MOSCOW - Police on Thursday detained dozens of environmental activists who staged a Red Square protest against Russia's decision to import spent nuclear fuel from other countries.
The protesters from the Ecodefense group and Youth Human Rights Movement, wearing white costumes resembling radiation suits, began crawling around on the cobblestones near the Kremlin.
Police at the scene appeared to be momentarily stunned, but after a few minutes Kremlin security guards rushed at the protesters and began shoving them into police cars. Twenty-five activists and several journalists covering the event were detained, but the journalists were later released, according to the Interfax news agency.
A Moscow court will begin hearing cases against the activists on Friday, Interfax reported. Police said they had staged an unauthorized protest.
Last summer, President Vladimir Putin signed into law a plan that would allow Russia to import spent nuclear fuel from other countries for storage and reprocessing.
Proponents of the plan say it could earn Russia up to dlrs 20 billion over the next decade, but environmentalists fear the program would turn the country into the world's nuclear dumping ground.
On Thursday, the Russian Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Greenpeace and residents of the Siberian city of Tomsk to stop a local chemical combine from storing radioactive waste underground, Interfax reported. Greenpeace said scientific tests have shown the waste will contaminate the area's water supply.