The Russian authorities make conflicting statements.

From the time of the accident in the North of Russia with the release of radiation and the deaths of seven people it has been almost three weeks, however, Russian authorities have published the minimum information about what happened in the Dvina Bay. They also publish limited data about the radioactive cloud that formed after the explosion – refuting originally made by the Russian military statements that there are no emissions of radiation was not. Meanwhile, Russian diplomats fend off international criticism in connection with the threat incident, writes “Voice of America”.

26 Aug Roshydromet published a report confirming the assumption of Western observers and environmentalists that the explosion of an experimental weapons in the Dvina Bay led to the formation of a radioactive cloud. The presence of this cloud of signs of decay “isotopes of barium, strontium and lanthanum”, according to experts, is an indication that the explosion resulted in the release of gases from a nuclear reactor, which may be part of propulsion unit of a cruise missile “Petrel” – the same one which the President of Russia Vladimir Putin spoke in 2017.

Russian authorities, including Vladimir Putin, has made several recent statements designed to convince the Russians and Russia’s neighbors and international organizations that nothing dangerous happened. Environmentalists say that it is impossible to believe: an explosion in which result there was a release of radiation happened in the sea, and marine organisms – fish and algae – as a result of the accident could be dangerous to people.

However, Russia’s representative to the international organizations in Vienna Alexey Karpov, speaking in Vienna at a meeting of the Preparatory Commission of the Organization of the Contract on universal prohibition of nuclear tests (CTBTO), ironically on the subject, stating that the increased levels of radiation on 8 August was “the equivalent of receiving a radiation comparable to the procedure x-ray of the tooth.”

According to the Russian representative, “about any environmental disaster, as trying to apply some of the media, nor in the incident area, or outside of the question”.

Strongly disagree the representatives of the Russian branch of the international environmental organization Greenpeace, in a statement which is dated August 26, States: “According to press publications, the explosion occurred in the water at a small depth under the pontoon, so the required information on the entry of radionuclides into the sea (Dvinskaya Guba of the White sea) and the possible risk of accumulation of radionuclides in seafood (e.g., fish, kelp, etc.)”.

Project Manager for the energy program of Greenpeace Russia Rashid Alimov said: “our Main observation – the statements of the authorities has been quite controversial, no one gave complete information. And its so not”.

“From the beginning we know that people in the Arkhangelsk region bought up iodine in drugstores. Then the Nyonoksa then evacuated not evacuated. Then Roshydromet said that it is an inert noble gases. And was the official statement on the samples, which show that all is well, without any details. It causes mistrust. They decide to talk about, they decide not to give any information and did not explain why they decided, for example, that it’s all not dangerous for the population” – said the ecologist.

Rashid Alimov recalls that some of the worrying details of the incident by the official agencies do not comment: “the Ministry wrote in a press release, in which it was written that no radioisotopes in organisms of doctors above the normal range are not detected. And then there was a press release the government of the Arkhangelsk region that cesium 137 was still detected in the body of the doctor, but it is associated with food. A publication that talked about the fact that the hospital has carried out decontamination – in this official statement do not answer anything”.

According to an employee of Greenpeace-Russia, the organization appealed to the Federal service and Roshydromet for clarification: “While we received a response from the CPS in which they say that the incident was minor and that there is a conclusion of the scientific Institute on this account. But no more details in this answer, and we asked to send us this conclusion. Now we wait and hope that we are still such a conclusion would send. It’s hardly some secret.”

Human rights activist and environmentalist Nadezhda Kutepova is well aware of how the Russian authorities are hiding information about nuclear incidents: she has long championed the rights of victims of radiation emissions at the plant “Mayak” in the Chelyabinsk region. for that very activist and her organization hunted, in the end declaring “foreign agent”. Kutepova, who received political asylum in France, tells how the Russians can demand compliance with their right to radiation safety.

“The law places the responsibility to respond to the emergencies Ministry and the health authorities. Accordingly, the information on contamination needs to be, from my point of view, derived from these bodies. In the Constitution of Russia there is article 29, under which every citizen has the right to receive and impart information. On the basis of this article, citizens living on this territory, can seek protection of their rights to information. You can also invoke article 7 of the Law on state secrets, which said that information about emergency incidents that threaten the safety of citizens, and the state of the environment, is not subject to classification”.

