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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 05 - 12 January 2018 > Radiation Nation

Radiation Nation

Why Russia is having a meltdown over activists protesting its state nuclear agency

COVER-UPS

@ @marcbennetts1

YURIKA DOBNOV/AFP/GETTY

WHEN RUSSIA’S FSB SECURITY service raided Fyodor Maryasov’s apartment in Siberia last year, the authorities seized his computer and a scathing report he had compiled about Rosatom, the Kremlinowned nuclear corporation. Among other things, the authorities accused him of inciting hatred against nuclear industry employees, an unusual charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years behind bars. “They accused me of revealing state secrets in my report,” the 49-year-old environmental activist says. “But every single thing in it was taken from open sources.”

The raid came as activists are increasingly criticizing Rosatom over a range of issues, including the way it handles nuclear waste. This fall, critics alleged that one of its facilities was the source of a mysterious cloud of radioactive pollution that drifted across Europe.

Cancer rates in the worst-affected areas are between 2.5 and 3.5 times the national average.

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