Prague, 12 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into a nuclear recycling facility that has allegedly been dumping radioactive waste.
Deputy Prosecutor General Yuri Zolotov said his office is investigating the Mayak nuclear facility near the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk, some 1,500 kilometers east of Moscow.
Zolotov said the radiation level in the nearby Techa river was several time above normal levels.
Mayak produced nuclear weapons during Soviet days but now is Russia's main plant for processing nuclear waste.
Olga Podonoseva of the Ural Environmental Union called the Mayak facility quote "the world's worst nuclear polluter."
Environmentalists have long warned that artificial lakes containing radioactive waste are filled to capacity and could burst into the region's rivers contaminating a huge area. (AP)