A protest is brewing against the "death factories" in four regions of Russia

A protest is brewing against the "death factories" in four regions of Russia

22 July, 10:24PoliticsPhoto: udm-info.ru
Environmental activists from four regions have united in an interregional committee to oppose the "death factories" in Kambarka, Maradykovsky, Shchuchye and Gorny, where it is planned to bring waste of I and II hazard classes from all over the country.

Federal operator FSUE "FEO" held public hearings, but residents were not heard.

Julia Sytina

In 2019, declared the Year of Ecology, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on the conversion of four former military chemical plants in the Volga region and the Urals into complexes for the disposal of hazardous waste.

Over the past 17 years, about 40 thousand tons of chemical warfare agents have been disposed of in Russia. The elimination of sarin, soman, lewisite and VX gases was carried out at seven landfills: Maradykovsky, Leonidovka, Pochep, Shchuchye, Gorny, Kizner and Kambarka. By decision of the Russian government, all chemical weapons facilities must be redesigned by 2023. Pochep plans to produce medicines, Leonidovka - construction materials, and Kizner - explosives.

The remaining facilities - "Maradykovsky" (Kirov region), "Kambarka" (Udmurtia), "Shchuchye" (Kurgan region) and "Gorny" (Saratov region) were transferred to Rosatom, which acted as a state customer of experimental production and technical processing complexes, utilization and neutralization of chemical waste of I and II hazard classes. The Federal State Unitary Enterprise Federal Ecological Operator (RosRAO) was appointed as the operator.

Tons of toxic waste are planned to be transported to the former military camps from all over the country and, possibly, from abroad. The heads of the "firing squad" regions signed agreements of intent with the state corporation, apparently in exchange for compensation. But the governors have not yet found other, more attractive arguments, except for “attracting big investors to small towns” and “preserving jobs”.

From July 16 to July 20, public hearings were to be held in four regions on the impact of the planned production and technical complexes (PTC) on the environment. The organizer was the operator of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "FEO", and in fact the public hearings turned into polls of stakeholders, told NI in the Interregional Coordination Committee "No death factories!"

- The materials presented to the public, according to the Regulation on EIA (Regulation on the assessment of the impact of planned economic and other activities on the environment in the Russian Federation) should be based on the results of environmental studies and contain an assessment of the possible consequences of the complexes' activities on the environment and the socio-ecological situation, including on public health. The assessment should be carried out taking into account the terms of reference, implementation alternatives, the goals of the enterprise and how to achieve them. In the documentation of the contractor FSUE "FEO" - JSC "State Specialized Design Institute" there is nothing of this.

The builders of the "death factories" are not ready to share complete and reliable information, to provide calculations on the emissions of pollutants, including supertoxicants - dioxins. The document is mainly composed of unfounded statements about the "safety" of the projected software and hardware complex, diluted for the volume with statistical data and extracts from manuals. No real impact assessment has been carried out, activists say.

The coordinating committee emphasizes that the contractor's surveys did not provide detailed data on the planned volumes of waste processing of hazard classes I and II. The materials do not contain information about the type, quantity and concentration of pollutants in the wastewater of industrial and technical complexes. The assessment of the contamination of the territory around the facilities with dioxins and heavy metals and the associated withdrawal of agricultural land from circulation, losses to agricultural producers, damage to the animal world and traditional crafts of the local population has not been given. There is no economic analysis of the damage caused to the environment and public health, the sources of compensation for losses are not indicated. The developers did not bother to assess the scale of population migration from the areas caused by the environmental and economic consequences of the factories.

The placement of hazardous production facilities, which include complexes for the disposal of waste of I and II hazard classes, must be planned in areas with a minimum population density and maximum distance from aquifers, rivers, natural and artificial reservoirs, water intakes for various purposes, as well as agricultural land, which contradicts the choice for these purposes of the objects "Maradykovsky", "Kambarka", "Shchuchye" and "Gorny", environmentalists explain.