Nadezhda Kutepova says that the responsibility of a public Agency for the incident is not easy to understand: “For the territory and the situation in her answer several departments, and from my point of view, the more departments, the more difficult it is to find the truth. It is the Ministry of defense, which conducts tests, Rosatom, which is involved in them, this is the MOE, which should be ready for this situation, and the Ministry of health. Each of these organizations have corresponding functions, but, according to the best of my experience, unfortunately, very often in these organizations, the right hand does not know what the left is doing. So in a moment of emergency departments are not ready to them, which is what we saw.”

The Ministry of defense and Rosatom, says the human rights activist, as a rule, do not intend to uncover information associated with the testing of new weapons: “the people involved in such operations, usually designed to access state secrets long before they begin this work. But, in fact, the law, and imposes no obligation to provide citizens with such information. Their task is to conduct experiments and to protect the state secret”.

Nadezhda Kutepova, having learned that the doctor in Arkhangelsk, which received radioactive contamination, his superiors said he just ate seafood with radiation, remember that you heard something like: “This is a standard technique used by scientists of the Institute Burnazyan (Federal medical biophysical center named after A. I. Burnazyan involved in radiation safety and nuclear medicine – ed.), a work on the areas exposed to radiation contamination in Chelyabinsk region. I have seen answers from this Institute to people who have chromosomal aberration has been exceeded several times in them, for example, said it was because they had tuberculosis and did an x-ray. A very familiar approach.”

Experts in the United States was seriously confused, faced with the closeness of Russia on the incident on 8 August. Deputy Director of the NGO programme Open Nuclear Network Henam Melissa (Melissa Hanham) in his commentary called the temporary shutdown of four Russian monitoring stations of the CTBTO very disturbing event:

“It’s very suspicious that the stations on the Russian territory was off, and very disappointing that the Russian government might be trying to hide this information, because Russia needs to be concerned not only with security issues but also health problem people. It is possible that they did it because some of these isotopes decay very quickly and we don’t have information about them, and if the unknown composition of these isotopes, their combination, it will not be known and military secrets related to their appearance. However, something can still be detected, although this information is not as complete as it could be.”

Melissa Hannam sure that in the end the radiation plume is found: “Even if they turned off their stations in Russia – those who could register the plume of radiation, this radiation will continue to spread, and stations outside of Russia it finds. Russia is the biggest in the world, but in the end, when the train crosses the border, it will be seen stations in other countries. After North Korea’s underground test of a nuclear device in 2006, some isotopes penetrated out through the tunnel and was discovered by the station in Canada. It was a positive sign, pointing to the fact that the detection system works, and since it was built many such stations”.

The Deputy Director of Open Nuclear Network notes that “in addition stations in some countries – the US, China and others is aerial detection of radionuclides, but if you use them to determine the composition of the radiation plume still over the territory of Russia, then it will be an act of espionage”.

“There is no enforcement mechanism in the country to disclose details of such incidents: the IAEA regulations States that even in the accident at a nuclear reactor, the country could inform about the details, but is not obligated to do so. It is assumed, of course, that any responsible government must worry about the security of its citizens and people living in neighbouring countries” – says an expert on nuclear safety.

The view that the Russian authorities in the case of the explosion of a rocket with a nuclear component behave irresponsibly, parts and expert organizations Arms Control Association Kingston Reef (Kingston Reif): “Russia has demonstrated a very disappointing and, in my opinion, an unacceptable lack of transparency in the case of this explosion. The fact that Russia told me about this explosion, has varied over time, and it didn’t look solid. The Russian authorities have obligations to their citizens, especially those living in the vicinity of the blast site. Hiding with statements about national security should not be”.

Kingston Reef is confident that “Russian citizens have the right to accurate knowledge about what they are threatened by an explosion on 8 August, and this is the most important, they must demand from the authorities that told them the truth.”

According to experts on nuclear weapons, are grounds to consider the incident the result of tests of the rocket “Thunderbird”, it is enough: “After a short time after the explosion scientists on satellite images from public sources collected data together and was able to set the scene, including the positioning data from previous tests of the missile, which in the West is called Skyfall. So the assumption that it was Skyfall, it is trustworthy”.

Disable the stations of the CTBTO, said the Kingston Reef, will only complicate Russia for its attempts to conduct secret and dangerous tests: “the Fact that they shut down the station, forcing other countries, along with the use of open sources, to increase attention to intelligence. Of course, this fact also gives the diplomats from different countries the opportunity more reasonable to ask questions to the Russian foreign Ministry. Russia’s reaction, unfortunately, fit into the already long-standing scheme of denying the truth. But the current technical features make this behavior is quite expensive”.