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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechnya Site Leaking Radiation

VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia -- Officials said Friday that a site for burial of radioactive waste in the separatist region of Chechnya emits radiation strong enough to kill a person within days.

Radiation at the site near Chiri-Yurt is about 3,000 micro roentgens per hour -- more than 100 times safe levels, NTV reported. The report didn't give the size of the contaminated area.

Radioactive waste had been delivered to the site from across the former Caucasus republics of the Soviet Union from 1965 to 1992, the year when Chechnya started to claim more independence from Russia, NTV said.

The site, home to a radioactive waste treatment plant and waste storage facilities, has apparently suffered damage in the ensuing 1994-96 war and the current war that started in 1999.

The facilities hadn't been guarded until recently, allowing theft of radioactive items, Abdul Khamadov, director of Chechnya's radioactive safety center, told NTV. An elderly Chechen was installed to watch the site a month ago.

The Chechen minister for emergencies, Ruslan Aytayev, said the site would be decontaminated "as soon as adequate funds are received," and that a contract for the work has already been signed, Itar-Tass reported.

Earlier, NTV reported that the commander of Russian troops in Chechnya, Lieutenant General Vladimir Moltenskoi, requested Chechnya's Emergency Situations Ministry to clean up the site, but the ministry said the plant itself should tackle it.