Case Number:        393
     Identifier:         SIBNUKE
     Description:        Siberia Nuclear Waste

I.   Identification

1.  The Issue.

     In Siberia, 3000 kilometers from Moscow lies the Siberian
Chemical Combine.  This facility was part of the Russian nuclear
program since the beginning of the Cold War.   After almost 40
years of producing weapons grade nuclear material, the reactors
were shut down and the facility now serves as a storage site for
radioactive material and a uranium enrichment facility.  In 1993 an
explosion occurred at the facility contaminating almost 120
kilometer2 of the surrounding province of Tomsk.  For the first
time in the accident plagued history of the Soviet/Russian nuclear
program, the Russian Government notified the public of the
incident.  However, the cult of nuclear secrecy that permeated the
Soviet Union seems to be re-emerging in the Russian Federation. 
Government agencies were embroiled in conflict over how much
information should be released.  The information that was not
given, the environmental state of the combine and the Russian
Government's intent to sell nuclear technology gives cause for
concern to the entire.

2.  Description:

                  The Siberian Chemical Combine

     Siberia, 3000 kilometers east of Moscow in Russia, a city
stands dedicated to the former Soviet Union■s nuclear program.  Now
known as Seversk, during the Cold War Tomsk-7 was one of over a
dozen secret nuclear cities.  Tomsk-7 was home to the Siberian
Chemical Combine (SCC).   The Combine■s five reactors came on line
between 1955-1967 and were similar to the RBMK reactors at
Chernobyl.  They are slightly larger than the reactors at the Mayak
Chemical Combine in Chelyabinsk, a region known as the most
polluted place on Earth.  The 192 km2 city was built to house the
107,000 workers and families of the SCC.  It was situated 15 km
north west of the city of Tomsk with a population of 500,000.  The
SCC sits on the River Tom, a tributary of the Ob River.  (Bohmer
1995, 2)
     The earliest reactors to be commissioned had open cooling
systems.  Water from the nearby Chernilshikov River was pumped in
to cool the reactors and the subsequent irradiated water was
discharged back into the river.  The Chernilshikov is a tributary
of the Tom River.  In 1990 members of the Natural Resource Defense
Council conducted tests that reveal the effects of the open cooling
system.  At the juncture of the Chernilshikov and Tom Rivers, air
samples had readings of 300 millirads (urad) per hour and water
samples measured 400 urad per hour.  Near the village of
Chernilshikov, situated on the right bank of the Tom, measurements
of 3,100 becequerels (Bq) per meter2 of Plutonium 239 were taken by
the group.  (Bohmer 1995, 8)

                          Stored Waste

There is a vast amount of waste stored at the facility from its
four decades of operations.   In addition, base security has become
lax, and the facilities are deteriorating.  There are separate
storage sites for liquid and solid radioactive waste.  Liquid waste
is stored in reservoirs B1 and B2.  It is believed that the two
reservoirs are holding almost 300,000 meters3 of waste containing
more than 126 megacuries (Mci) of radiation.  These pools are
uncovered and radiation has been detected in local moose and fauna. 
Wind storms are known to occur in the region, thus spreading of
radioactive sediments may have occurred and could continue to do so
in the future.  Attempts would be made to fill the reservoirs in
the early 1990s.  (Bohmer 1995, 5)
     Solid waste is also stored at SCC.  There is believed to be
127,000 tons of waste in above and underground facilities.  The
above ground facility is in a state of deterioration.  Waste is put
in the facility through a series of roof hatches where cracks are
beginning to form.  Measurements have been taken of these cracks
and they are emitting 5.6 rem per hour.  (Bohmer 1995, 7)
     The most serious source of stored waste at SCC is liquid waste
stored in a series of wells at the complex.  Russia chose the wells
because of the trouble they had experienced with above ground
storage sites in the 1950s, especially at the Mayak Chemical
Combine.  In 1993 Russian scientists admitted that at least half of
all the waste produced by the Soviet nuclear program during the
Cold War was buried at three locations: Dimitrovgrad near the Volga
River; Krasnoyarsk near the Yenisei River; and at SCC near Tomsk
and the Ob River.  The combined radiation held in the three sets of
wells is believed to be almost 3 billion curies.  In comparison,
Chernobyl released 50 million curies, mostly of the short life
variety.  (Broad 1994, A1)
     Underground well storage goes against the established
international norm.  The United States, and most other nuclear
nations, use above ground storage in steel waste tanks.  There have
been 2 attempts at below ground storage in the US, at Hanford
Reservation in the state of Washington and at Oak Ridge Tennessee. 
Both attempts were canceled due to environmental concern for
potential leaks in the storage sites.  SCC is already believed to
be contaminating the surrounding Tomsk Oblast region.  A Tomsk
based environmental group has detected cracks in the wells and the
clay and sandstone put in place to prevent seepage to the
surrounding ground and water systems.  Since these fault lines were
discovered the radioactive isotope cesium137 in drinking water in
some regions of Tomsk.  (Shapiro 1994, A47)

