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A dangerous neighborhood?

EastRussia figured out if it's possible to live near the cosmodrome

The Vostochny space center, despite scandals, hunger strikes of workers, waste, is being built. In December of this year, the first launch of the rocket is scheduled. The EastRussia Cosmodrome Directorate confirmed - "we have time for December, everyone wants it." Local residents stood waiting: some with hope and joy, and some with horror and a suitcase at hand. Fears are fueling heptyl - even the most distant from astronautics now know this word. EastRussia figured out how safe it was to live near the cosmodrome and whether the fears of residents of the Amur Region were justified.

A dangerous neighborhood?

Spaceport is no more dangerous than the airport

"At the Vostochny cosmodrome, construction of the first stage of launch complexes is ongoing, including the launch pad for the Soyuz-2 family of launch vehicles. After the launch of the first stage of the cosmodrome, it is planned to begin construction of the launch vehicle for the Angara launch vehicles. The Soyuz and the Angara use environmentally safe fuel: kerosene and oxygen. Toxic heptyl is not used in these families, "the press service of Roskosmos soothes us in response to a request that came with cosmic speed. The ministry believes that living in relative proximity to Vostochny’s cosmodrome is no more dangerous than near the airport: “Only rocket launches from the cosmodrome will not be as frequent as the aircraft take off from the airport. And the distance from Vostochny to the nearest populated area is several tens of kilometers ". In questions, Roscosmos "did not notice" heptyl, a highly toxic substance that will be present in the booster blocks.

a traveling mood

Chairman of the Amur ecological club "Ulukitkan" Natalia Kalinina, the optimism of Roskosmos is not reassuring. She says that the mood of the local population is different, some simply panic: "People are joking that in December 2015 will have to leave the Amur region urgently." Even officials who do not openly say anything bad do not express private talk in private conversations No positive emotions, in a word, a suitcase mood. "

Natalya Kalinina believes that the hypothetical risks that environmentalists talked about two years ago are now turning into a real threat. According to her, construction is in a hurry, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin constantly arrives and insists as a spell that the first launch of the rocket should be made in December. "Serious potential danger is represented by launches from the point of view of using one of the most toxic types of fuel, heptyl, it will be in booster blocks. Delivery of heptyl to the cosmodrome, storage, refueling of the booster block, unsuccessful launches, accidents are all human factors. There is a threat of heptyl into the environment. If we talk about the fall of the degrees of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle, there is no heptyl in them, but the environmental risks are associated with fires. The Amur region burns all the time, and strongly, "says seniyah Natalia Kalinina.

It compares the Baikonur and Vostochny cosmodromes. At Baikonur, in the event of an unsuccessful launch, the booster falls into the steppe, in the Amur Region it will be the Zeya River, from which Blagoveshchensk and other cities take water: "If the booster reaches the rivers, we will be left without drinking water. Our proposals for creating emergency water supply sources in the event of such accidents were ignored. This is speaking of how we were heard. "

Natalia Kalinina admits that there were no global successes in protest actions. But there are pleasant surprises: "Roskosmos is one of the most closed organizations, not used to telling the public anything, trying to get around it in every way." If you recall the 2010 hearing, as part of the environmental review, they were held in a small closed city, In this sense, they evolved - held public hearings in the city of Svobodny, organized several information meetings, placed stands with public reception phones, including on the Internet, this is generally a precedent. of this revolution. "

Eco-friendly rockets

Deputy Director for Research of the Institute of Water and Environmental Problems of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor Alexander Puzanov understands the concern of the local population, but believes that the fears are groundless. For three years, experts assessed the impact of large-scale construction on the ecosystem. As a result, 30 volumes were obtained, from which it follows that "the impact of the cosmodrome is very local."

"Eco-friendly kerosene rockets will be used at the Vostochny Spaceport, which are absolutely safe for the launch area and for the area of ​​the fall." Heptil will be only in the vehicles themselves, it has nothing to do with environmental pollution. "We are engaged in the environmental support of launching all types of launch vehicles , Which come from Baikonur.We have a lot of statistics, it has not yet been revealed that there is some negative impact from the launching of missiles, even if there is an accident, everything will burn in dense layers of the atmosphere, "- Professor Puzanov.

He emphasizes that all project cycles have passed the state expertise, there was also a state environmental impact assessment, everything is done in compliance with environmental legislation. “They didn’t just start chopping and digging. The radiation background is normal, we’ve all carefully examined, the normal ecological and chemical, ecological and biological environment. There everything is built thoroughly. You don’t have to start a tractor. To launch a rocket, the entire infrastructure must be built. And the fact that they are in a hurry, so at what construction site they are not in a hurry, everything is seriously controlled, ”assures Alexander Puzanov.

The cosmodrome is not a botanical garden, but kerosene is not God's dew

Doctor of Philosophy, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Leading Researcher of the Ecological Center of the Institute of the History of Natural Science and Technology. S.I. Vavilov RAS Sergei Krichevsky believes that there are risks and problems, officials simply try to calm everyone down.

