Mayak: A50-year tragedy. Summary report
|Classification||220.127.116.11/20 (RUSSIA - MAYAK/CHELYABINSK (incl. Disaster Kyshtym Urals 1957))|
From the publication:
Mayak: A 50-Year Tragedy: Summary of the report released by Greenpeace Russia Published in September 2007 by Greenpeace International 29 September, 2007 is the 50th anniversary of the Mayak explosion in Russia, which caused the second largest radiation catastrophe in the world. Mayak, in the Southern Urals 1,400 km east of Moscow, is the biggest nuclear complex in the world. Although its five plutonium production reactors were closed in 1991, the plant RT-1 is still reprocessing spent nuclear fuel2. In addition, Mayak has a nuclear waste treatment plant with interim storage and pilot facilities for the production of plutonium-based Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel and a facility for the vitrification3 of liquid radioactive wastes. In September 1957, a storage tank with highly radioactive liquid waste exploded, releasing about 740 PBq4 of radioactivity into the environment, exposing 272,000 people from 217 towns and villages to chronic radiation. Until the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, it was the worst radiation accident the world had ever seen. The radioactive fallout spread across an area 50 km wide and 300 km long. A year later, 1,000 km2 was declared a closed zone, and people in that area relocated. But many people have never been evacuated. Half a century later, Mayak is one of the most radioactive places on earth, and thousands of people in surrounding towns and villages still live on contaminated land. People living in the Mayak region have chronically high rates of malignant cancers, and genetic abnormalities. Unbelievably, rather than learning the lessons of the Mayak tragedy, the Russian government has passed legislation to import spent nuclear fuel from other countries to the Mayak complex, that would then permanently stay in the country The anniversary of the Mayak tragedy must serve as a wakeup call to the Russian government, and to the world, of the dangers of nuclear power.
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