"Developers underestimate the danger dioxin contamination of the environment. The assertions that the proposed high-temperature combustion technology completely excludes the secondary formation of dioxins and that the multi-stage gas cleaning system at the UHO allegedly provides high efficiency of cleaning from pollutants in the exhaust gases is not true”, - says Sergey Shishkov, deputy chairman of the Izhevsk Ecological Union public organization. "The existing systems do not allow for complete cleaning of gas and smoke emissions from dioxins, while the most toxic fractions are ultrafine dust, on which a significant part of them settles, spreading over large areas. It was found that dioxins are emitted in excess of the standard in the modes of starting the UTO and "filter bypass". It was because of the dioxin problem that the European Union decided back in 2017 to fundamentally abandon waste incineration technologies".

Emissions of tens and hundreds of tons of hazardous substances per year , both in case of trouble-free operation and in the event of possible accidents, will undoubtedly contribute to the deterioration of the ecological situation, further pollution of the environment, and cannot but have an impact on the growth of morbidity and mortality, the activists sum up their analysis.

In the event of a large-scale accident at the industrial and technical complex, the emission of pollutants will damage the Volga and Miass river basins (it is part of the Ob river system with a tributary of the 4th order, respectively, there is a threat of pollution of the Iset, Tobol, Irtysh rivers in their middle and lower reaches)...

Statement of the Interregional Coordination Committee "No death to factories!" signed by several dozen ecologists, scientists, deputies, politicians, representatives of public organizations and NGOs.

The initiative group requires a full scientific substantiation of the need to build factories and their impact on the environment and public health.

“Until these studies are honestly and openly carried out and confirmed, we demand that we refuse to develop design and working documentation, documentation on EIA for PTK due to the fact that if a decision is made to implement the planned economic activity, the constitutional the rights of residents of Russian regions to a favorable environment, to life and health. The functioning of the complexes will be a deliberate act of environmental genocide against all citizens living in the surrounding territories, ”the resolution says.

The deals between the regional authorities and Rosatom led to massive protests among residents of Udmurtia, Saratov, Kirov and Kurgan regions.

Kambarka is a city with a population of ten thousand, 89 km from the capital of Izhevsk, it is separated from the mainland by two bridges over the Kama and Bui rivers. The town has been famous for its iron-making industries since the 18th century, but today most of the factories are standing or working half-heartedly. The only big "attraction" is the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility (CWDF). The complex was erected on the site of a former chemical weapons arsenal that has been in operation since 1941.

By 2023, according to government plans, a complex for the disposal of chemical weapons with a capacity of up to 50,000 tons of waste per year should appear here. The estimated cost of construction of the plant is 5.117 billion rubles.

The authorities of Udmurtia fully support this "investment project". According to the Prime Minister of the Republican Government Yaroslav Semenov, the complex will save 200 jobs, and all environmental requirements that cause concern among residents will be observed.

Last summer, protests demanding to stop the construction of the "death plant" were held in Kambarka and Izhevsk.

“The authorities tried to blur information about the construction as much as possible,” the organizer of the rally, Dmitry Morozov, said. - At first they were silent, did not say that they were going to build something, they tried to do everything quietly. And then they organized public hearings in Kambarka, at which they pretended that the residents of Kambarka, the public had some kind of voting right, that they had the opportunity to decide the fate of Kambarka and this complex. But when asked if residents would have the opportunity to speak out, when they proposed to hold a referendum and vote, they closed the event. They promised to come to the rally in Kambarka - but did not come. Because they don't care, they just came up with another project. "

Nizhnekamsk, located 20 kilometers from the complex, also opposed the stationing of a chemical waste processing plant in Kambarka. To the 50-thousandth Bashkir city, the wind rose brings vapors and odors of harmful production from this location.

