Kiriyenko said on Russian state
The former Soviet Union was the site of the world's worst nuclear accident
when a reactor at the Chernobyl atomic plant in Ukraine exploded in April
1986. Families of station workers in the nearly company town were not
informed about the accident for days and so couldn't take any precautions.
Today the region where the fallout settled has high rates of thyroid cancer,
an illness that can be caused by exposure to radiation.
Chernobyl was closed in 2000. Russia has 10 nuclear power plants with a
total of 30 nuclear reactors.