bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 18.03.2019 | Name days: Ilona, Adelīna
LatviaLatvia

Radioactive pollution found in fuel used by Rīgas Siltums

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUA new precedent took place this summer – radioactive pollution was found in fuel used by Rīgas Siltums.

So far it has been determined in the investigation that the source of radioactive pollution came from wood chips imported from Belarus. A six-month monitoring period has been established for Rīgas Siltums. This is an unprecedented case for the State Environment Service. An inspection has commenced to determine if this was an isolated or systematic case, as reported by Nekā Personīga.

SIA Getliņi EKO board chairman Imants Stirāns says upon entering Getliņi, all vehicles go through radiation screening gates. «If radiation exceeds permitted levels, the vehicle gets detained.»

Nekā Personīga reports that radiation screening gates were triggered at Getliņi landfill on 14 June. «There were no antique clocks, medical equipment or other items that usually have a high level of ionized radiation in the container».

Stirāns says the detained container held ashes of wood chips. «Wood chips were used as fuel by one of Rīgas Siltums’ boiler house in Zasulauks. Radiation specialists called in concluded that the radiation screening gates at Getliņi landfill were not mistaken. Lab tests showed that concentration of radioactive pollution exceeded permitted levels four to six times.»

The programme reports that Rīgas Siltums has halted the function of four boiler houses for more than a month. These include boiler houses in Daugavgrīva, Vecmīlgrāvis, Ziepniekkalns and Zasulauks. No excessive radiation levels were recorded at any of them. Nevertheless, workers were issued with radiation measuring devices and trained in their use. Radiation screening gates were also installed to control wood chip suppliers. Rīgas Siltums did not inform its owners [Riga City Council, Latvian State, SIA Enerģijas risinājumi, RIX, AS Latvenergo] of this incident.

Vice-chairman of the council in Rīgas Siltums and Economy Ministry’s representative Kaspars Lore says: «Of course, employees were worried what this means and if there are any risks for their health. It was a lesson for all of us. The way the management of Rīgas Siltums reacted was serious: they helped clear things up.»

«Soon enough the origin of the problematic cargo of wood chips was uncovered. Due to intense rainfall last autumn, Agriculture Minister had declared a state of emergency for forestry. Local companies were unable to supply wood chips, and so R Grupa, which imports wood chips, got its hands on the procurement offer,» the programme adds.

The Chernobyl disaster, which happened 32 years ago, is considered to be the biggest nuclear catastrophe in world history. Ukraine’s neighobouring countries still suffer from the consequences of this disaster. State Environment Service’s Radiation Security Centre was not concerned about the radioactive cargo and instead of recommending its destruction the service advised Rīgas Siltums to mix it with regular ashes to reduce concentration of radiation in it, Nekā Personīga stresses.

When asked about the recommendation to mix radioactive ashes with non-radioactive ones and have them delivered to Getliņi, SES director general Inga Koļegova said SES was inspired by Lithuania’s practice in this matter.

She explains: «This decision – to mix radioactive ashes with non-radioactive ones, was made to meet requirements of the Cabinet of Ministers regarding concentration of radioactive particles to make it permissible for them to be buried at the landfill. In recent years Lithuania has applied increased control over radioactive wood chips and granules important from Belarus. The country has also applied stricter requirements in relation to permissible radiation concentration levels.»

Deputy Director of the Radiation Security Centre Mārīte Čaikovska: «Lithuania, which is right next to Belarus, has established criteria for wood fuel. Those criteria were developed based on many, many scientific studies. We would be happy to introduce analogous criteria, but we have not performed similar studies.»

The programme claims neither the environment service nor minister Kaspars Gerhards see any reason for stricter regulations. R Grupa company will continue cooperating with Rīgas Siltums until October 2019, because the company won in the procurement project for supply of wood chips for this year’s heating season, Nekā Personīga reports.

AS Rīgas Siltums board member Raivis Elliņš says of all the offers the company had received the one from R Grupa was the cheapest. He says «past contracts did not include permissible radiation concentration levels, whereas now they do. I doubt it is financially beneficial for them to continue supplying cargoes to us’. He stresses: ‘We will no longer accept [their] cargoes. So there are no risks any more.»

Nekā Personīga mentions that increased radiation levels were also recorded in some private company this summer. On 12 June, a container of wood chip ashes from Rīgas enerģija was not allowed to enter Getliņi. The radiation level was the same as the one recorded for the cargo from Rīgas Siltums.

The programme adds: «The company is indirectly owned by Māris Martinsons’ family. Companies associated with Martinsons often receive orders from Riga municipality, especially if Riga Vice-Mayor Andris Ameriks is the managing them.»

When asked if the aforementioned cases were only coincidental, AS Rīgas Siltums council chairman Vjačeslavs Stepaņenko said: «I will not comment on those two cases because I do not have information regarding the entry of some cargo with excessive radiation concentration. But if wood chips come from the same suppliers, perhaps our colleagues may have experienced something similar in the past.»

The programme adds that Rīgas enerģija lost its MPC permit this year because police suspect the company cheated during the CHP plant commissioning test. Nevertheless, its contract with Rīgas Siltumu remains in force.


Leave a reply

Latvian prime minister urges sorting the system, not raising taxes

A number of sectors require reforms to avoid raising taxes to increase revenue, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš during a meeting of Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee on Monday, 18 March.

