A storage facility for liquid nuclear waste was added around 1953. Site created by Teodora Hadjiyska | and powered by Visia. They were offered private apartments, plenty of food – including exotic delicacies such as bananas, condensed milk and caviar – good schools and healthcare, a plethora of entertainment and cultural activities, all in a lakeside forest setting worthy of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. [3] The explosion of radioactive waste was composed of dry nitrate and acetate salts in a tank. The creation of the Mayak nuclear plant dates back to the period immediately after end of the Second World War. For that reason, a cooler was built around each bank containing 20 tanks. -moz-columns: 320px 2; This affected the radioactive waste of the plant. In 1946, the Soviets began construction of City 40 in total secrecy, around the huge Mayak nuclear plant on the shores of Lake Irtyash. Now it is one of the most contaminated places on the planet – so why do so many residents still view it as a fenced-in paradise? The Kyshtym disaster contaminated an area up to 20,000 square kilometres, known as the East-Ural Radioactive Trace, and thousands of people near the plant were evacuated. They believe they are Russia’s “chosen ones”, and even take pride in being citizens of a closed city. The Chernobyl disaster: The death of Legasov December 1, 2019; Chernobyl: the fate of convicts November 29, 2019; Chernobyl syndrome and Coronavirus COVID-19 May 31, 2020; The ChNPP is a testing ground for numerous experiments The barbed-wire fence remains an intrinsic part of the city’s landscape and the citizens’ psychological makeup and collective identity. Radioactive contamination in Goiania was a case of radioactive infection that occurred in the Brazilian city of Goiania on September 13, 1987. Gaps in Soviet physicists' knowledge about nuclear physics at the time made it difficult to judge the safety of many decisions. Mayak as seen from across the Techa River, which it has contaminated for decades. Deep in the vast forests of Russia’s Ural mountains lies the forbidden city of Ozersk. Ozersk’s residents are, however, permitted to exit the city with a special pass, and are even allowed to leave permanently if they wish never to return. People "grew hysterical with fear with the incidence of unknown 'mysterious' diseases breaking out. Until 1989 the Soviet government refused to acknowledge that the event had occurred, even though more than 10,000 people were evacuated and probably hundreds died from the effects of radiation. Oct 10, 2014 by Asya Pereltsvaig [This post was originally published in April 2012] On September 29, 1957 residents of the Chelyabinsk area in the extreme southwestern corner of Siberia saw a pillar of smoke and dust up to a kilometer high, glimmering with orange-red light. There was no third alternative.” (From the dystopian novel We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1924). By contrast, only 6,000 death certificates have been found for residents of the Techa riverside between 1950 and 1982 from all causes of death, though perhaps the Soviet study considered a larger geographic area affected by the airborne plume. On the side roads, local women sell fruit and vegetables. .headertext{font-size: 50px;} Kyshtym-57: A Siberian Nuclear Disaster. She is the producer and director of the feature-length documentary City 40, which will be screened at Bertha DocHouse, London WC1, on 23 July, and will be available on Netflix from September, Available for everyone, funded by readers. Yet the majority of residents do not want to leave. • View the trailer for the documentary City 40 here, Wed 20 Jul 2016 02.30 EDT There are photos of Yuri Krivonischenko on 6:28 and 6:58. [8] During this catastrophe, a poorly maintained storage tank exploded, releasing 20 million curies (740 PBq ) in the form of 50–100 tons of high-level radioactive waste . It is where they buried their parents, and some of their sons and daughters too. Kyshtym disaster, explosion of nuclear waste from a plutonium-processing plant near Kyshtym, Russia, on September 29, 1957. The Kyshtym disaster was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak, a plutonium production site for nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union. Chernobyl: another chance. In the absence of verifiable information, exaggerated accounts of the disaster were given. @media all and (max-width: 500px){ .headertext{font-size: 100px;} Because of the secrecy surrounding Mayak, the populations of affected areas were not initially informed of the accident. In the next 10 to 11 hours, the radioactive cloud moved towards the north-east, reaching 300–350 kilometers from the accident. The Mayak plant was built in haste between 1945 and 1948. Specifically, the facility produced plutonium for Soviet nuclear weapons from 19… According to some Ozersk residents, the dumping continues today. All rights reserved. The radioactive concentration there is reported to exceed 120 million curies – 2.5 times the amount of radiation released in Chernobyl. -moz-column-gap: 45px; The 'Kyshtym Accident', which happened on 29 September 1957 at the