RUSSIA: Forest fire threatens Russian nuclear sites
(various reports of news agencies, 28-30 July 2001)
I. Forest Fire Causes Partial Shutdown of Russian Nuclear Plant Agence France Presse, 28 July 2001
The Russian nuclear plant at Voronezh was partially shut down Saturday because of a forest fire nearby, but radiation levels in the area were normal, Russian NTV television reported. The smoke and heat from the fire triggered the plant’s automatic safety system, forcing the shutdown of the fifth reactor in the complex, located 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Moscow, the report said. Strong winds fanned the flames to such an extent that the fire had reached a flammable radioactive storage site outside the plant, but no damage had been caused, the station added. “The automatic security system was triggered and the reactor was turned down to minimum power,” said a Voronezh official. “The situation in block number five is under control and without radioactive effects.” Fireman Sergy Lisovskoi said: “There was no direct threat to the plant, but more for a nearby low-intensity radioactive storage site.” Russian television channels have been screening footage of the plant appearing quite normal. Police said an enquiry would be opened to determine the cause of the fire.
II. Novovoronezh Nuclear Plant Not Affected by Forest Fires Interfax News Agency, 28 July 2001
Moscow — The Novovoronezh nuclear power station is functioning as usual without any changes in its production cycle despite a forest fire raging nearby. The fire that started three kilometers outside the station was extinguished within an hour. Nobody was hurt. During the fire the fifth power unit was shut down to prevent an emergency. Now it is operating again, spokesman for the regional civil defense committee Valery Popov said on Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday. The seat of the fire that covered about 23 hectares of woods was near the burial of radioactive wastes from the station. The radiation control service says background radiation at the station and around it does not exceed permitted levels.
III. Forest Fire Briefly Threatened Russian Nuclear Site Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 28 July 2001
A forest fire briefly threatened a Russian nuclear waste depository Saturday before firefighters and troops brought it under control, according to a broadcast report. The report on Echo Moskvy radio said the blaze broke out within 3 kilometres of an underground nuclear waste compound at the Novovoronesh nuclear power plant. One of the power plant’s reactors was powered down briefly. Firefighters brought the blaze under control within an hour, the radio report said.