                            Accidents

     As with most facilities of the Soviet/Russian nuclear
industry, SCC has seen its share of nuclear accidents.  There have
been 23 known incidents at the complex since 1961.  The earliest
and one of the more significant was a condenser explosion in 1961
where there were two confirmed deaths.  There have also been a
number of spontaneous chain reactions in the SCC reactors. 
(Zakharov 1995, 14)  There have not been any accidents on the scale
of the Chernobyl explosion.  However, much like the Mayak Chemical
Combine in Chelyabinsk, the cumulative effects of intentional and
accidental releases of radiation and stored radioactive waste
throughout SCC and Russia, are enough to make Chernobyl pale in
comparison.  
     The problems at SCC again are reminiscent of other nuclear
cities in the Soviet Union.  In 1960, SCC produced 90 kilograms
more plutonium 239 then was indicated on its records.  As such,
management was forced to cover up the discrepancy.  In 1967 it
decided to take surplus plutonium out of storage and have it
reprocessed.  Therefore, between 50-60kg of plutonium was
transferred out as waste and discharged into the uncovered
reservoirs. The missing plutonium was never found.  (Bohmer 1995,
9)  One of the more recent accidents at Tomsk-7 reveal a good deal
about the current state of the Russian nuclear program.

                     1993 Tomsk-7 Explosion

     On 6 April 1993 a tank containing an industrial solution of
paraffin and tributyl phosphate used to decontaminate
decommissioned nuclear reactors exploded.  The tank was located in
the SCC chemical separation plant, known as Object 15.  It had a
volume of 34.1 meters3 and was holding a 25 meter3 solution
containing approximately 8,773 kilograms of uranium and 310
kilograms of plutonium.  The radiation in the solution was
determined to be 559.3 Ci.  (Bohmer 1995, 9) The explosion may have
occurred in a Uranium enrichment process for a foreign company. 
The French firm COGEMA has a ten year contract with SCC to
reprocess and enrich uranium.  The French government will not allow
domestic companies to conduct these activities due to the potential
dangers such as this explosion.  (Illesh 1993b, 30)
     The explosion is believed to have occurred due to worker
negligence.  The time period for the particular operation was cut
short by an employee.  Gas formed in the container and increased
pressure on the hermetically sealed tank.  In addition, a pressure
valve was not fully opened allowing the already growing pressure to
reach a level of 17 atmospheres.  The tank was built to withstand
a pressure of 12 atmospheres.  (Chernykh 1993, 20)   The resulting
explosion was strong enough to knock down walls on two floors of
the complex and caused a fire on the roof.  (Rossiiskiye Vesti 8
April 1993, 1)  It is believed that 115 Ci of radiation was
dispersed over a 120 kilometer2 region.  In the most severely
irradiated locations, gamma radiation is 20 times normal rates. 
The accident was ranked a 4 out of 7 on the International Nuclear
Event Scale(INES).  In comparison, Chernobyl ranked 7.  (Bohmer
1995, 9)  
     The 1993 explosion was unique in that the Russian Government
informed the general public of the accident.  Within 4 hours of the
explosion, city and province radio had notified the local populace. 
 However, information was still not being freely given by the SCC
or the government.  There appears to be discrepancies in the
information being given about the accident.  The SCC management
assured the public that the accident was not serious and that
radiation was not above maximum allowable levels.  Yet many studies
reflect high levels of radiation.  One environmental group,
Greenpeace, states that SCC and the Russian Ministry of Atomic
Energy are mitigating the radiation levels so as to not lose
support from the government or possible contracts with foreign
nations. 
     To further confirm the Greenpeace allegations is the apparent
political confrontations within the government itself.  After the
Tomsk-7 explosion, Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree
to ensure the safety of all nuclear power facilities and the
