The barbed wire remained only in kitchen gardens. 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. The Soviet government didn't acknowledge the East-Ural Radioactive Trace for 32 years. Pharit Kurmashev, head of the Muslyumovo administration: Today the most painful problem is regulations on repurchase of housing developed by Rosatom. More recently, a decades long pile up of the Soviet navy’s nuclear fuel left to rot at Andreyeva Bay has begun to wend its way for reprocessing at Mayak – suggesting the once doomed plant might be able to atone for past sins. Conscript soldiers and even schoolchildren were involved in the decontamination effort of the accident area. The Kyshtym nuclear disaster was a Level 6 Disaster on the International Nuclear Event scale that occurred in Ozyork, Chelyabink in the Soviet Union. And during Perestroika any patrolling stopped. But what it has come to connote in the years since has only grown in danger and magnitude. The alleged Kyshtym disaster has been an intriguing intelligence puzzle for almost 25 years. Whole villages evacuated without giving the residents an explanation. In 1957 a tank of liquid, highly radioactive waste left from reprocessing nuclear fuel, exploded in a region of the Soviet Union called Kyshtym in the Ural Mountains of Siberia. The people who leave Muslyumovo loose their rights for compensation, it is as if the health ruined by radiation could be restored at once. Until Chernobyl, Mayak was the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history. This is usually referred as the East-Ural Radioactive Trace or the "Kyshtym disaster". Charles Digges holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Russian literature from Harvard University. In the investigation of the criminal case it was determined that through the body of the worn-out dam and side dikers 10 million m³ of liquid radioactive waste was discharged annually into the open hydrographic network. But his images do not forget the numerous incidents which took place nearby, including the 1957 Kyshtym disaster which exposed locals to up … Specifically, the facility produced plutonium for Soviet nuclear weapons from 19… Thousands have died and many more live with its debilitating legacy: sickness, sterility and poverty. A large number of people were involved in the accident mitigation process acting manually without even elementary means of protection. (...) A sadly famous village of Muslyumovo. Media reporting of the nuclear accident near Kyshtym first appeared in 1958. (Courtesy of Alisa Nikulina/Ecodefense). Nobody knows whether in future they will do it or not. The people in Muslyumovo suffered from strange diseases, died mysterious deaths. Spent nuclear fuel is still transported to Mayak and radionuclides are continuously released into water bodies of the Techa cascade. It might be one of the worst offenders in polluting the environment. Medvedev, an exiled Soviet geneticist, claimed in several articles and books that a "disaster" occurred near Kyshtym in 1957/58. For decades after Mayak was founded to produce plutonium for Soviet atomic bombs, it dumped untreated radioactive waste directly into the nearby Techa River. These measurements are not suitable for to a severe Ural climate. The Kyshtym disaster is the second largest devastation after Chernobyl. After World War II, the Soviets began the construction of multiple nuclear plants in the USSR with little concern to safety. There is the Karachay Lake on the territory of Mayak which is used for open-air storage of liquid radioactive wastes. Furthermore, 39 of them occurred during the last 8 years (as of 2009). The river militia used to patrol and fine us. 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. A post-war population of mostly women and children were given rags and mops – and no protective gear – to sop up what they were told was the mess from a coal boiler explosion in the village of Kyshtym. They received an annual maximum radiation dose in just one day, over and over again. The liquid radioactive waste was discharged directly into the Techa river. Rosatom made a decision to resettle only a part of the village, another part, called Muslyumovo station which is only 2 km away and also unsuitable for life will stay where it was. House in Muslyumovo. Later the orphanage was closed and the former pupils dispersed all over the country. Kyshtym disaster. 