Military Review

Tragedy of which no one knew

Radioactive elements of natural origin are common in nature, they surround us, are in our organisms. Most of them were formed millions of years ago. What they emit is completely safe for health and, according to scientists, played a large role in the origin of life on the planet. But there are also radioactive elements of a completely different type ...

Production Association "Mayak", located near the city of Ozersk, has long been among the closed, classified enterprises of Russia. Not so long ago, the veil of secrecy was slightly lifted, promulgating a number of documents about its activities. At the same time, of course, nothing was mentioned about the technologies used and methods of work. But how did it all begin?

In the middle of the twentieth century, namely in the 1946 year, a hundred kilometers from Chelyabinsk near the town of Kyshtym, the construction of an industrial atomic reactor began. Together with this, a radiochemical plant was built with the colorful name “Mayak”. From the very beginning, it was a very classified object of the Ministry of the Interior. Local residents are not particularly worried about the progress of construction. The main workers were more than thirty thousand prisoners, plus three regiments of the military construction department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In the course of the work, numerous rules for the construction of such facilities were violated. The management did not care about the environment and the health of the people living nearby. It was only important to fulfill the order of the state. By the completion of the construction arrived academic Kurchatov himself, who personally gave instructions for filling the reactor with uranium.

As a result, complex chemical production was created on the territory of the enterprise. In the course of his work, a considerable amount of radioactive waste was produced in solid and liquid state. They contained a huge number of strontium, uranium, plutonium, cesium and some other radioactive elements. The reactor began operating in June 1948 of the year, but immediately after the launch, an accident struck. An uncontrolled automatic release of radioactive elements into the atmosphere occurred. In subsequent years, this happened quite often, to the tragedy of 1957, the territory around the Mayak plant was already well infected.

According to archival documents, emergencies at Mayak took place regularly. There is a case when the chief director of "Mayak" went hunting. Driving near the dam, which was holding back water with radiation waste, he noticed that it was very washed out and a breakthrough was about to happen. People were urgently thrown in for repairs, only due to the occasion they managed to prevent a tragedy.

Curiously, even before the launch of “Mayak”, top management allowed for the likelihood of accidents involving human casualties, suggesting that the authorities would be ready for this at “places”. Scenarios of accidents along with the dead in them were planned and miscalculated in advance, for example, how many victims per quarter, and how many per year. Of course, all the calculations were informal and behind closed doors. Obviously, it was decided in advance that the blame for such incidents would be borne by the workers. And it is unlikely that the liquidators of the consequences of these accidents and the civilian population made it to the planned lists of victims.

At the very beginning, the radioactive waste was sent straight to the Techa River, on which the plant was built. But as soon as people who lived in houses on both banks of the river began to die, it was decided to pour only low-level waste into it. Medium-active began to dispose of in another reservoir - Lake Karachay. But most of the waste was highly active. They were stored in special stainless steel tanks - "banks", which were located in underground concrete storage facilities. These tanks were very hot due to the activity of radioactive materials placed inside them. In order to avoid overheating and explosion, they were cooled with water. Each “bank” had its own cooling system, combined with a content status monitoring system.

From a document signed by Beria himself and published in the 1949 year: “In a system that monitors the release of radioactive waste, it is necessary to remove all flow meters and radiometers. According to their testimony, any specialist will be able to easily determine the capacity of the plant. "

Despite the fact that the equipment was liquidated, it was impossible to do without measuring the level of radioactivity. Therefore, they regularly took water from the Techa River. The results of measurements and studies were recorded in the relevant journals. Today, for the rest of the monitoring data, the researchers establish the true numbers and values ​​of many classified indicators.

In the fifties, internal radiation was considered the most terrible radiation, only later it turned out that it was necessary to be afraid of directly external, most powerful gamma radiation. At the same time, the word “radiation” was forbidden even to be uttered, everything connected with it was strictly forbidden. Even the first persons of the region avoided this term. When mutated (too large and fat) fish began to appear in the Techa River, the regional party committee ordered it to be sent to its canteen. More than two years, the regional "tip" fed on radioactive fish. Even if the party members did not know anything, then what to talk about ordinary people.

As it turned out, mutations occurred not only with fish. What is worth alone история with the so-called "Kyshtym humanoid." He was found in the village of Kaolin, located near Kyshtym, that is, in the area of ​​"Mayak". Genetic analysis showed: “By the blood stains, a human DNA is established on a tissue sample. According to the analysis, this is a prematurely born baby with numerous physical disabilities. ” The alien version had no reason, but many questions still remained, for example, as a result of which was this creature born? Today the answer, of course, is obvious. Mutant children are born in those places today. Especially for them in the Chelyabinsk region created two boarding schools.