nuclear weapons complex. Yet there is evidence that the Ministry of
Defence and Ministry of Atomic Energy(Minatom) has prevented
specialists from investigating their various facilities.  An
example is that Minatom argues that only 5% of the solution in the
tank was released while the Committee for the Supervision of Atomic
Power safety inspected the tank and believes that at least 50% of
the solution escaped in the explosion.  (Illesh 1993a, 27)
     After this political conflict occurred, the Tomsk-7 explosion
was ranked a 4 on the INES.  Thus, it is likely that the explosion
released more radiation than the SCC and certain government
ministries want to admit.  In fact, a 1995 study conducted by the
Siberian Medical University with specialists from Moscow, St.
Petersburg, Kiev, England, the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary,
found medical results indicating high levels of radiation.  In two
districts of the proposed fall out area, there were higher
incidents of many diseases, especially Cancer.  In particular,
children exhibited diminished endurance and low manual strength and
memory.  These are similar to what happened to children in 1963-64
after another nuclear accident at SCC.  Finally, it was determined
that the areas with highest incidents of medical abnormalities
match the wind patterns that came from the SCC. (Zakharov 1995, 15)
     The consequences of the Tomsk-7 accident and the situation at
SCC are many.  It is of grave importance to the rest of the world
that Russia deal with its environmental problems.  It is unclear
exactly how many nuclear ■cities■ that the Soviet Union operated. 
This in and of itself is enough to cause worry because it implies
that Russia is still holding on to the cult of nuclear secrecy in
the post Cold War.  Second, what is understood by the rest of the
world is that Russia is likely to be the most polluted place on
Earth.  A great majority of this pollution comes from a nuclear
industry fraught with inadequate understanding of, let alone care
for the environment.  The Soviets felt that nature was to be used
according to peoples needs, thus they felt that purposeful misuse
was acceptable.  However, what was not realized is that the
cumulative affect may be enough to destroy the entire nation.  A
prime example is that over three quarters of Russian lakes and
rivers are so contaminated that they cannot be used as drinking
water.  (Yablokov 1993, 579)
     The 1993 explosion at the SCC also should be noted for the
government■s reactions.  The accident was reported to the public,
as opposed to the accidents during the Soviet and early post-Soviet
years. However, there is still conflict over the specific causes
and results.  The SCC and the nuclear industry wanted to keep the
specific facts of the explosion secret.  (Zakharov 1995, 14) While
informing the general public of the accident is good, there is
still a great deal of secrecy involving the rest of the
civil/military nuclear industrial complex.  There are many examples
of nuclear accidents that until very recently were still guarded
secrets of the Russian government such as those at Chelyabinsk and
Krasnoyarsk.  According to international rules, the plant should be
shut down until exact reasons could be determined for the
explosion.  The SCC was allowed to continue operating.  Thus, it is
possible that proper studies have not been conducted to determine
the safety of the nuclear industrial complex.
     This point leads to one final, yet major problem.  In this
transition period, Russia is in desperate need of currency.  As
such it continues to involve itself with contracts to handle
foreign nuclear waste such as SCC was doing for the French firm
COGEMA.  Russia also wants to sell nuclear technology to foreign
nations, specifically North Korea and Iran.  There is also the lax
security that can and has lead to weapons grade material smuggling. 
If this continues to be the case, than this accident shows that
Russia should be stopped before the rest of the world will be made
to suffer.  As it now stands, the environmental problem is too
large to be contained just in Russia, however, if something is not
done than the problem will extend from Russia to the rest of the
world.