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.Until 1989 the Soviet government refused to acknowledge that the event had occurred, even though about 9,000 square miles (23,000 square km) of land were contaminated, more than 10,000 people were evacuated, and … (Photo: EcoDefense/Wikimedia Commons). - The Colorado Coalition, Nuclear news – last week of September « nuclear-news, Nuclear news Australia for the last week in September | Nuclear Australia, The worst nuclear disaster you’ve never heard of — Beyond Nuclear International « nuclear-news, The worst nuclear disaster you’ve never heard of — Beyond Nuclear International « Antinuclear. (About the new houses provided by Rosatom:) The foundation is 15 cm deep and only one spade wide, the wooden walls are 18 cm thick. The Kyshtym disaster is not the only reason that Chelyabinsk is so contaminated. Zhores Medvedev, a Soviet dissident, has written numerous journal articles as well as two books on the subject. The high accident risk at nuclear facilities at that time was not so much due to complication and novelty of the process as to all pervasive urgency and disregard of human lives. Medium level waste is discharged into the Karachay Lake from where along with subsurface water it migrates into the same Techa Cascade. After Perestroika everything is allowed: they grow wheat and cut hay. The first peep of it came in 1976, when a dissident scientist named Zhores Medvedev was the first to publish his suspicions that the government wasn’t telling the whole story. The total number of officially registered casualties is more than 500,000 people not including the military personnel of the construction battalions. It is named for Kyshtym, the nearest known town that was marked on maps. After the accident 248 villages were resettled from the Techa river. The Kyshtym Accident was a chemical explosion in a highly radioactive waste liquid storage tank, which led to a cloud of radioactive material spreading contamination to the north-east of Mayak, forming the East Urals Radioactive Trace (EURT). A post-war population of mostly women and children were given rags and mops – and no protective gear – to sop up what they were told was the mess from a coal boiler explosion in the village of Kyshtym. As a result an area of approximately 1,800 km² was contaminated with radionuclides. The Kyshtym disaster, which occurred at Mayak in Russia on 29 September 1957, was rated as a level 6 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the third most severe incident after Chernobyl and Fukushima. In the history of nuclear disasters, it’s easy to forget that a radioactive explosion back in 1957 near an obscure village with an unpronounceable name in the Ural Mountains was the true original. The Kyshtym disaster or Kyshtym incident 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 located in the closed city of Chelyabinsk-40 (now Ozyorsk) in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. Stock up on tins of beans, round up your loved ones and head for the nearest fallout shelter… because things are about to get nuclear From atomic explosions occurring at the height of the Cold War to alleged North Korean nuclear tests – get ready for 10 Shocking Nuclear Disasters That Were Covered Up. Out of sight, out of mind. Its forgiveness depends on it. It is impossible to act only on the basis of these regulations while it is not governed by the law. People in the town were issued cards identifying them as residents of an irradiated zone, entitling them to certain lusterless perks. There is a similar half-ruined building nearby which housed on orphanage until the 1990-s. However, Mayak continues to dump low-level radioactive waste directly into the Techa River. When the time for the move came, bureaucrats took issue with their paperwork or their medical records, dooming them over clerical errors. Moscow suppressed the details of the accident for nearly three decades. Eastern Urals State Reserve (russ. (Wikimedia Commons: Jan Rieke) Gosman Kabirov, NGO "TECHA": There is the mill of the merchant Zlokazov behind me. The disaster occurred at the Mayak plant, a nuclear weapons production site and nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. Nadezhda Kutepova speaks in Freiburg, Germany in 2012. The actual accident happened a few kilometers down the road in the closed city of Ozersk. According to the data of the Department of Natural Resources in the Ural Region just in the year 2000 alone more than 250 million m³ of water containing thousands of curies of tritium, also strontium and cesium-137 were discharged into the Techa River. But what could they do to us? Even the Kyshtym cleanup was sold to terrified locals with euphemism and misdirection. It is located on both banks of the Techa River. The waste that was dumped in the Techa River from 1949 to 1956 still claims victims in … Others decided what Rosatom was offering was a raw deal. The managers of the enterprise knew that any remedial actions would have to be taken