Although Latvia is a nuclear-free country, we have one radioactive waste repository, Radon. How come? During the Soviet period, research reactors were built in all Soviet satellite countries. Reactors produced waste that needed to be stored somewhere.
The Latvian reactor is located in Salaspils and was closed in 1998. Radon is located in Baldone, not too far from the capital, Riga, and Salaspils. Radon was built in 1962 and the place where it is located is very close to an inhabited locality.
Radon was specified for storage of low and medium radioactive waste. Until 1972, only local radioactive waste was stored there, later waste from other Soviet states was brought to Latvia. In 1986 protective garments from Chernobyl were stored there too. There is no import of radioactive waste to Latvia because it is forbidden by Latvian law.
Since Baldone is an inhabited locality, local citizens and the municipality are not happy about its existence and especially – about the Government’s plans to extend Radon. The decision about the extension was made already in 1991, but due to various reasons this plan was never implemented. In 2008 the Latvian government came up with a new decision, similar to the previous one: to build 2 new containers (right now there are 7 containers in Radon), which was followed by protests of inhabitants of Baldone. They collected 3000 signatures against the extension. It is a very good indicator of the anti-Radon mood, because they have population of only 6000 people.
The locals say that the presence of Radon produces discomfort and prejudice about Baldone, which gives negative effect on Baldone’s development and there are not many people willing to buy a real estate in the area. Some locals have gathered into an NGO “Musu Baldone” (Our Baldone), which went to Administrative Court. In their claim the NGO wrote that the decision about the extension was unlawful, so it cannot be implemented. The hearing was held on September 16th 2010. The verdict was announced on October 7th and it rejected the “Musu Baldone” claim. The NGO announced on their webpage they will appeal this decision. I suppose that passions about the extension will continue for a while.
More information: Unfortunately most information is in Latvian. Use Google Chrome, Google Translate or contact me for additional information.
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