Author`s name Michael Simpson

Military Ask to Forgive "Sins" of Plesetsk

The problem of ecological safety is especially pressing now, at the beginning of the 21st century when more and more missile starts are planned to be performed
Representatives of Russia's Arkhangelsk region, the territory on which remains of half-burnt mother missiles fall when missiles are launched, took part in the 5th Scientific seminar held on the initiative of the Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow. That was the only region of Russia that participated in the seminar held in the 4th Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense. Representatives of the Arkhangelsk regional administration, of the Northern Medicine University and the regional central department for natural resources management delivered reports at the seminar. Valery Stanislavits from the Arkhangelsk regional administration once again spoke about the influence of missile activity in the region upon its environment. Regional mass media in Arkhangelsk focus more and more attention on the problem now. The space center Plesetsk has been operating on the territory of the region for 45 years already; over 2,000 missiles starts were performed within this period. While the Russian territories across Ural are under the threat of contamination with second stages of missiles only, the Arkhangelsk region together with the Nenetsk autonomous area seriously suffer from falling of separated carrier rocket parts (out of the total number of 13 areas where parts of missiles drop, 9 are on the territory of the Arkhangelsk region) as the degree of contamination is very high there. These are areas where mother missiles with remains of unburned fuel drop. The total area covered with zones where remains of missiles fall makes up over 1.5 million hectares in the Arkhangelsk region and about 3 million hectares in the Nenetsk autonomous area.    

The problem of ecological safety is especially pressing now, at the beginning of the 21st century as the Russian Ministry of Defense and Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center are planning to increase the number of missile launching from the Plesetsk cosmodrome soon. Works on development of new missile complexes Rokot, Angara and Soyuz-2 are underway now. The Arkhangelsk regional administration got no official information from Plesetsk concerning commercial usage of the territories where separated missile stages drop while launching of space vehicles. This in its turn means that no compensation was paid to the Arkhangelsk regional budget for usage of these territories. A special agreement "On terms of episodic missile usage on the territory of the Arkhangelsk region" was concluded between the Ministry of Defense (the strategic purpose missile troops) and the Arkhangelsk regional administration. In accordance with the agreement, in addition to other obligations, strategic purpose missile troops must make compensation payments to the regional budget for one-time usage of regions where missile stages drop after launching from the cosmodrome. This regulation concerns missile launching with the exception of those ones performed for the sake of security and defense of the country which are provided by the federal space program. The regulation contradicts the federal law "On environmental protection" which main principle says that everyone who pollutes the environment must pay. Compensation payments don't exempt organizations using natural resources from reparation of damages caused to the environment, including missile launching activity. A governmental decree #350 of March 24, 1998 allows the Ministry of Defense (and the Plesetsk space center was built for solution of military objectives) to pollute the territory of the region with remains of missile and unburned fuel from time to time for free. Certainly, the Arkhangelsk regional administration insists that the governmental decree must be revised in the interests of the Russian Federation subjects and for the sake of improvement of their ecological situation. It is said that an optimal variant of an agreement between the region and the Ministry of Defense would satisfy both sides.