Friday, December 16, 2005

Russian Power Plant Blast

An explosion at a Russian nuclear power plant complex killed one worker and badly hurt two others, but Russia's nuclear agency said Friday no reactors were affected.

The Rosenergoatom agency said radiation levels remained normal as the reactor in that part of the Leningrad nuclear plant was undergoing repairs and was not in operation. But Thursday's blast threw a spotlight on what environmentalists called uncontrolled operations at Russian nuclear sites.

The blast happened in a smelter at the plant in the closed nuclear town of Sosnovy Bor, 50 miles west of the northern city of St. Petersburg. The smelter is operated by Ekomet-S, a company reprocessing scrap metal.

"The enterprise ... functions illegally because there was no mandatory (state) environmental impact assessment on its construction," Dmitry Artamonov, head of the St. Petersburg branch of Greenpeace, told The Associated Press.

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