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Six out of 12 nuclear reactors at the Kurchatov nuclear research institute in Moscow have been shut down and pose no danger
Six out of 12 nuclear reactors at the Kurchatov nuclear research institute in Moscow have been shut down and pose no danger, a deputy director of the institute said Monday. Russian ecologists have repeatedly called for the removal of all nuclear research reactors from the capital, citing radiation and health risks. Moscow is one of the only European capitals with operating nuclear reactors on its territory. "In all, 12 reactors were constructed at the Kurchatov Institute," Andrei Gagarinsky said. "Only six of them remain operational. Another reactor will be shut down soon, and we will continue exploiting [the remaining] five." He added that three of the idled reactors are undergoing uranium removal. Nikolai Ponomaryov-Stepnoi, a vice president of the institute, said the remaining reactors are safe and pose no threat to human health, although some areas at the institute were radioactively contaminated. "There were some areas that were significantly contaminated with radiation, but our specialists have successfully cleared them," Ponomaryov-Stepnoi said. The vice president also said that all reactors still in use at Russia's leading nuclear energy research and development institute have licenses from the Federal Service for the Oversight of the Environment, Technology and Nuclear Management. Ponomaryov-Stepnoi said the institute still operates the oldest reactor in Europe and Asia, the F-1 graphite research reactor, which is very safe. "Physically, the reactor is an excellent shape and can work for hundreds of years," he said. "It is safe, and we can continue using it for scientific experiments." The Kurchatov Institute is funded through the Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology, and federal budget resources represent about 15% of its total financing.
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