Mayak Production Association (PA) nuclear complex, located about 10 km to the east of the town of Kyshtym in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russian Federation, although rated on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale as one of the most severe nuclear accidents in the world, remained little known in the … The Kyshtym nuclear energy complex lies approximately 15 kilometers east of the city of Kyshtym in the eastern foothills of the south-central Ural Mountains and on the south shore of Lake Kyzyltash (see Fig. During the accident, the effects of the steam explosion caused two deaths within the facility: one immediately after the explosion and one by a lethal dose of radiation. Behind guarded gates and barbed wire fences stands a beautiful enigma – a hypnotic place that seems to exist in a different dimension. The level of radiation in Ozyorsk itself at about 0.1 mSv a year is claimed to be safe for humans, but the area of the EURT is still heavily contaminated with radioactivity. Almost 220,000 people were permanently relocated from the surrounding areas, and the site is now uninhabitable for centuries to come. To reduce the spread of radioactive contamination after the accident, contaminated soil was excavated and stockpiled in fenced enclosures that were called "graveyards of the earth". Ozersk, codenamed City 40, was the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), making it the third most serious nuclear accident ever recorded, behind the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl disaster (both Level 7 on the INES). Half a million people in Ozersk and its surrounding area are said to have been exposed to five times as much radiation as those living in the areas of Ukraine affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. In a village about 20 minutes outside Ozersk, a digital clock in the town square switches constantly between the local time and the current level of radiation in the air (though the latter reading is never accurate). All six reactors were on Lake Kyzyltash and used an open cycle cooling system, discharging contaminated water directly back into the lake. Only the diseased winds blowing north in the aftermath gave any indication it was there. And, in 1976 Zhores Medvedev, an exiled Soviet geneticist, brought the “incident” to the atten- tion of the scientific community by claiming that buried nuclear waste material near Kyshtym exploded, killing hundreds of people and contaminating “a large area, probably more than a thousand square miles in size.” Death toll: At least 200 people died of radiation sickness and it is estimated that several hundred more died from radiation-related cancers. (Courtesy of Alisa Nikulina/Ecodefense) One nearby lake has been so heavily contaminated that locals have renamed it the 'Lake of Death' City 40 residents have been casualties in a number of nuclear incidents, including the 1957 … This area is usually referred to as the East-Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT). Officially, there were no casualties, but some residents say the radiation claimed many victims. The final death toll of the Kyshtym Disaster can never be known; however, a number of independent sources claim that fatalities must have been upwards of 10,000. On a typical day, young mothers push newborns in prams and children play in the street. In the nearby forest, families swim in the lake as older folk rest on park benches, enjoying a lazy afternoon watching passersby. You can discuss this article in the forum. From the outset, the majority of residents worked or lived near the Mayak nuclear complex under extremely dangerous conditions. He says the majority of his fellow residents, like him, just wish to be left alone to live in “peace”. It would house the workers and scientists transported from across the country to lead the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons programme, and build an atomic bomb. It was a warm fall day … This would include the effects of all radioactive releases into the river, 98% of which happened long before the 1957 accident, but it would not include the effects of the airborne plume that was carried north-east. But the pact has had deadly consequences. Only in 1989 did residents learn they had been exposed to radiation: The government released details about Kyshtym and the dumping of radioactive waste from Chelyabinsk-65 into nearby lakes and reservoirs between 1948 and 1951. Kyshtym disaster. Those who had been relocated here were considered missing by their relatives, as if they had disappeared into oblivion. There were no immediate casualties as a result of the explosion, but it released an estimated 20 MCi (800 PBq) of radioactivity. Vague reports of a "catastrophic accident" causing "radioactive fallout over the Soviet and many neighboring states" began appearing in the western press between 13 and 14 April 1958, and the first details emerged in the Viennese paper Die Presse on 17 March 1959. City 40’s inhabitants were told they were “the nuclear shield and saviours of the world”, and that everyone on the outside was an enemy. Not by the explosion and the initial