`Russia managed to prevent radiation leak due to wildfires`
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Last Updated: Thursday, August 19, 2010, 21:41
Moscow: Despite the threat posed by wildfires, Russia has managed to prevent radiation leaks from its key nuclear installations, the country's atomic chief said on Thursday.

"In Sarov (Federal Nuclear Centre) surrounded by thick forests we had to beat back the wildfires thrice. We were confronted by ten kilometre wide (wildfire) front. But we had evacuated all nuclear and explosive materials and there was no radiation leak," Federal Nuclear Agency (Rosatom) chief Sergei Kiriyenko said in his televised meeting with Prime Minister Vladmir Putin.

Situated in Volga region of Nizhny Novgorod, Sarov town has the former secret Soviet nuclear weapons factory Arzamas- 16 and still remains closed to foreigners.

Kiriyenko said appropriate steps were taken to protect two other nuclear weapons and waste processing facilities in the Urals, and the wildfires were stopped at a distance of 15 km from the closed towns of Snezhinsk and Mayak and there was no risk of radiation leak.

He also told Putin about Rosatom's plans to install sensors around the nuclear installations at a distance of 15 km to monitor wildfires.

The unprecedented heat wave and abnormal dry summer in the central European parts of Russia with temperatures touching 40 degree Celsius has almost come to an end.

The northern regions of Murmansk and Archangelsk today witnessed hail and snow storm with day temperature dropping to 4 degrees Celsius and a frosty night.

The Baltic cyclone with wet and cold winds has brought the temperature down in Moscow by 10 degrees to 22-23 degrees Celsius, clearing the Russian capital of suffocating pungent smog.

All the remaining forest and peat bog fires will be put off by Sunday, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

"The wildfire situation has stabilised fully in the Volga River and Central Federal Districts of Russia. Emergency may be lifted in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Ryazan regions and Mordovia," said Vladimir Stepanov, chief of National Centre for Management in Crisis Situations of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM), according to ITAR-TASS.

"Some 290 fires have been put out on an area of 10,000 hectares for the past day in Russia. The fire situation has stabilized fully in the Volga River and Central Federal Districts. However, the fire situation remains under control in the Sverdlovsk Region," Stepanov said.


First Published: Thursday, August 19, 2010, 21:41

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