Russia's nuclear storage sites safe from wildfires

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Russian operator RosRao said Tuesday that its 17 nuclear waste storage facilities are safe from the wildfires that have been ravaging Russia in recent weeks.

Local resident rides a bike across the partially destroyed village of Klyuchi in Ryazan region, some 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Moscow, August 9, 2010. Scorching heat and acrid smoke have nearly doubled death rates in Moscow, a city official said on Monday, as a shroud of smog from raging forest and peat fires beset Russia's capital for a third week.[Xinhua/Reuters]

Some 300 people are now working around the clock to protect RosRao's nuclear waste storage facilities from wildfires, Andrei Chizhov, head of the company's nuclear and radiation safety department, said in a statement.

Chizhov said the wildfire nearest a storage area in the Nizhny Novgorod region was at least six km away.

In Tatarstan, the minimal distance between the storage site and three wildfires was 10 km. The fires there have now been put either under control or extinguished.

In Chelyabinsk, the Urals, the distance between the local nuclear waste deposit facility and the fire was 70 km.

Chizhov said RosRao "adopts all necessary preventive measures" to assure fire safety at all of its storage facilities. Currently, he said, the situation is normal.

RosRao runs 17 sites for the storage of nuclear fuel waste throughout Russia.

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