The Ministry of Defense is incapable of ensuring the proper storage of nuclear materials now under its control, regional inspectorate head of the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry Aleksandr Kanygin charges. Kanygin, who published his charges in a recent article in Izvestiya, blames the situation on a presidential edict that widened the Russian army’s responsibilities for nuclear storage. Issued by Yeltsin in July 1995, the edict transferred oversight responsibility for nuclear materials at military installations from the atomic energy to the Defense Ministry. According to Kanygin, the army lacks the means for storing nuclear materials that are available to the Atomic Energy Ministry. Equally worrisome, he contends the army is transporting nuclear materials throughout Russia’s heavily populated interior without oversight or accountability. Kanygin concludes that current practices constitute a serious potential safety hazard and represent an additional instance of loss of civilian control over the Russian armed forces. (7)
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