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People in Kostromo decide against nukes

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(January 24, 1997) In a referendum held on December 8, last year, people in the Kostroma region, northeast of Moscow, voted against the building of a nuclear power plant in the area.

(465.4614) WISE Amsterdam -While the participation rate was only 58.2 percent, 87.44 percent (241,000 people) answered the question "Do you agree with the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Kostroma region?" with a "No."

The local environmental organization, "In the Name of Life", consisting mostly of senior citizens, had been collecting 35,000 signatures, the legally necessary figure to call a referendum. Greenpeace had helped to set up the campaign and has announced plans for any further referendums. "This could be the beginning of the end of nuclear power in Russia. If other communities follow the example of Kostroma, they can stop the construction of nuclear power plants in their district," Eduard Gismatulia of Greenpeace Russia said.

In Russia, the result of a referendum is legally binding upon the government and can be reversed only by another referendum.

In 1983, the construction of a RBMK nuclear power reactor had begun in Kostroma, but as the reactors were of the same type as that in Chernobyl, it was left unfinished in 1986. Recently a new reactor type, WPBER-600, was considered for the site, which had been safeguarded continuously since 1986 by 150 workers.

After the referendum, a spokesman for the Russian Atomic Ministry said there had been no acute plans for a construction, and enough electricity is already being produced in the region. But on January 13, 1997, Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Victor Mikhailov said, referring to the referendum: "We will fight the Greens. They are the most extremist part of the population. No one will stop progress."


  • Die Tageszeitung (FRG), 10 December 1996
  • Reuter, 13 January 1997
  • Greenpeace Press Release, 9 December 1996

Contact: Greenpeace Russia, PO Box 60, 121002 Moscow, Russia
Tel: +7-095-2933261