Rosatom says pandemic restrictions are easing but urges caution

9 June 2020

The director general of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev released a new video message for industry employees on 5 June, in which he said the coronavirus pandemic had reached a plateau.

“It is obvious that the rate of increase in incidence is gradually decreasing. Moreover, which is very important, the number of de-registrations is growing - people are recovering and returning to work.”

He also noted that several regions with nuclear facilities (Leningrad, Kursk, Smolensk, Tver, Rostov and Chelyabinsk regions) had begun lifting restrictive measures.

“But, colleagues, despite the positive signals, we have no right to relax," Likhachev said. "Now, much will depend on self-discipline not only at work, but also in everyday life. All sanitary and epidemiological measures should become an integral part of production similar to the mandatory observance of nuclear, radiation, industrial safety, labour protection. Protecting people from infection will enter the general safety culture of the nuclear industry.”

He said the number of new cases was around 35 a day. On 4 June, 596 people from the industry were [infected], including 136 being treated in hospitals. However, 325 people were released, with a further 250 expected be released in a week.

Likhachev emphasised that the current mode of activity will continue until the end of the epidemic and quarantine. “We make maximum use of the possibilities of remote work... The use of personal protective equipment remains mandatory. We limit business trips. And, of course, we are guided by heads of regions, the Rospotrebnadzor and doctors.”

He said measures to protect against illness would be part of life for a long time. “We have already learned how to use them. Now we need to show leadership in introducing new standards in production and everyday life. I appeal to our caring colleagues, support teams for changes at Rosatom. I ask you to expand the work on clarification of new rules and norms, their inclusion in the safety culture.” 

On other matters, Likhachev said there was “good news in solving production problems”. 

Nuclear regulator Rostekhnadzor is assessing the readiness for physical start-up of Leningrad II-2 and that it is expected to take place in "mid-summer," Likhachev said.

He also noted that work is underway in Andreeva Bay to remove used nuclear fuel and that Rosatom is working on the possibility of expanding work on the recovery and disposal of nuclear and radiation-hazardous facilities sunk in the Kara Sea. "This is very important for safe shipping in the northern sea route and the environmental well-being of the entire Arctic region,” Likhachev said.

Photo caption: Leningrad II-2 is expected to start up this summer (Credit: Rosenergoatom)

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