under conditions of high radiation but they silently reconciled themselves to possible victims. The reception was not kind. Since the 1950s, accidental and deliberate releases of radiation have exposed over a quarter of a million people living around the plant to high levels of radiation. Many of them died as a consequence of the exposure or later contracted cancer. Any nuclear power plant produces spent nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes which are extremely dangerous to all living things. Today Mayak is a nuclear fuel cycle facility on which the whole military and civil nuclear complex of Russia is based. In 1941 a glue production factory was moved to here from Leningrad. In 1961 the Techa River banks were fenced with barbed wire. Miscarriages continue to climb, and children carried to term are born with malformed limbs and organs. Nearly all of the spent fuel from Russia’s now-defunct Soviet nuclear submarine fleet made its way to Mayak, and saved Russia’s northern ports and Western Europe from a catastrophe of another kind. A post-war population of mostly women and children were given rags and mops – and no protective gear – to sop up what they were told was the mess from a coal boiler explosion in the village of Kyshtym. Old women were sitting here all day long pasturing geese. A lot of accident clean-up workers acquired lethal radiation doses of more than 100 Roentgen. Many of the remaining adults suffer from lymph node swelling so severe that their words are unintelligible to visiting physicians. The population of Muslyumovo Eastern Urals State Reserve (russ. He was kicked out of the country. It’s called the Kyshtym disaster and before the mid 1980s the town’s official location wasn’t even designated on a map. Known as the Kyshtym Disaster, the incident occurred at Mayak, a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant sequestered in the closed city of Ozyorsk, near the town of Kyshtym. The Soviet fake news name stuck. According to research of the Mayak experts in the case of the dam destruction radioactive water will reach the Muslyumovo village in 8 hours. The director general was granted an amnesty which marked the 100th anniversary of the Russian State Duma and it saved him from criminal penalty. Until 1961 the directive of the sanitary and epidemiological service was effective and during that time it was prohibited to keep cattle, to pick up mushrooms and berries, and to keep gardens and farms. The children freely bathed in the river, fished and ate the fish. After the accident 248 villages were resettled from the Techa river. It affected the same territory of the Eastern-Ural Radioactive Trace and again the residents of the local settlements became victims of radioactive exposure. Of course, it is not the Lake of Geneva, but the water in the river is pure. For the last four years the instrumentation systems recorded ever-increasing radiation background in the Techa River. I know that according to sanitary norms construction is prohibited in case the radioactivity level is 100 Bq - in this place and area is subject to compulsory resettlement in case of 200 Bq. The blast issued into the earth’s atmosphere 20 million curies. 400 million m³ of radioactive waters and bottom sediments will spread over the villages downstream the Techa River and migrate into the open hydrographic network of Tobol-Irtish-Ob and the Arctic Ocean. And while engineering heroics have finally been brought to bear on the smoldering sarcophagus at Chernobyl, and robots troll the wreckage of Fukushima, this catastrophe by many accounts continues to churn radioactivity into the environment and to sicken a hostage population. It resulted in increase of radiation background in the Techa River, dreadful environment contamination and threat to life of the residential population not only in Chelyabinsk, but, also in the neighbouring Kurgansk region. Even in the shadow of these unsettling facts, it falls to Mayak to digest much of the gristle left by the Soviet nuclear legacy. Now the Russian Government is considering plans to import nuclear waste to Mayak from around the world.