exposure alone, but due to a long period of toxic … -webkit-column-gap: 45px; @media all and (max-width: 370px){ How to increase brand awareness through consistency; Dec. 11, 2020 The Soviet government in 1968 disguised the EURT area by creating the East Ural Nature Reserve, which prohibited any unauthorised access to the affected area. Music booms from teenage boys’ stereos as they show off their skateboarding skills to young girls. The Mayak disaster is believed to be the third-most serious nuclear accident ever recorded. The area closest to the accident produced 66 diagnosed cases of chronic radiation syndrome, providing the bulk of the data about this condition. As a result, the Soviet Union quickly established the Mayak plutonium between 1945 and 1948. It is prestigious to live in Ozersk. Wikicommons CC BY 2.0 . It’s called the Kyshtym disaster and before the mid 1980s the town’s official location wasn’t even designated on a map. Originally known as Chelyabinsk-40, the complex was later renamed to the Mayak Production Association and served as the location for the emerging Soviet nuclear program in the years immediately following World War II. The total number of officially registered casualties is more than 500,000 people not including the military personnel of the construction battalions. The Kyshtym disaster, which occurred at Mayak in Russia on 29 … This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is a deal they still adhere to today, in a city where almost all of Russia’s reserve fissile material is stored. One of the nearby lakes has been so heavily contaminated by plutonium that locals have renamed it the “Lake of Death” or “Plutonium Lake”. The Kyshtym disaster is the second largest devastation after Chernobyl. Most of this contamination settled out near the site of the accident and contributed to the pollution of the Techa River, but a plume containing 2 MCi (80 PBq) of radionuclides spread out over hundreds of kilometers. }, .twocolumns { The event occurred in the town of Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, a closed city built around the Mayak plant. Kyshtym disaster, explosion of buried nuclear waste from a plutonium-processing plant near Kyshtym, Chelyabinsk oblast, Russia (then in the U.S.S.R.), on September 29, 1957. @media all and (max-width: 400px){ On the outskirts of Ozersk, there is an oversized “no trespassing” sign in English and Russian, with “Attention!! Map of the East Urals Radioactive Trace (EURT): area contaminated by the Kyshtym disaster. The 1957 Mayak nuclear disaster is also known as the Kyshtym disaster. A week later (on 6 October) an operation for evacuating 10,000 people from the affected area started, still without giving an explanation of the reasons for evacuation. It took more than 30 years for the Soviets to admit the incident took place and the … The explosion in the Kyshtym Nuclear accident was due to a malfunction in the cooling system. For decades, this city of 100,000 people did not appear on any maps, and its inhabitants’ identities were erased from the Soviet census. While the majority of the Soviet population were suffering from famine and living in abject poverty, the authorities created a paradise for these residents, providing them with lives of privilege and some luxury. Codenamed City 40, Ozersk was the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme after the second world war. Environmental concerns were not taken seriously during the early development stage. Kyshtym Accident. More recent epidemiological studies suggest that around 49 to 55 cancer deaths among riverside residents can be associated to radiation exposure. Given that the United States had made significant advancements in the research and production of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union felt the need to invest in a similar program. It consisted of steel tanks mounted in a concrete base, 8.2 meters underground. Map of the East Urals Radioactive Trace (EURT), the area contaminated by the Kyshtym disaster. Because of the secrecy surrounding Mayak, the populations of affected areas were not initially informed of the accident. It is blamed for 239 deaths from lung, liver and bone cancers up to 2003, representing a tenth of lung cancers and almost half of bone-cancer deaths among the workforce. The city’s residents know the truth, however: that their water is contaminated, their mushrooms and berries are poisoned, and their children may be sick. City 40 residents have been casualties in a number of nuclear incidents, including the 1957 Kyshtym disaster – the world’s worst nuclear accident prior to Chernobyl – which the Soviet authorities kept a well-guarded secret from the outside world. .headertext{font-size: 80px;} Previously contaminated areas within the affected area include the Techa river which had previously received 2.75 MCi (100 PBq) of deliberately dumped waste, and Lake Karachay which had received 120 MCi (4,000 PBq). .headertext{font-size: 60px;} They are happy in their fenced-in paradise. The explosion, on 29 September, 1957, estimated to have a force of about 70–100 tons of TNT, threw the 160-ton concrete lid into the air.