Questions of handling the legacy of radioactive contamination at the Mayak Production Association
|Author||Bellona, C.Digges, A.Nikitin, A.Ozarovsky|
|Classification||188.8.131.52/22 (RUSSIA - MAYAK/CHELYABINSK (incl. Disaster Kyshtym Urals 1957))|
From the publication:
Questions of handling the legacy of radioactive contamination at the Mayak Production Association Authors: Charles Digges, Alexander Nikitin, Andrei Ozarovsky Publisher: Bellona Some of the biggest firsts in the history of nuclear science came from a place that originally had no name. Instead, the area was designated by a number – Industrial Complex No 817 – itself positioned in city identified by a location and a number all its own: Chelyabinsk 65. As the Soviet Union crumbled, and certain veils of secrecy fell away, the place became known to the rest of the world as the Mayak Production Association in the Urals Mountain town of Ozersk. Its most important contributions to history by then, however, were already well known. Mayak – now one of the world’s most voluminous nuclear fuel reprocessors – had produced both the Soviet Union’s first atomic bomb and the world’s first nuclear disaster. The consequences of those events are also well-known: an international arms race, a Cold War, and what, precisely, the environment looks like after it’s been tainted by nuclear fallout and decades of careless radioactive waste handling practices. Over the past year, officials with Mayak and Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, have been looking at ways to redress some elements of the facility’s history, and these are the subject of a new paper by Bellona. Since our seminal Red Report on the Russian nuclear industry in 2004 – which offered the international community its first detailed look at Mayak – much more information about the operations of the once-anonymous facility have been driven into the light of day. Still, precisely what Mayak planned to do to draw down its weapons production reactors, as well as mop up a radioactive mess that has corroded the health of nearly a half a million Russian citizens, has remained largely unclear.