Unknown Fire at Ecomet-S Facility Close to St. Petersburg

On Monday, December 18, 2017, in the evening, there was a fire in SosnovyBor, in the center of the nuclear cluster of the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland http://www.interessant.ru/people/pozhar-u-lieninghradskoi-at. Waste was burned on the territory of EKOMET-S, Europe’s largest recycler (by means of remelting) of metallic radioactive waste.

 

December 22, 2017, No. 1
NGO Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland
Tel. +7(81369) 72991   e-mail:obdecom@gmail.com   www.decommission.ru

On Monday, December 18, 2017, in the evening, there was a fire in SosnovyBor, in the center of the nuclear cluster of the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland http://www.interessant.ru/people/pozhar-u-lieninghradskoi-at. Waste was burned on the territory of EKOMET-S, Europe’s largest recycler (by means of remelting) of metallic radioactive waste.

Nuclear cluster 40 km from St. Petersburg

According to media reports, fire-fighting forces extinguished the fire.

The same evening, Dmitry Boytsov, the head of the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Safety of the administration of Sosnovy Bor, in response to a signal from city residents, went to the bank of the Glukhovka River on the territory of Sosnovy Bor. There, he said, was a strong smell of burning plastic. At the same time, the wind blew from the side of Ekomet-S, 4 km to the west from the river.

The source of the combustion, according to Mr. Boytsov, was not found.

Measurement of the gamma radiation at the Ecomet-S radioactive facility.

Only on December 20, from Oleg Bodrov, the author of this message, did the responsible municipal official learned about the emergency at ECOMET-S.

On December 20, two days after the fire, representatives of the Public Council of the SouthCoast of the Gulf of Finland visited ECOMET-S. Measurements of radiation did not reveal an excess of background values.

A number of questions nevertheless arise:

  1. What kind of waste burned on the territory of the radiation-hazardous object ECOMET-S?
  2. Why did they catch fire?
  3. Were these wastes radioactive?
  4. How safe were the products of combustion that have reached the city limits?
  5. Why did the official responsible for the environmental safety of the atomic city of SosnovyBor fail to receive timely information about the fire at the radiation hazardous facility?

 

Currently, on the territory of theSosnovyBor nuclear cluster, several hundred meters from the site of the fire, a new experimental power unit of the Leningrad NPP-2 with the VVER-1200 reactor is being launched.

This means a higher probability of emergencies. At the same time, more than 6 million people living within a radius of 100 km do not have an independent operational source of information on possible emissions and discharges.

Rosatom ceased financing an independent regional environmental laboratory 15 years ago. It was closed.

As a result, the recent situation with increased concentrations of radioactive Ru-106 in the area of the Mayak reprocessing plant of the spent  nuclear rods in Ozersk (Ural Region, Russia), may be repeated in SosnovyBor, in the close vicinity of St. Petersburg.

An independent international system of operational information on radiation incidents is needed to protect nature and people.

Oleg Bodrov