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21.07.2010 19:44 - Exposing nuclear secrets
Автор: gikotev Категория: Други   
Прочетен: 1696 Коментари: 0 Гласове:

A nuclear physicist denounces unsafe practices at a Bulgarian nuclear power plant but European institutions are deaf to his pleas.


What Georgi Kotev is trying to uncover is more than just a dodgy deal between greedy businessmen. It is a criminal case in which the actors knowingly profit from activities that put human lives and the health of the environment at risk. If it were a hollywood movie, Steven Segal would have already come to the rescue of this 44 year old nuclear physicist who has dedicated the past two years of his life to revealing the truth about the dangerous trade in nuclear waste. But although his story sounds like the plot of a gripping bestseller, the truth is that Georgi Kotev stands alone. With his finger firmly pointed at Russian, Bulgarian and European nuclear giants he waits, patiently but tiredly, outside the European Commission in Brussels for someone to listen to him.

The story starts at the beginning of 2007, when Kotev, an employee of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in northern Bulgaria, first notices that there was something wrong with the nuclear fuel being used in the plant. In 2004 the Kozloduy NPP had begun phasing-in a new kind of fuel which subsequent investigations suggest is reprocessed fuel from Russia. As Greenpeace reveals in a 2005 report, Europe"s Radioactive Secret, European countries began sending their spent nuclear fuel to Russia in the 1990s, 10% of which is reprocessed and sent back to Europe. What happens to the remaining 90% remains a mystery. Or did, until Kotev began his investigations.

In the summer of 2007 Kotev contacted officers from what was then the National Security Service (NSS) expressing his fears that Kozloduy NPP was handling unsafe nuclear fuel and that there could be unpredictable and dangerous consequences. By the time the findings are released, the NSS has become the State Agency for National Security (SANS). Their inquiry revealed that the new fuel was in all probability reprocessed fuel and that it did not meet with safety requirements as no safety analysis report was ever carried out on it. But at that point the SANS refused take matters further. Other inspections followed, in 2008, but again led to nothing as did the pre-trial Kotev was summoned to in 2009.

On June 23, 2008 Kotev decides to leave Bulgaria to push his cause forward somewhere safer. Settling in Vienna, he sought the help of the local police and tried to meet with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials. The meeting lasted 10 minutes and the future meetings he had been promised all fell through.

Today, Kotev lives a train ride away from Brussels. For a few brief hours he pitched a tent in Schuman Square but was promptly kicked out by police and he now spends his days protesting in front of the European Commission. Early last week he had announced hunger strike but says he isn"t interested in dying of starvation: “my goal … is to draw attention to the problem and cause an investigation”.

VITAeurope spoke to him on the telephone last night. 

You are fighting a difficult battle. Can you explain why?

My aim is to uncover a crime. Seven European countries currently export spent nuclear fuel to Russia and less than 10% of it is recycled [reprocessed]. No one knows what happens to the rest. I know that the Russian nuclear company DVEL is recycling the rest of this waste and distributing it to Bulgarian nuclear plants for experimental operations. This has been going on since 2004 and the fuel used in Bulgarian nuclear plants is not licensed, nothing about it is known, no safety analysis report has been carried out for it. This document is the most important document for any nuclear power plant around the world and the fact that it doesn"t exist means that Bulgaria is not paying the full price that fresh fuel costs, as it is not fresh fuel, it is recycled. 

You have been trying to engage with European institutions for two years with no success?

Yes, all I have met are walls and resistance, most recently the Bulgarian Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov refused to meet me. What is more, five days ago [July 15] when I was protesting in a tent I set up in the Schuman square in central Brussels, I was thrown out by the Belgian police. They asked me to destroy my tent and leave the square, which is against my human rights. They insisted I leave the square, there was no reason for me to leave but they threatened to take me to the Police station if I didn"t. This is my second week of protest here in Brussels – now that I am not allowed in the Schuman square I started protesting in front of the Commission yesterday [July 19].

Do you have proof of the serious allegations you are making?

Yes. I have more than one thousand pages documenting these illegal activities. I published everything and explained everything in my blog, my enemies know about this and I think this is why no investigation is being carried out, because they know that I have more than enough proof against them.

What about a lawyer?

Not exactly. The Bulgarian justice system obliges prosecutors to investigate their cases, but Bulgarian prosecutors are very, very corrupt. My enemies are rich and can afford to pay them in order to prevent the justice system from working. So working within the legal framework nationally is practically impossible, this is the picture.

And you lost your job at the power plant?

Yes. I lost my job in Kozloduy NPP two years ago, I was tricked by a Bulgarian scientist who convinced me to resign promising me that he would help me with my cause. But he was a liar. As a result I spent two years working in Italy at Pisa University. Two weeks ago I left Italy to come to Brussels in order to fight the final battle.

You must have been contacted by lots of journalists...

Not exactly. There has been little interest from national media. In general neither the Bulgarian government nor the Bulgarian media have been interested in the case. No one knows why but it is a fact.

What do you hope to achieve?

First of all I want European institutions, like the Commission to guarantee me protection and give me the possibility of working exclusively on this case. I want an immediate investigation into this crime and I want it to be taken to a court of law.

Are you worried for your safety?

Of course. But I think that if my enemies hurt me or kill me then it will prove that I am right. I know I am right, I know 100% that I am right and if they were to hurt me every one else would know too.  

by Vita Sgardello

Read Georgi Kotev"s blog: http://gikotev.blog.bg

Тагове:   secrets,


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