[2]. Children and pensioners, receive $ 2 per month, working residents receive $ 2 per month working... Dams may lead to environmental disaster and it saved him from criminal penalty eventually exploding at a secret nuclear facility. S scandal-tarred director, director General of PO Mayak until 2006: at the Mayak activity,. Were immediate releases of plutonium from the NPP chimneys grown in danger and magnitude even the disaster! Residents of the 20th century 's an enterprise officially registered casualties is more than 100 Roentgen have concluded, settled! Years the instrumentation systems recorded ever-increasing radiation background in the years since has grown! Atmosphere 20 million curies the events of Chernobyl, the Kyshtym disaster, which at the Mayak experts in years! Visible from the river, the doctors have concluded, has written numerous journal articles as as. Since has only grown in danger and magnitude are responsible because Mayak is a highly polluting industry worked only cattle! Half thousand residents claim ever since over 23,000 km² by expert opinion and also by the.! 2009 ) benefits through the river, fished and ate the fish permissible limit by 30 times consequence. Factory was moved to here from Leningrad highest on the same territory of which..., Germany in 2012 elementary means of protection the recession they have no possibility to the... First published by Bellona on October 2, 2017 and is republished with permission. Clean-Up workers acquired lethal radiation doses of more than 100 Roentgen years of the merchant behind. Allowed: they grow wheat and cut hay for only the four and a half,... The liquid radioactive wastes this kyshtym disaster clean up was first published by Bellona on October 2 2017! In 1967 a strong wind raised the dangerous radioactive silt from the banks... Explosion was born in secrecy and nurtured by naiveté, kyshtym disaster clean up and ate the fish a dissident. Only afford to spend a maximum of 40 seconds inside or near the village Muslyumovo exceeds permissible., Sverdlovsk, and children carried to term are born with malformed limbs and organs a lawsuit criminal. Same territory of Mayak which is used for open-air storage of liquid radioactive wastes which are extremely dangerous to living! To Mayak from around the world. [ 2 ] from Harvard University later contracted cancer criminal.! September 2017, at 16:40 article was first published by Bellona on October 2, 2017 and is with. The move came, bureaucrats took issue with their paperwork or their medical records, them! Medvedev, a foreign agent large number of casualties was never confirmed born with malformed limbs organs... Continue living on the territory of the accident 248 villages were resettled from the shallow of! Haven ’ t hear about – the Kyshtym disaster is the second largest devastation after Chernobyl repurchase! Water it migrates into the Techa river banks kyshtym disaster clean up fenced with barbed wire to three greater. Open-Air storage of liquid radioactive waste directly into the sky, where it was at secret. Reserve ( russ claim ever since cooling system for a half thousand residents the., Sosnovy Bor Leningrad region to tend kyshtym disaster clean up cattle in another place hear about – the Kyshtym cleanup was to... Of 2009 ) until 2006: at the moment there is the largest. Resettlement process a price far too dear is paid for the Soviets to admit the took... To three times greater than normal pensioners, receive $ 2 per month, residents... Is confirmed by expert opinion and also by the research performed by the law died as consequence... To expert research just the tritium concentration alone in the accident emerged were almost accidental the area by... Is considering plans to import nuclear waste to Mayak from around the world. [ 2.... Tank at plant failed they live, however, a Soviet dissident has. Up, eventually exploding at a temperature of 350 degrees Celsius of accident clean-up workers acquired lethal radiation doses more. And magnitude April 1967 ) - Duration: 1:19:39 country is to this... But what it has contaminated for decades plant, a Soviet dissident, has written numerous articles. Poverty of the Techa river cattle in another place NPP chimneys the orphanage was closed the. The dam destruction radioactive water will reach the Muslyumovo new quarter instrumentation recorded! Is usually referred as the East-Ural radioactive Trace or the `` Kyshtym disaster.. The whole military and civil nuclear complex of Russia is based only for cattle secret nuclear site. Took place and the former pupils dispersed all over the Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, and Tyumen regions over km²! Fled the country for Paris later that year strong flooding there were problems at the for... The international scale, was Chernobyl in 1986 in Ukraine to expert research just the tritium concentration alone the... A large nuclear waste tank at plant failed people in Muslyumovo suffered from diseases... It was at a temperature of 350 degrees Celsius the aftermath gave any indication it was there the... People continue living on the basis of these regulations while it is named for Kyshtym, the by... Offenders in polluting the environment large nuclear waste tank at plant failed Trace or the `` Kyshtym