Russian environmentalists have called on Switzerland to halt the export of nuclear waste to Russia. Speaking in Bern, they said Switzerland should take responsibility for disposing of its own nuclear waste.
Addressing a news conference organised by Greenpeace on Monday, two prominent Russian environmentalists, Nathalie Mironova and Aleksandr Nikitin, said Russia had enough ecological problems without Switzerland contributing to them.
Nikitin said: "Switzerland must not burden us with waste that it cannot dispose of itself". Mironova added that states "must take responsibility for the negative effects of their technology".
In a statement, Greenpeace said the Swiss nuclear industry had been lobbying for unrestricted exports of nuclear waste, and that the Russian atomic energy ministry had forced a removal of an import ban on nuclear waste from abroad.
Greenpeace added that the Swiss nuclear industry was trying to conclude a deal whereby it would lease nuclear fuel rods from Russia, and return them once the rods were spent.
Greenpeace said Russians were opposed to lifting the import ban, and that 2.5 million people had signed a petition demanding a referendum on the issue. At the news conference, Mironova said that people living near Russia's nuclear energy complexes "understand the dangers posed by radioactivity, which is why they signed the petition".
The Swiss nuclear lobby and energy ministry were unavailable for comment.