|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Academician Velikhov: This Is Not Chernobyl
March 12 (EIRNS)A nuclear accident like the one at Chernobyl in Ukraine will not happen in Japan, Russian Academician Yevgeni Velikhov, president of the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center, said today in a brief but widely distributed statement. "There is no graphite there, nothing to burn up," referring to the graphite-moderated reactor design involved in the 1986 accident.
Velikhov declined to comment further, in the absence of "professional information" or a Japanese request for Russian consultations, according to NEWSru.com. ITAR-TASS quoted Kurchatov Institute Deputy Director Yaroslav Shtombakh, who called the Japanese nuclear plant situation "unpleasant," but added: "I think everything will remain limited to the territory of the plant, without a big catastrophe," as long as the crisis is handled with professional skill.
Also today, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Russian energy officials to aid Japan with energy supplies. Meeting with Deputy PM for Energy Policy Igor Sechin, Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko, and a deputy Emergency Situations Minister, Putin also instructed them to put available resources and personnel in the Russian Far East on mobilization. Sechin reported that Japan has requested an immediate boost in fuel for the power industry, to help make up for the loss of nuclear-generated power in the wake of the earthquake.
Despite weeks of rising bilateral tension over the disputed four southern Kurile Islands, Putin called Japan "our neighbor, a friendly neighbor," and said that "despite various problems, we should be reliable partners and do everything possible to help with energy raw materials supplies after this destructive earthquake and the tsunami."