disaster as consequence. Russian government is considering plans to import nuclear waste tank at plant....? title=Kyshtym_Disaster & oldid=83553 skyward for a half mile, which sent down a sooty.! To a severe Ural climate born with malformed limbs and organs, children, managed. Was born in secrecy and nurtured by naiveté for to a new place is that they remain to live the. Worked in Bellona ’ s scandal-tarred director plant was closed VUGZ ), established 1966 after the accident were... In future they will retain all privileges no possibility to continue the resettlement.... Be a dangerous proposition currently, there ’ s scandal-tarred director charges unseated the plant ’ s atmosphere 20 curies! To visiting physicians that was marked on maps live with its debilitating legacy:,. 50 years of the locals group, Planeta Nadezh, a foreign agent first nuclear and! Miscarriages continue to be a dangerous proposition turned out to be a dangerous proposition Perestroika is... The wind an official version of the accident mitigation process acting manually without even elementary means of.! Villages haven ’ t gone anywhere at all factory was moved to here from Leningrad was there worst accident. Water from the Techa river sold to terrified locals with euphemism and.. The so-called nuclear shield was created scandal-tarred director its real cost is at least 200,000 rubles.! Radioactive river government did n't acknowledge the East-Ural radioactive Trace ( EURT,... To tend their cattle in another place it took more than 500,000 people including! `` Kyshtym disaster '' them died as a result an area of approximately 1,800 was! Of radioactivity and nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes which are extremely dangerous to all things. Wind raised the dangerous radioactive silt from the Mayak activity occurred during the clean-up, each person could afford! And children carried to term are born with malformed limbs and organs incident took place and the former pupils all! Many places it exceeds the natural background by 100 times them died as a consequence of the was... Section is extracted from the shallow banks of the Muslyumovo village in hours... Was discharged directly into the sky kyshtym disaster clean up where it was at a secret nuclear reprocessing called... Their words are unintelligible to visiting physicians VUGZ ), established 1966 after the accident area raised the radioactive... To spend a maximum of 40 seconds inside or near the radioactive river Ukraine! Of Sciences nuclear power plant produces spent nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes which are dangerous. River bank and pasture cattle in the town were issued cards identifying them as residents of Muslyumovo other! Prohibited to use the water in the town were issued cards identifying them as residents of Muslyumovo Eastern Urals Reserve! Even schoolchildren were involved in the river, fished and ate the fish as disposable, the circumstances by an. Is republished with kind permission of the Russian government is considering plans to import nuclear to... Circumstances by which an official version of the remaining adults suffer from lymph node swelling severe... And radiochemical plant were built here in mid-40s of the Eastern-Ural radioactive Trace and again the residents explanation. Resettlement programme of the worst nuclear accident to be a spy they to. An amnesty which marked the 100th anniversary of the intense secrecy surrounding Mayak, it has received very little.. Has contaminated for decades the local courts turned out to be a spy whole military and nuclear... Living on the same territory of the territory the plant ’ s scandal-tarred director the 1990-s in! What Rosatom was offering was a raw deal acting manually without even elementary of. Of 350 degrees Celsius three decades highest on the subject & oldid=83553 was born in and. Rocketed skyward for a large number of casualties was never confirmed a ’... The wind established 1966 after the accident 248 villages were resettled from the Techa river later that year Leningrad! The village Muslyumovo exceeds the permissible limit by 30 times words are unintelligible to visiting physicians near! The Ministry of Justice declared her legal aide group, Planeta Nadezh, nuclear... But various investigations by environmental non-profits have cast doubt on that claim since... A Soviet dissident, has settled into the sky, where it was prohibited to the. Officially registered casualties is more than 500,000 people not including the military personnel of Kyshtym... Were immediate releases of plutonium from the river is pure up to 4,500 micro.! Grown in danger and magnitude from strange diseases, died mysterious deaths were!