Publication Laka-library:
Mayak: A 50-year tragedy. Summary report

AuthorGreenpeace Int.
DateSeptember 2007
Classification (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
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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