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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Russian fears for nuclear security
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC, Moscow

Sosnovy Bor power station, outside St Petersburg
Financing is poor and security weak at nuclear facilities
Russia's nuclear watchdog has said the country is failing to keep adequate track of its nuclear materials.

The industry regulator, which works independently of the Nuclear Power Ministry, has also reported disquiet about the physical safety of some nuclear facilities in Russia.

Gosatomnadzor, as it is called, noted its considerable concerns in a closed meeting with some of Russia's top officials.

The regulator says the system of accounting and control over Russia's nuclear material remains incomplete.

The industry still lacks firm legal guidelines for the production and storage of nuclear products.

The watchdog's comments have been welcomed by Russian campaigners for nuclear safety.

Management shake-up

Last year, Greenpeace caused a stir when a group of its activists were able to stride unhindered into a storage facility.

They say this report reveals how little has changed.

Industry financing remains poor, security weak and the danger of theft or terrorism strong.

The regulating body was subjected to a management shake-up this summer, which some saw as an attempt by the powerful nuclear ministry to stamp out criticism.

This assessment will go some way towards dampening those concerns.

Now safety campaigners are calling for tough action, to match the words.




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