MINATOM has denied there are likely to be problems at nuclear plants due to the millennium bug problem. The ministry was responding to an article in The New York Times which cited a Cental Intelligence Agency report forecasting possible malfunctions at Russian and Ukrainian plants.
“MINATOM has checked Russian nuclear power plants’ preparedness to handle the 2000 threshold,” says a ministry statement. “Reactors will not malfunction and no other safety hazards will occur, despite the CIA prognosis.” The millennium bug problem is a result of two digit dates in computer programmes which confuse the year 2000 with 1900.
“I can boldly declare that nothing anywhere near as terrible will happen as we are being frightened with,” said deputy prime minister Ilya Klebanko. “That said, we are taking precautionary measures.” Rosenergoatom says some auxiliary systems at its nuclear plants may be affected, but it has found no problems with the safety of main atomic power generating units.
Klebanov also dismissed concerns over Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Russian and US military personnel have agreed to spend New Year’s Eve sitting together in a missile command centre in Colorado to prevent any misunderstandings.