Stoltenberg calls NATO the most successful alliance in world history

NATO is the strongest, most successful alliance in history, wrote NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an article dedicated to the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Heavy rainfall in Indonesia causes floods and landslides; death toll reaches 77

Approximately 77 people have been killed in mountain villages hit by floods and landslides caused by intense rainfall in Indonesia’s Papua Province, according to the latest information reported by Indonesian authorities.

Number of job vacancies in Latvia up 33.4% in 2018

In 2018, there were 22.7 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which is 5.7 thousand vacancies or 33.4 % more than in 2017.

Swedbank: more than 1,400 Latvian families purchased property in regions last year

In 2018, Swedbank had issued more than 1,400 loans for property purchases within 50 km radius around Riga. This is an average of six loans issued every work day, as reported by Swedbank representative Jānis Krops.

Minister: Latvia may require radical image change because of finance sector’s problems

Considering the problems in the country’s finance sector, it will be necessary to work on radically changing the country’s image, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Riga Mayor’s wife suspected of dubious employed in public water supply company

For eight years Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs’ office manager Iveta Strautiņa-Ušakova worked as a consultant for municipal water supply company Rīgas Ūdens, as reported by LTV investigative journalism programme De Facto.

Latvian Centre Party to take part in European Parliament elections

A list of candidates compiled by Centre Party from Latvia has been submitted for European Parliament elections. The list is composed of fifteen candidates. This makes it the fifth list of candidates to be submitted for EP elections in Latvia so far, as reported by Central Election Commission.

Air temperature in Latvia to stay positive this week; more precipitation expected

Weather will be dominated by cyclone activity this week. Wind speed will also increase in the country’s western parts in the first half of the week. At the end of the week, air temperature to become chilly at night, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Week in Lithuania. N-plant invites bids for repository construction contract

Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which was shut down a decade ago and is now being decommissioned, invited bids for the construction of a 100-million-euro near surface repository for low and intermediate level short-lived radioactive waste.

BNN summary of the week: when is Brexit? Estonia’s government worries; more problems with Rīgas satiksme

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Attempt; Decision; Investigation; Scandal; Legislation; Expectation.

Suspect in criminal case leaves post in Alkom-Trans

SIA Alkom-Trans chairman Aleksandrs Krjačeks, who is a suspect in a criminal case regarding SIA Rīgas satiksme’s procurements, has decided to step down, according to information from Lursoft.

Eurostat: Latvia had higher annual inflation than average in EU and Eurozone

In February 2019, Latvia’s inflation was higher than the average in European Union and Eurozone, according to data published by Eurostat on Friday, 15 March.

Harmony and New Harmony to compete for seats in European Parliament

Association of parties Alternative Party, which received only 0.34% support from voters in the recent Saeima elections, has decided to start in upcoming European Parliament elections with a new name – New Harmony, as reported by Latvijas Radio.

ABLV Bank’s liquidators recover assets worth EUR 37.938 million in February

In February 2019, liquidators of ABLV Bank had successfully recovered assets worth EUR 37.938 million, which is 21% less than a month prior, according to the annual account published in Latvian Herald.

Polish Catholic church reveals mass child sex abuse by clergy

The administration of the Polish Catholic Church has stated it has since 1990 registered child sex abuse affecting 625 underage victims by 382 clergymen. Poland's Catholic Church authorities revealed the data on Thursday, March 14.

Insurer: children receive 11% more injuries during school breaks

During school breaks the frequency at which children receive injuries is 11% higher when compared to the year’s average, according to data from BTA Baltic Insurance Company.

Survey: one-fifth of Latvian residents do not protect their data on mobile phones

Although modern smartphones have several security options that help protect user data, results of a survey by Samsung Electronics Baltics show that 19% of Latvian residents do not use any of those data protection options.

Estonia's Ratas rejects Verhofstadt's opinion on coalition with anti-migrant party

Belgian member of the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group, has urged acting Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas not to build a government coalition with the anti-migrant Conservative People's Party of Estonia.

Opinion: Baltic residents have cooled down towards Russian-Ukrainian conflict

Ever since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula five years ago it seems a ‘cooling process’ has begun among residents of Baltic States in relation to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, said University of Latvia researcher Mārtiņš Kaprāns in an interview to LNT programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 15 March.

New Zealand shaken by tragic terror attacks in mosques

40 people have lost their lives in New Zealand, where terror attacks have been committed in two mosques in the city Christchurch today, according to the country's government. The tragic events have taken place on Friday, March 15.

Minister: EC should not be allowed to cut financing to countries with low court independence

From the perspective of the European Union’s legislation and democracy, European Commission should not be given rights to halt funding only because EC thinks the rule of law is insufficient in some country, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

EU's Tusk to call for long delay of Brexit

European Council President Donald Tusk has said he will invited to EU leaders «to be open to a long extension» of the Brexit deadline, if the UK needs to rethink its strategy and get consensus after it decided to ask for a delay.

Weather to remain rainy in Latvia; air temperature expected above 0° C

At the end of the week, a cyclone will approach Latvia from Scandinavia’s side, which will bring rain and wet snow to many parts of Latvia, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Latvian Saeima votes to make mental healthcare more accessible

In the near future, it is planned to significantly improve accessibility of mental healthcare in Latvia. The goal is to provide residents with evidence-based, modern, quality mental healthcare. This is provided by the Plan to Improve Access to Mental Health Care for 2019-2020 approved announced at the State Secretaries meeting of Thursday, 14 March, as confirmed by Healthcare Ministry’s representative Anna Strapcāne.