“Whatever technologies are used, they will still poison the environment. The plant in Kambarka is located in the swamps, in the immediate vicinity of the Kama. And the fact that at this place they are trying to build a complex for the disposal of waste of I – II classes is a crime, ”says the representative of the Green Party Tagir Kagarmanov.

In the resolution of the rallies, the participants also put forward political demands.

The only promulgated law does not contain any specifics on imported substances, nor restrictions on volumes, only a vague wording “waste of I – II hazard classes”, which does not exclude radioactive substances. The head of Udmurtia, Alexander Brechalov, a technocrat exiled from Moscow, did not move his family to Izhevsk. He thinks that here you can build whatever you want, and then just leave, and people live here and raise children. So it is, if you start building a plant, it will not be stopped, the protesters noted.

Maradykovo is a small village in the pine forests of the Kirov region, 80 kilometers from the regional capital. In the 1950s, by order of the Soviet high command, bombs, warheads of cruise missiles and pouring devices with chemical weapons were brought here. The military warehouse with administrative buildings, headquarters, medical unit and an underground bunker was surrounded by barbed wire - since then this place has been called the Maradykovsky arsenal. Two kilometers from it there is an urban-type settlement Mirny for workers of a peat enterprise and military specialists.

Protests were also held in the Kirov region last summer. Residents protested against the "death plant", and also demanded to bring the issue of the waste recycling plant to an all-Russian referendum.

The protesters do not believe that radioactive waste will not get to the landfills.

Back in 2000, the commission of the regional council of the All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature concluded that the site for the chemical plant in Maradykovo had been chosen unsuccessfully: a densely populated area of the Kirov region in the floodplain of the Vyatka River, without taking into account the geological, hydrological and other natural conditions for the location of such an object.

In 2019, after the government decree, local lawyers drew attention to the fact that the status of Maradykovsky was changed without public hearings and taking into account the opinions of local residents, but the prosecutor's office replied that it was impossible to draw conclusions about violations, since “the project documentation has not yet been developed for the state environmental no expert examination was presented".

As in Udmurtia, more than 5.1 billion rubles are allocated for the complex, and the capacity is identical - up to 50 thousand tons of waste per year.

Four rallies were held in Kirov against the death plant. Activists from the Arkhangelsk region who are fighting against the Shies training ground came to the 1,500 protest rally.

Residents expressed concern that the authorities would not be able to ensure the safety of people living in the vicinity of the planned complexes.

“There is no reason to believe RosRAO, because for more than two years there has been no list of substances, no processing technology, or the exact amount of recyclable waste. Why should they change their minds and start importing radioactive waste”, - says Valery Semenishchev, the activist from Kirov.

After the rallies began in the regions, RosRAO made an explanation of the projected production facilities. The contractor promised to focus on high technologies in the processing and disposal of waste, which are used in Germany, Finland, South Korea, Japan, Israel and other countries. The company clarified that the plants will only process organic waste, such as chemical and petrochemical production, and inorganic waste such as batteries, fluorescent lamps, thermometers and spent solutions of acids and alkalis.

At the same time, since 2019, in regional pubs, polls have been constantly conducted on the readiness of residents to participate in protest actions against the construction of "death factories". All public opinion polls among residents of the zone of protective measures around the CWDF in Udmurtia, Kirov, Kurgan and Saratov regions unambiguously show that the majority of citizens are against new chemical plants. Already the first polls revealed up to 78% of respondents who are not afraid to go out to the squares in order to speak out against the predatory policy of the Moscow corporation, and recent polls revealed 98.5% of residents who would not like to see waste processing plants in the place of former chemical weapons warehouses I and II hazard classes.

In spite of everything, the state corporation does not seem to be going to change its plans. And numerous appeals of residents to Rosatom, the government and the administration of the President of Russia have led nowhere. Demands for a national referendum are heard more and more in the four regions where they intend to dump toxic waste. Campaigns are gaining momentum under the slogans "Children's lives are more valuable than money", "We live here", "Moscow, take your waste for yourself".

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