The expert recalls that when the epic with the cosmodrome was just beginning, and where the East was being built, there was the Svobodny cosmodrome, they wanted to launch completely heptyl rockets. But then this idea was abandoned. Sergei Krichevsky admits that the Soyuz-2 and Angara rockets are not as terrible as, for example, Proton. But they also have an accelerating unit, filled with a poisonous heptyl. "At the end of the year, they should launch the oxygen-kerosene rocket Soyuz-2, it's not so terrible, although kerosene is not god's dew either." If such a rocket, God forbid, will crash, something will pour on the kerosene, but a fire may begin. The biggest problem is the heptyl block, the heptyl is toxic, you can not get anywhere from it.The heptyl must be transported, stored, and then launched.Of course, there is such a danger as at the Baikonur with Proton rockets that weighs 700 tons and a third is heptyl, On the East there will be no ".

Sergei Krichevsky said that about every 25-th launch of the missile - an emergency. According to him, if the kerosene rocket falls into the river and fuel flows from it, of course, there will be pollution. If a heptyl block falls into the water and depressurizes, it will not poison the entire Amur or the whole of Zeya, but the consequences will be very serious.

"Roscosmos several years ago decided to leave the heptyl, another question is that now it is impossible to change what is. But, thank God, rockets from the spaceport "Vostochny" will be launched without heptyl, but the overclocking units are still heptyl. Telling tales that everything will be fine, it's like counting that there will not be rockets launched, and that there is no cosmodrome. Heptyl is a very toxic substance of the first class of danger, six times more toxic than hydrocyanic acid. Heptile must be produced, delivered to the cosmodrome, even if it is a sealed package, all the same risks remain - both transport and during the launch. The problem remains, just do not need to hypertrophy or otherwise cover it, with this some time still have to live. The European Space Agency has the same problem - the toxic hydrazine, from which they are trying to escape. Hydrazine does not fit in either the "green" technology or the "Clean Space" program. This is a highly dangerous, ultra-toxic component, "- says Krichevsky.

What color cosmodrome Vostochny?

Sergey Krichevsky developed a model to evaluate the environmental friendliness of technology and technology. It has four colors. White is an ideal to which it is necessary to strive, environmentally friendly and safe, restoring nature and resources, fundamentally new, promising technologies. Green symbolizes technology with a high level of environmental safety. Brown indicates an environmental hazard. In black, the author paints environmentally very dangerous, unacceptable technology. According to Krichevsky’s theory, Vostochny’s cosmodrome is black-brown. The black color gives him heptyl in the acceleration blocks, and the brown color gives kerosene as fuel for the rocket. In order for the spaceport to start turning green, you need to abandon the heptyl blocks.

"This cosmodrome essentially does not change anything, it is simply being built in a different place, the rockets did not turn white and fluffy. The hangar is a more or less decent rocket, there are no toxic components in the fuel, but the problem of accelerating blocks remains. When we come to new technologies there will be no missile launches, or these missiles will be with returnable steps, so that they will not fall later. They are now trying to do this in the US The European Space Agency has been implementing the Clean Space initiative since 2011. And we still haven't got a knight. enough, but u al problem is that we are seriously lagging behind in environmental development "- sadly noted the expert. He has no doubt that the leader in astronautics will be the country that is faster than others aware of and will lead the process of "greening." In order to fully translate the space industry into a green one, Russia will need 20 years.

"I understand that the local residents do not have much joy about the cosmodrome, but it's already given, God forbid, the rockets will fly correctly, there is no need to panic, but there must be public control, dialogue between the industry and the population," Krichevsky tells of the ideal interaction model. "The spaceport is not an end in itself." In fact, the idea was that this object should become a growth point not only for the space industry, but also for the Amur Region and other regions of the Far East, to tighten science, industry, education. u p, it must be beautiful, efficient, cost-effective, eco-friendly. "

There are no grounds for panic.

The Federal Medical and Biological Agency (FMBA) recognizes that the functioning of the cosmodrome causes a certain socio-psychological tension among the population, but they do not see any reason for panic. The agency has been implementing medical and sanitary support for activities related to rocket and space activities for more than fifty years. Referring to the great experience, he claims that there are no objective data that would indicate changes in the health status of the population living near the cosmodromes.

"Numerous medical and hygienic studies on the assessment of the state of the environment near the Baikonur cosmodrome and public health conducted by specialists of the FMBA of Russia in the period from 1999 to 2012 show that there are no reliable changes in the health status of the population causally related to the activities of the Baikonur cosmodrome and contamination of territories with heptyl and other components of rocket fuels. During the examination of more than 20 thousands of citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, not a single case of acute or chronic about the effects of heptyl and its decomposition products on the state of health. In addition, at the Vostochny cosmodrome as fuel for the first and second stages of rocket technology, when it is launched, non-toxic kerosene will be used instead of heptyl, the use of heptyl is planned to be limited only in the upper stage of the rocket, " - Agency specialists reported.

Federal Medical Biological Agency in 2013-2014 Carried out research work in the area of ​​the cosmodrome Vostochny. Climatogeographic features, sanitary-hygienic condition of adjacent territories, sources of water supply and agricultural lands were analyzed. Adults and children were surveyed. Now a complex of health facilities of FMBA of Russia is being built - a medical-sanitary unit, a center for hygiene and epidemiology with a modern laboratory building. The department believes that this will improve the level of medical services for the population and will allow timely monitoring of the health of people and the environment after the launch of the cosmodrome.

The inhabitants of the Amur region will soon find out what kind of neighbor will eventually be the Vostochny cosmodrome - terrible or not, dangerous or harmless. The work is boiling, the days are running, until the solemn launch is less than half a year.