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  Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Prosecutors in West Siberia said Thursday federal technological safety inspectors investigating a local mine blast
Prosecutors in West Siberia said Thursday federal technological safety inspectors investigating a local mine blast, which left 110 people dead in March, were biased. Following a request by the Kemerovo Region governor to investigate the regulator's activities, prosecutors alleged on their Web site that inspectors working in the region had a conflict of interest in the investigation. The inspectors have not commented on the allegations yet. "The Federal Service for the Oversight of the Environment, Technology and Nuclear Management has virtually free use of the non-residential estate owned by a subsidiary of [mine owner] Yuzhkuzbassugol," the prosecutors said. The head of the technological regulator in the Kemerovo Region, Andrei Malakhov, tendered his resignation earlier Thursday, saying his disagreed with policies pursued by the regulator's leadership. On Wednesday, the federal watchdog cited tampering with the safety equipment as the cause of the blast at the Yubileinaya mine May 24. The same cause had been given for the previous explosion at the Ulyanovskaya mine March 19. Governor Aman Tuleyev refused to sign the inquiry report on the Yubileinaya mine blast Thursday, saying the investigation had been biased. He asked Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to appoint a new commission for the inquiry. Yuzhkuzbassugol, one of Russia's largest coal producers, is the owner of the two mines in the Kemerovo Region, which were rocked by methane explosions in March and May, leaving a total of 149 dead.
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