Wednesday, Oct 16 2019
All Cities
Choose Your City
'That time Barnaul was undoubtedly the most cultural corner of Siberia. I named it Siberian Athens'
Pyotr Tyan-Shanskiy, 1856

Siberian oilfield to be developed with China was site of Soviet nuclear blasts

By The Siberian Times reporter
29 October 2013

Officials deny any risk of atomic contamination from the site in Sakha Republic.

Blasts at the field were intended to increase flows from oil-bearing rock and also create a storage reservoir. Picture: vsem-irk.ru

At least seven 'peaceful' nuclear blasts were conducted at the Srednebotuobinskoye oilfield in the 1970s and 1980s. The site is now to be jointly developed with the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) under a deal inked with Russian oil giant Rosneft. Concerns over pollution raised by ecologists have been rejected by both government  and Rosneft officials, who both deny any sign of radioactive abnormality. 

'Indeed, there were nuclear explosions performed at the site,' a spokesman for the environment ministry in Sakha - also known as Yakutia - confirmed to international news agency Reuters.

Blasts at the field were intended to increase flows from oil-bearing rock and also create a storage reservoir.

'Radiological examination of the deposits and the production extracted from them shows that no radionuclides have reached the surface - including in the oil,' said a company spokesman.'We analyse all the risks, including radioactive ones. If a field has been allocated for development, that means we consider there to be no risks,' said a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources in Moscow.

Srednebotuobinskoye oilfield

At least seven 'peaceful' nuclear blasts were conducted at the Srednebotuobinskoye oilfield in the 1970s and 1980s. Picture: vsem-irk.ru

Warnings came from a number of sources. 'Of course, there is danger from such deposits. The nuclides last for a long time after blasts and may leak to the surface,' said Alexei Yablokov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and an environmental activist. 

'Humankind has little experience with deposits where nuclear explosions were carried out,' Viktor Repin of the St Petersburg Institute of Radioactive Hygiene, which has monitored the radioactive situation in Sakha, told Reuters. He claimed  two nuclear blasts in the region, at diamond deposits, 'got out of control'. 'In one explosion, radioactive materials leaked out,' he said, adding the site was covered with earth to make it safe.

Vladimir Chuprov, a nuclear expert at Greenpeace Russia, referring to the reactor disasters in Ukraine and Japan, said: 'Any nuclear explosion resembles what happens in a reactor - and the blasts at Chernobyl and Fukushima. The results are the same: the emission of radionuclides, including strontium-90 and caesium. There is a risk that the oil will be contaminated.'

The Srednebotuobinskoye field holds oil and gas condensate reserves of more than 134 million tonnes and over 155 billion cubic metres of gas. Output from the field started this month. Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin signed an agreement last week that would raise Rosneft''s exports to China to more than 1 million barrels per day.

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


News

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR71.05USD64.35GBP81.90Other...