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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

No threat of nuke explosion at Russia's Sarov nuclear center - Rosatom chief

RIA Novosti

17:36 04/08/2010

MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - There is no threat of a nuclear explosion at the Sarov Federal Nuclear Center surrounded by wildfires since all the explosive materials have been removed, the head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency Rosatom said on Wednesday.

"Even in this extreme situation on the verge of a natural disaster under heavy winds it is possible to guarantee that there is no threat to the nuclear security or to radioactive security, as well as no threat of an explosion of the center," Sergei Kirienko said.

He said the only risk Russia faces over the wildfires near Sarov is damage to the expensive scientific equipment and the stopping of producing important state orders.

The Russian Interior Ministry has already sent an additional 800 troops and firefighting equipment to douse the fires around the center.

Earlier Kirienko said over 3,000 people, four helicopters, four airplanes and 30 fire trucks were involved in putting out wildfires in proximity to the Sarov nuclear center.

"Due to the joint efforts of all the units most of the hot spots have been localized," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

According to the latest reports by the Russian Emergencies Ministry, the wildfires raging across central Russia has already killed at least 48 people, and have left over 3,000 homeless. Around 1,900 houses were destroyed. The fires have been sparked by temperatures up to and above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the heads of Russian regions to "clean up their act" on wildfires, adding they would be held personally responsible for building new homes for the victims of the wildfires.

He also demanded that officials tighten fire safety regulations.

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