Some 100 Russian nuclear scientists yesterday began picketing at the country’s Atomic Energy Ministry building in Moscow. The scientists were said to be demanding that the government clear up salary arrears to nuclear energy workers and pay off Defense Ministry debts to the nuclear industry. According to a representative of the nuclear energy workers, the state debt to the Atomic Energy Ministry now amounts to more than 3 trillion rubles. Of that total, some 2.7 trillion is said to be related to defense orders. Delays in paying wages to nuclear energy workers–including those laboring in Russia’s formerly “closed” cities–reportedly range from three to ten months. Those working in the nuclear energy sector claim that the payment shortfalls have led large numbers of highly skilled personnel to leave the industry. That development, they say, has further undermined efforts to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities in Russia. (Itar-Tass, September 7-8)
Yesterday’s labor protests had begun a day earlier at two of Russia’s major nuclear research centers: the Federal Nuclear Center at Snezhinsk and the Research Institute of Experimental Physics at Sarov (formerly known as Chelyabinsk-70 and Arzamas-16, respectively). A protest leader said that actions are also planned to take place at both Russia’s Finance Ministry and the State Duma. He added, however, that industry workers intend to maintain safety standards at their places of employment during the protest actions. (Itar-Tass, September 7)
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO RUSSIA UNDER CONSIDERATION.