Let us cite some excerpts from secret documents related to the Mayak production association: “It is strictly forbidden to hand over agricultural products contaminated with radioactive substances for sale or send them to the nearest areas for export. The sale of meat obtained in the sanitary security zone should be sold only in the Chelyabinsk region. It is forbidden to ship bones from Kyshtymsky and Chelyabinsk meat processing plants for export. ”
And here is another interesting indication: "All medical records, together with information about the incidence and contagion of the inhabitants of this area, including the names of radioactive substances and radiation doses that cause radiation sickness, as well as the data of all tests for the presence of radioactive substances are secret documents."

14 May 1955, a special team of the USSR Ministry of Health arrived in Chelyabinsk to fulfill the special task of the Council of Ministers. The team conducted a medical examination of people in Brodokalmaksky, Argayashsky and Kunashaksky areas.

By the fall of 1957, many measuring instruments, together with the rest of the surveillance system borrowed from the chemical industry, had become unusable. Due to the high level of radioactivity in the cable storage corridors, work on their repair was not carried out in a timely manner. At the end of September of the same year a breakdown in the cooling system occurred on one of the waste containers. To top it off, there was a failure in the management system. Workers who made a detour on the day of the accident found that the tank was warming up a lot. Unfortunately, it was already too late; they did not have time to tell the authorities anything. "Bank" exploded.

The complex, where the exploding container was located, was an underground concrete structure with cells for twenty similar “cans” located at a depth of just over eight meters. The explosion was so strong that it completely destroyed the container made of stainless steel, tore off and threw the concrete slab over twenty meters away. Most of the content of the waste container was released to the environment.
Approximately twenty million curies of radioactive compounds were released into the atmosphere. About 90% of them settled in the territory of the plant. The resulting radioactive cloud of solid and liquid aerosols was raised by an explosion to a height of about one and a half kilometers. The wind blowing from the southwest that day blew aerosols at a speed of 10 meters per second. Five hours after the accident, the radioactive cloud traveled a distance of one hundred kilometers, and after ten hours the radioactive trace completely took shape. A couple of millions of curies, soaked into the ground, created contaminated territory, which stretched for about 350 kilometers towards the northeast of the plant. There was not enough radiation at all to get to Tyumen. Mostly the width of the track reached thirty to fifty kilometers. The boundaries of the pollution zones covered an area of ​​twenty three thousand square kilometers.

Tragedy of which no one knew
Radioactive contamination from the September 29 explosion 1957 y. (The density of pollution is given for strontium-90, CI / km2)

Over time, there was a "blurring" of the original boundaries due to the transfer of radionuclides by the wind. This territory was given the name EURT (East Ural radioactive trace). The main, most polluted part of it, covering about seven hundred square kilometers, acquired the status of a state reserve of the Eastern Urals. The zone of the accident affected the territory of three regions - Sverdlovsk, Tyumen and Chelyabinsk with a population of more than 250 thousand people living in 217 settlements. The result of the accident could have been completely different if the wind were blowing in a different direction. In this case, Yekaterinburg or Chelyabinsk would be seriously infected. But by luck, EURT affected only the countryside.

To date, identified the main causes of the tragic consequences of the release of radiation substances. The decisive role was played by the regime of complete secrecy, because the local residents were not even informed about the terrible danger hanging over them. To eliminate the effects of the release, it took the efforts of hundreds of thousands of people. It was necessary to clear the territory of the Mayak industrial site and stop any economic work in the contaminated area. People were sent from Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg and other nearby cities. Nobody warned them about the danger. Whole military units were mobilized to surround the contaminated area. Everything was under the strictest secret, the soldiers were forbidden to say where they were. Teenagers from the villages were sent to bury the radioactive crop with their bare hands. Among other creative horrors, there are undeniable facts that the management of the plant used even pregnant women for work. The consequences were not long in coming — mortality rose sharply throughout the contaminated area, people died out with their entire families, freaks were born.

From the story of the accident liquidator's daughter:
“Dad was seventeen at the time, he studied at a technical school in Yekaterinburg. September 30 57 year, their entire group was removed from classes, put in trucks and taken to the "Lighthouse". About radiation they did not say anything. They worked whole days. No one used the issued individual dosimeters, as they strictly punished for exceeding the dose. Twenty-six years later, he died of cancer. Our family was told that it is not from radiation. Grandma also took part in the elimination and died of cancer after eight years. ”

After the accident on “Mayak” of 1957, only twenty-three villages were liquidated. Buildings, livestock, even agricultural equipment in them were destroyed. The animals were buried in burial grounds in a specially designated area, fenced with signs of radiation and barbed wire. But today these burial grounds are abandoned and forgotten. They are not protected, no analysis of groundwater and soil is not carried out. In addition, there are many spontaneous, not marked on the ground cemeteries of livestock, because in the designated areas there was too little space. All this will be a danger to people for many tens of thousands of years.