3.  Related Cases

Czech N-Plant [MOCHO] Case
Russia N-Sub [RUSSNUKE] Case
Russia Nuclear Exports
TEMELIN N-Plant Case
ESTONIA Nuclear Case
Chernobyl Case
URAL Case
ARCTIC Case
Siberia Nuclear Pollution [SIBNUKE] Case
JAPANSEA Case
LUCKY Case

4.  Key Word Cluster

(1) Nuclear
(2) Radiation
(3) Explosion
5.  Draft Author: Michael Goulet, December 1996

II.  Legal Cluster

6.  Discourse and Status: DISAGREE and ALLEG

     There have been no direct charges made against Russia
concerning the Tomsk incident or the conditions at the SCC in
general.  There has been more information released to the public in
regards to this radiation accident then in the past.  However,
there are still problems of access to exact details of what
precipitated the explosion and the amount of radiation released. 
Also, some environmental groups (local and international) have
accused the government of actually concealing information so as to
not lose any potential business ventures.

7.  Discourse and Status: Russia and MULTIlateral

     The radiation from the 1993 accident has not affected any
nations other than Russia.  However, the amount of radiation stored
at the SCC and released into the Chernilshikov River (and,
subsequently, into the Ob River) has the potential to contaminate
international waters.  Also, the Russian nuclear program as a whole
has relied on a number of nuclear cities similar to Tomsk-7.  Thus
the combined radiation in Russia, and the former Soviet republics
again has the potential to affect a number of other nations. 
Finally, many nations hope to do business in the emerging Russian
market economy.  As such, they will have to deal not only with the
appalling environmental conditions but also the added environmental
costs of production.  Such costs would very likely include cleanup
of Russian business sites, or lost employee hours due to
environmentally related illness.

8.  Decision Breadth: 1 (Russia)

     The accident at the SCC and the cumulative affects of stored
radiation at the facility has, to date, not caused any adverse
consequences in other nations.

