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    Prosecutors complete probe into major pollution case in Urals

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    YEKATERINBURG, March 24 (RIA Novosti, Oksana Grebennik) - Prosecutors have completed a preliminary investigation in the criminal case against the director of a major nuclear facility in the Urals, local prosecutors said Friday.

    Vitaly Sadovnikov, general director of the Mayak plant in West Siberian Chelyabinsk Region, has been charged with breaching regulations on disposal of hazardous waste. Prosecutors say large amounts of radioactive waste were dumped into the Techa River during Sadovnikov's tenure and with his knowledge.

    Sadovnikov took no steps to halt the dumping, which has led to pollution of a large area around the plant.

    Urals Federal District prosecutors launched a criminal case on the dumping charges last year. A Chelyabinsk court stripped Sadovnikov of immunity from prosecution, which he had been granted as a regional lawmaker, and temporarily removed him from his post March 2.

    Prosecutors say Mayak pumps about 10 million cubic meters of radioactive materials into the Techa River every year. Environmental group Ecodefense has put the figure as high as 15 million cu m.

    UN reports said that the Chelyabinsk Region, and in particular Ozersk, where the Mayak plant is located, is one of world's most radioactive areas as a result of environmental pollution by the plant for almost half a century.

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