Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 49

. A senior Russian ecology official charged March 6 that nuclear plants in Russia pose an "unacceptable" risk and warned that he and others with a similar outlook intend to speak out with "very harsh words" at the April 19 G-7 Summit in Moscow. Aleksei Yablokov, who chairs the Russian Security Council’s ecological safety commission, told a news conference in Moscow that dozens of nongovernmental bodies had joined together to lobby for greater openness in the nuclear industry. Yablokov also said that his Center of Russian Environmental Policy would join with Norway’s Bellona Foundation, various Chernobyl organizations, and the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council to stage a separate forum on nuclear safety on the eve of the summit. (9)

Yablokov’s remarks suggested that the summit, which is to be devoted to discussion of nuclear safety, could prove to be a contentious event that will not necessarily reflect well on Moscow. That would be bad news for Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who, as co-chairman of the meeting, views it as both a stepping stone to Russia’s full inclusion in the G-7 and a public relations opportunity that could boost his presidential election bid. Recent actions by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) are another source of potential embarrassment for Yeltsin. On February 6 the FSB arrested a Russian employee of the Oslo-based Bellona Foundation on charges of treason, (See Monitor, February 13) and a Bellona spokesperson said that some 60 of its workers have been interrogated by the security service. Bellona has been investigating Russian nuclear dumping and storage sites in northwestern Russia.

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