No nuclear risk from fire at Russia`s Sarov centre: Kiryenko

The immediate economic cost of fires has been estimated at USD 15 billion.

Moscow: The wildfires raging close to a nuclear research centre in Russia will not cause any radiation threats even if the fire enters the territory of the facility, the Federal Atomic Energy Agency chief has said.

The Sarov Federal Nuclear Centre, a former secret Soviet nuclear weapons factory in Russia`s Nizhny Novgorod region, has been menaced for two weeks by fires raging in a neighbouring nature park in Mordovia republic, Rosatom nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiryenko said.

"It is possible to say for sure there are neither risks of nuclear threats nor the risks of any ecological threats or explosions on the territory of Sarov, even if the fire engulfs it," Kiriyenko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Earlier, he had declared that all the explosive materials have been removed as wildfires were approaching the former secret township of Arazamas-16, where first Soviet hydrogen bomb was fabricated.

Over 3,000 people, four helicopters, four planes and 30 fire trucks were involved in putting out wildfires in proximity to the Sarov nuclear centre.

Meanwhile, five US air force cargo planes have airlifted fire fighting equipment offered by President Barack Obama in his phone call to President Medvedev on Thursday.

"The United States stands with the people of Russia as they fight to contain the destructive spread of wildfires, which have taken lives and displaced many from their homes. We are taking action to support the heroic efforts of Russian fire-fighters and emergency responders as they seek to bring these fires under control," the State Department said in its statement.

The US embassy`s Deputy Chief of Mission Eric Rubin here said that his country is providing Russia - home to nearly one fourth of the world`s forests - fire fighting equipment worth USD 4.5 million to help combating raging wildfires.

The US deliveries include water tanks, pumps, hand tools, fire-protective clothing, and medical kits, Russian Emergency Situations officials said.

EU and CIS countries have sent more than 550 foreign fire-fighters and 100 units of machinery, including six planes and seven helicopters, to help Russia extinguish wildfires raging across the country.

NTV channel said the area wildfires and peat bog fires has decreased by 8,000 hectares or equivalent to 40 thousand football fields and is now 56,200 hectares.

In Moscow region, the fire-fighters have managed to cut by half the number of fires from 29 to 16, EMERCOM spokesperson Irina Andriyanova said. Efforts are underway to douse fires on 84 hectares area in Moscow region.

Thousands of emergency workers and military personnel have been working round the clock for almost three weeks to fight fires in 22 Russian regions.

The immediate economic cost of the fires has been estimated at USD 15 billion.


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