Vladimir Putin familiarises himself with the operations of the Emergencies Ministry’s situation centre in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and holds a meeting on the accident at Japan’s Fukushima 1 nuclear power station
19 march 2011
The prime minister was shown an on-screen map of the region, which displayed the direction in which the radiation propagates and the distance from the Fukushima 1 nuclear power station to the nearest Russian community. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is 980 km away and Khabarovsk is 1,211 km away. Another screen in the Emergencies Ministry’s situation centre displayed real-time data on radiation levels. The background radiation level in the Sakhalin Region is still within the accepted limits – in the range of 5 to 16 micro-roentgens per hour. The critical level is 30 micro-roentgens per hour.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s speech at a meeting in the Emergencies Ministry’s Situation Centre in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk:
Good evening, colleagues,
I will not speak at length about the tragedy that struck our friends and neighbours in Japan – all of you know very well what has happened. First, I want to make sure that there is proper control of the situation on Russian territory. What I saw today here in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, in the crisis response centre, convinces me that it is indeed so – operations are running as they should. They are being conducted around the clock, and specialists from all the appropriate agencies are involved.
Nevertheless, let’s talk about each region. I would like to hear from the leaders in the Far East and from the professionals. Two of our colleagues, who are nuclear energy specialists, returned a few hours ago from Japan, where they had the opportunity to learn about the current situation, to meet and talk with their counterparts. These are Vladimir Asmolov, deputy director general of Rosenergoatom, a man with extensive experience, including in the cleanup effort at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, and Valery Strizhov, deputy director for the development of integrated software systems for safety analysis of nuclear power stations. I first give the floor to Vladimir Asmolov and ask him to say a few words about his impressions of the situation in Japan and to give his forecast for the medium and long term.
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Vladimir Putin's closing remarks:
Colleagues, we are well aware of what happened in Japan. We sympathise with Japan, the Japanese, and mourn all those who lost their lives in the earthquake, due to the aftershocks and the tsunamis. And of course, the victims of the disaster at the nuclear power station.
According to all the forecasts from our experts, and as practice has shown in the last few days, there was and is a 100 percent probability of aftershocks... Our experts forecast, calculate and map a scenario for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, they report, and then we see it become a reality – it is happening exactly the way they predicted. This, of course, is a testament to the level of our nuclear power technology and the level of education that our scientists have, and generally to the level of the Russian education system, first of all.
Secondly, in this respect, we have no reason to doubt these forecasts from our experts even for a second.
Thirdly, apparently, with great difficulty, and maybe with errors – now let’s not jump to any hasty conclusions – our Japanese colleagues are gradually taking control of the situation. Yes, of course, they will not be able to control it completely, given that they already have a situation at the station, but in general they are gradually regaining control.
And fourthly, the most important thing – the Russian government and the regional authorities have not laid out any negative scenario for the Russian Federation. And today, I reiterate, the situation is nominal. And it can even be said that the radiation levels are even lower than usual in many regions of the Far East.
Nevertheless, we are monitoring the radiation levels across all areas – the background radiation levels – and we will continue to monitor the goods and people that arrive from Japan. We must be thoroughly prepared for any developments at the Japanese nuclear power stations.
I want to thank you all for your professionalism and responsible attitude to your work. Note that all of our agencies are functioning as they should in this situation. This includes both the tsunami warning system and the evacuation plan, plus the evacuation of people in tsunami-threatened areas. This also includes being prepared for any adverse developments related to the Japanese nuclear power stations. Everything worked. And I want to thank you for that, but please continue focusing on these problems. Thank you very much.