9.  Legal Standing: TREATY and LAW

     The International Atomic Energy Agency, the 1994 International
Convention on Nuclear Safety, and the 1996 Moscow Nuclear Summit
all are relevant to this case.  They all serve to protect the world
against the harmful effects of nuclear accidents.  In addition,
they attempt to make transparent the nuclear industries of declared
nuclear states.  
     Russia has begun to make its nuclear industry more transparent
as can be seen in the 1993 Tomsk accident.  It has also begun to
act on a more cooperative basis in regards to past radiation
related accidents.  There is, however, more information to be
gathered from Russia.  In order to meet its requirements as an
I.A.E.A. member, Russia needs to determine what exactly caused the
problem at the SCC, make public the information, and then correct
the problem as may be necessary in other facilities.
     In addition, Russia, along with the industrialized states that
make up the Group of 7 agreed in April of 1996 that more
transparency was needed in the nuclear industry as a whole.  If
this is the case, then there is much work to be done.  The SCC
tried to keep some of the information classified.  Also, it still
is at odds with the government over nuclear safety Committee as to
exact amounts of radiation released in the explosion.   Finally,
the Ministries of Defense and Atomic Energy have publicly
interfered with President Yeltsin■s attempts to inspect the
operations of nuclear energy and military facilities.
     Russian national law is also involved in this case.  Beginning
in 1992, 4 pieces of legislation pertaining to the environment and
state secrets were adopted.  They were aimed at opening up the
former Soviet cult of nuclear secrecy.  This legislation included
the 1991 Law on the Environment, 1993 Law on State Secrets, 1995
Law on the Use of Nuclear Energy and the 1995 Law on Information
Informationization and Protection of Information.  However, these
laws have been reversed in all but name by one additional piece of
legislation.  In November 1995 President Boris Yeltsin signed Edict
203 which allowed the classification of information concerning the
design, operation, or security of the nuclear complex. (National
Resource Defense Council, 1)
     Another interesting event occurred in 1996.  The Norwegian
environmental group Bellona has been documenting the nuclear
contamination and storage practices of the Soviet/Russian Navy. 
Bellona reports that the Russian Northern Fleet■s storage
facilities have tons of nuclear waste in open air facilities.  A
former Russian naval officer, Alexandr Nikitn, who has been working
for Bellona, was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service
(FSB) for passing state secrets.  In addition, the Bellona office
in Murmansk was raided by the FSB and had all its equipment and
research confiscated.  The information contained in the reports was
gathered, according to Bellona, from public resources.  The
citizens of Russia had a right to know about it but the Russian
Government did not agree.  What this seems to represent is the
rebirth of nuclear secrecy in Russia. (Reuters 1996, A6)

C. Geographic Cluster

10.  Geography

Continental Domain: Europe
Geographic Site: Siberia
Geographic Impact: Russia

11.  Sub-National Factors: YES

     The subnational factors involved in this case deal with
information management.  While the 1993 Tomsk-7 explosion saw the
first time that the government informed the public, there still was
not a complete admission of facts.  As already stated, the SCC
sought to keep all information relating to the explosion
classified.  The conflict over safety inspections for the nuclear
industrial complex indicates a lack of governmental coordination
of, or perhaps control of its facilities.

12.  Type of Habitat: TEMPerate

D. Trade Cluster

13.  Type of Measure: Regulatory Ban 

14.  Direct vs. Indirect Impact: IND

     Though exact details have not been determined, the radiation
that has been released into the Chernilshikov River and
subsequently into the Ob River likely polluted the sea life along
this vast expanse of Russia.  What also must be remembered is that
the Techa River, polluted by the Mayak Chemical Combine in
Chelyabinsk, also leads into the Ob.  As such, the cumulative
affect of just these two facilities has enough radiation to
potentially affect Arctic sealife for decades if not centuries. 
Also, the combined cleanup costs of the Russian nuclear industry
will have an indirect impact on all forms of trade.  Russia is
already a financially depressed nation, the additional funds that
must be used for the environment will undoubtedly take money away
from economic development.

15.  Relation of Measure to Impact:

a.  Directly Related to Product: No
b.  Indirectly Related to Product: Yes
c.  Not Related to Product:   No
d.  Related to Process: Yes

     It is likely that Russian nuclear contamination influences the
traditional economic inputs of land, labor, and capital.  As such,
when any of the three are used in the production of goods and
services in Russia, they will indirectly effect the product by
having a negative impact on the safety level of said product.  In
addition, dealing with the safety of the product will impact on
both the input and output processes in order to reduce and
eliminate any harmful effects of the product.

16.  Trade Product Identification: Nuclear

17.  Economic Data: 

     The exact cleanup costs for the 1993 Tomsk accident, let alone
for the entire nuclear dilemma,  have yet to be established.  The
one year period following the explosion, saw the government
appropriate 20 billion rubles for cleanup in addition to the normal
outlays for the nuclear program.  Furthermore, costs of treatment
for radiation sickness and lost work time undoubtedly had serious
impact on the region.  (Yablokov 1994, 7)  Taken as a whole, which
due to the nature of the problem is necessary, the costs to the
economy from the Soviet nuclear program would be more than a burden
for an industrialized country, let alone a country that is
basically underdeveloped.

