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Russian atomic energy official accused of faking safety reviews
[July 20, 2011]

Russian atomic energy official accused of faking safety reviews

MOSCOW, Jul 20, 2011 (dpa - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A senior Russian official faked safety reviews of nuclear power equipment for years by downloading technical studies from the internet and signing his name to them, according to police Wednesday.

Yevgeny Yevstratov, former vice director of Russia's national atomic energy company Rosatom, was detained on suspicion he defrauded the government of some 1.7 million dollars from 2008 -- 2009, an Interior Ministry official said.

Yevstratov served as Russia's chief atomic energy safety inspector from December 2007 through April 2011, according to Interfax.

During this time he filed reports on equipment either in use or planned for use in Russia's nuclear power industry by downloading scientific studies from the internet and claiming he had written them himself, said Denis Sugrobov, an interior ministry spokesman.

Police also have evidence Yevstratov embezzled 2.1 million dollars in government funds earmarked for the construction of two nuclear waste facilities, Sugrobov said.

Yevstratov has been questioned as a suspect but has not been formally charged, and police investigation is continuing, he said.

Russia is one of the world's leaders in nuclear power technologies, however, critics have claimed professional standards at Rosatom and other Russian companies working in atomic energy are lower than in developed nations.

Rosatom officials have said their kit and procedures are at least as good as the international competition, and almost always lower in cost.

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