Russian environmentalists announced yesterday that they would take their government to court over its decision to accept spent nuclear waste from foreign countries for storage and reprocessing. The law allowing the country to import such waste was signed by President Vladimir Putin last summer. Proponents say it could generate up to $20 billion over 10 years for Russia — money that could be used in part to clean up existing nuclear pollution. Environmentalists fear the law could turn Russia into an international nuclear waste dump. They claim to have collected 2.5 million signatures in support of a referendum on the issue, but the government rejected the initiative, arguing that some of the signatures had been falsified. In response, Greenpeace Russia has sued the government in the European Court of Human Rights for the right to hold the referendum. A decision is expected in about a year.

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