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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

03/27/1992

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Apathy, disgust typify reaction to nuclear accident

On the streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow, Tuesday's nuclear accident at Sasnovyi seemed to make little impression on a population already overwrought with the problems of daily survival. ""People here live, struggle and survive"", said Kira Petrovna, one of several women standing in line on Gertsen Street in St. Petersburg. The women were much more concerned with buying sugar than about radiation or iodine poisoning. ""We have other things to worry about"", she said. But the cumulative effect of the news seemed to exasperate others, ""I feel like I'm living on a time bomb"", quipped Konstantin Osipov, a young father and entrepreneur living in St. Petersburg. The usual Russian skepticism toward government information was also apparent in the number of people who refused lo believe reports. ""Generally, I don't know if I believe what they're saying or not"", said Natasha Nalivaiko, a 23-year-old graduate student, interviewed Wednesday on Pushkin Square.

Embassies caught off guard by nuclear accident

For many embassies, caught off-guard by Tuesday's accident at a nuclear power station near St. Petersburg, the episode underscored the importance of reviewing existing emergency plans. Several spokesmen said their embassies have general emergency and evacuation plans, but declined to say whether they had specific plans for dealing with an environmental disaster such as a massive release of radiation into the atmosphere. A consular officer at one Western embassy, who asked that his name be withheld, expressed concern about responses to a nuclear emergency. ""Few of the embassies have specific plans that address such things as where to get fuel, emergency lighting and heating, ample food and water"", he said. ""The episode highlights the crying need for us to consider specifically, with a step-by-step approach, what to do"".
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