18.  Degree of Competitive Impact: HIGH

     The region effected by the accident was a closed city and not
involved directly with international trade.  However, the combined
effects of the contaminated regions of Russia will be enough to
stress the entire country through likely budgetary outlays for
contamination control and cleanup.

19.  Industry Sector: MANY

     Due to the cumulative affects of radiological contamination,
almost any industry could be effected.  Due to placement of the
nuclear cities, to name but one aspect of the Soviet nuclear
industry, the most likely industries will be in food, lumber, and
minerals.

20.  Exporters and Importers: Russia and Many

E. Environmental Cluster

21.  Environmental Problem Type: BIODIV

22.  Species Information:  MANY

     The area contaminated by the 1993 explosion was relatively
sparsely populated woodland.  As such, there was a great deal of
tree life and other herbaceous plants.  In addition, there was bird
life and multiple species of small animals, such as rodents,
rabbits and dear.  In addition to the explosion, the cumulative
effects of stored radiation and the irradiated cooling water
released by the SCC reactors contaminated most sealife in the
region.  One fact to remember is that radiological contamination
tends to have generational effects.  In other words, future
generations are likely to show effects of contamination.

23.  Impact and Effect: HIGH and STRUCTURAL

     Due to the historical record of operations at the SCC the
impact is given a high rating.  The presence of high level
radiation such as plutonium and uranium stored at and released by
SCC could potentially effect the entire eco-system for centuries to
come.  What needs to be determined is how Russia will react to the
nuclear environmental problem.  Will they attempt to decontaminate,
and if so, is it possible to do so adequately?  If they choose to
contain the radiation, how will the storage process be handled? 
Most importantly for Russia is what alternatives can it afford to
undertake? 

24.  Urgency and Lifetime: MEDIUM and Thousands of Years

     The Siberian Chemical Combine was in the business of producing
weapons grade material for the Soviet nuclear weapons complex.  As
such it produced high level radioactive waste.  Some of this waste
is stored at SCC.  Some of this waste has been intentionally dumped
into surrounding rivers.  Some of this waste was released in the
more than 23 accidents known to have occurred such as the 1993
Tomsk-7 explosion.  Since this waste is of the high level variety,
the lifetime is, in some cases,  measured in centuries, not years. 
Lifetime of radiation is measured by half-life.  This is the time
it takes for a given amount a radioactive substance to lose half
its activity through natural decay.  To take one example,
Uranium238, some of which may have been discharged in the 1993
incident, has a half life of 4.5 billion years.(The Nuclear Waste
Primer 1993, 15)

25.  Substitutes: Regulatory Standard

F.   Other Factors

26.  Culture: YES

     The Soviet cult of nuclear secrecy that permeated the Cold War
was believed to have died with the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics.  As it now seems though, the secrecy has once again
taken hold of the Russian government.  As has been described in the
treaty and discourse section, Russia has once again allowed the
government to classify that information concerning the nuclear
industrial complex it deems so necessary.  

27.  Human Rights: YES

     The fact that secrecy still has a grip on the Russian
government means that the people of Russia are still being
persecuted.  The public effects of the Russian nuclear program tell
a far too dangerous story for the worlds population, let alone
Russia.  Enough radiation has been stored or released by the
Russian nuclear weapons program that every square foot of Russia
could be irradiated by the waste. (Dahlburg 1992, A1)

28.  Trans-Boundary Issues: YES

     The industrialized nations, whose ranks Russia wishes to join,
have gone farther in the past decade in expanding and harmonizing
trade relations then at any other time since the end of the Cold
War.  One aspect of trade expansion is the acceptance of the
multiple non-economic factors that play a role in the production
and distribution of goods and services.  In order for Russia to
attain its goal of developing a free market economy, environmental
standards will have to be established.

December 24, 1996