OREANDA-NEWS. October 30, 2008.  From now on for spreading misinformation about emergencies at power facilities one can be imprisoned for 10 years

The expert council for legislative support of safe development of nuclear energy has approved amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation toughening the punishment for spreading misinformation about emergencies at nuclear power facilities.

A group of legislators have suggested adding article to the Criminal Code 215.4 “deliberately distorting and spreading information about emergencies at nuclear power facilities.” The new article says that for deliberately spreading misinformation about an accident at a nuclear power facility and distorting information about the radiation situation at such a facility one shall be sentenced to a fine worth 200,000 RUR or 1–2 years of corrective labor or up to 3 years of imprisonment .

If misinformation is spread by a government official or if his actions have caused serious consequences or harm to human health, he shall be sentenced to a fine worth 100,000–150,000 RUR or 5 years of imprisonment. If misinformation is spread by an organized group or through mass media or if it has caused the death of at least one person, the people committing such a crime shall be sentenced to 5–10 years in prison and a fine worth 1,000,000 RUR.

During the discussion of the amendments, First Vice Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Alexander Torshin warned against confusing the fight against extremism with the fight with nonconformity. The head of the Press Service Department of Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation Sergey Novikov said that unlike the previous actions to spread misinformation about nuclear and radiation facilities the last ones were not spontaneous but well-organized.

Chairman of Nuclear Energy Sub-Committee of the Federation Council Grigory Naginsky pointed out that the key instruments for spreading negative information about nuclear power facilities were surveys and blogs by ecological organizations. The key weapon against such attacks is regular real-time publication of information about radiation situation at nuclear power facilities.

According to Rosatom, in Jan-Sept 2008 as compared with Jan-Sept 2007 the number of crimes related to spreading of misinformation about emergencies at nuclear and radiation facilities decreased by 24% to 1,258. Novikov pointed out that such attacks continued: the last one was undertaken in internet blogs in Oct 2008 but was timely prevented.

After being considered and approved by experts the amendments will be submitted to the State Duma. The expert council comprises members of the Federation Council and representatives of Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation.