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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians discuss atom shutdown

A select group of Russian legislators met Monday with international experts to discuss the possibility of the immediate shutdown of Russian nuclear plants, Greenpeace officials said.

The 30 legislators and experts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Community, Greenpeace and the private engineering sector took part in a round table discussion to outline concrete steps to permanently close the country's most dangerous Cher-nobyl-type reactors.

The meeting, formally "The Parliamentary Roundtable on Rational Electricity Management", hopes to come up with nonnuclear alternatives and new ways of implementing efficiency measures.

According to Greenpeace's international campaign coordinator, Dmitry Litvinov, the reactors could all be shut down within five years. Litvinov said that instead of trying to fix the reactors, it would be more effective and cheaper to supply energy with alternative fuels.

Greenpeace contends that a combination of improved energy efficiency and the "repowering" of turbines of the plants with natural gas will bring the risk of a severe accident down to zero without imposing power cuts on consumers.

"This roundtable is a positive step to overcome a very serious international crisis", said Stuart Boyle, the director of Greenpeace's Energy Policy Unit.

"The participants here have tried to demonstrate that the shutdown of the reactors is totally feasible in the short term and that there is absolutely no reason to hesitate".

The roundtable was requested by the Energy and Industry Committee of the Supreme Soviet after international concern was heightened by the nuclear leak at the Sosnovy Bor reactor near St. Petersburg on March 24 this year.

Greenpeace International, which issued a preliminary plan for reactor shutdowns a month after the accident, organized the roundtable with the Russian parliament.

There are 16 Chernobyl-type reactors, known by the Russian acronym RBMK, in the former Soviet Union, 11 of which are in Russia. Of these 11, seven have already been shut down for repairs.

"There are only four reactors functioning at the moment; these could easily be closed down too", said Litvinov. "After all, there has been no disturbance in the energy supply in this country due to the shutdowns".