According to the resident of the village Tatarskaya Karabolka:
“Once we were gathered at school, saying that it is necessary to harvest. Then I was only nine years old, and I did not understand why we were being forced to bury him. Policemen stood nearby and guarded or guarded us. Today, many of my class have already died of cancer. ”

In the places of the East-Ural radioactive trace, to this day, huge and beautiful mushrooms grow that emit radiation. However, locals rarely pay attention to signs prohibiting picking berries and mushrooms. For them, people from poor Bashkir villages, collecting gifts of nature from polluted territories with subsequent sale is substantial financial support.
According to the story of a military man: “I served as a soldier in the Chelyabinsk-40 zone. When transporting unknown cargoes in the carriages, the soldiers stood at the post until they began to bleed from the nose. At the sites we were behind a two-meter lead wall, but this did not save. During demobilization, everyone signed the non-disclosure. Today, of all those called up to me in this world, only three people with disabilities remain. ”

The main part of the settlements that suffered from the accident at “Mayak” are villages. Many of them appeared more than three hundred years ago. Before the construction of a nuclear waste processing facility, most villages were rich and affluent. Today, their population has declined tenfold. To survive, residents have to farm in contaminated areas. In the rivers contaminated with radioactive waste, they water the cattle, bathe and fish. Most of the radiation entering the body of people in these places is milk and meat of birds and domestic animals, as well as drinking water.

In spring, during the flood, the Techa River floods the fields. The remaining radioactive sludge after leaving the water becomes fertilizer for crops. Livestocks of local residents graze on the growing radioactive meadows. Monetary compensation for existence in a radioactive area is negligible. With this money you cannot afford to buy the necessary medicines or go to Chelyabinsk to conduct an expensive examination. The ability to get at least some compensation from the damage in accordance with our legislation is zero.

The long-suffering village of Muslyumovo is one of the four residential centers that are still located on the River Teche. In this place, only those who lived near the water were relocated, forbidding others to approach the river. Most of the residents of Muslyumovo, including children, suffer from radiation sickness. For many years, nuclear scientists pretended that it was safe to be in this village, if you “do not swim and do not walk in the river, do not drink water from it, and don’t fish”.

From the recollections of a resident of the village of Muslyumovo: “The main phenomenon of childhood, closely connected with the river, is barbed wire. When I first saw another river in a neighboring village, I was very surprised by the absence of obstacles. There you could easily approach the water. We looked at our river only through the wire. Parents did not let us to the Techa, in a whisper saying that the river is “atomic”.

In 1959, a secret order appeared that, due to the radiation contamination of the locality of the inhabitants of the village of Tatar Karabolka, it was urgently necessary to relocate. A lot of money was allocated for this - about eighty million rubles. The name of the village disappeared from geographical maps, but people remained. They learned about the accident and radiation only thirty-five years later. Before 1993, no one, not even the doctors, told them about the true causes of the same diseases and frequent incomprehensible deaths. More than half of women of childbearing age are barren. Most families have children with developmental disabilities.

For more than fifty years, Minatom and the Ministry of Health, together with the top leadership of our country, have conducted a long experiment on the inhabitants of poisoned settlements. They could see the effect of radiation on pregnant women and their children, on the health of people and animals in general, on life expectancy.

The report of the Ministry of Health in the village of Muslyumovo states: “The results of long-term observation are of global importance, allowing to evaluate the carcinogenic and genetic consequences of permanent human exposure. The fruits of observations can be the basis for establishing new values ​​of radiation doses for personnel and the public. ”

Fifty-five years have passed since the disaster. Mayak is still functioning, accepting waste in the form of spent nuclear fuel from various Russian nuclear power plants and nuclear submarines. At the moment you read these lines, the company processes tons of radioactive slags.

Rosatom recently announced that the radiation background of the city of Ozersk is five times lower than, for example, in St. Petersburg or Chelyabinsk. At the same time, it was decided to fill Karachay Lake to the state of a “green lawn”, since it accumulated more 120 million curie of radioactive cesium and strontium. However, this does not solve the problem, because there is a gradual radioactive contamination of groundwater.

In the nineties alone, more than twenty accidents and incidents of varying degrees of severity occurred at the state-owned enterprise Mayak. Many workers were exposed, some died on the spot. Conclusions leadership, unfortunately, are not done. And this is the worst, since the tragedy of 1957 of the year can always be repeated ....
Kuzkina mother: "Nuclear autumn fifty-seventh"

The first major radiation accident occurred in the Chelyabinsk region at the Mayak nuclear plant 29 September 1957. The emission of radiation in the accident 1957 of the year is estimated at 20 million Curie. Chernobyl Discharge - Curie Millions 50. Sources of radiation were different: in Chernobyl - a nuclear power reactor, at Mayak - a container with radioactive waste. But the consequences of these two catastrophes are similar - hundreds of thousands of people exposed to radiation, tens of thousands of square kilometers of contaminated territory, the sufferings of environmental refugees, the heroism of the liquidators.

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  1. Sarus
    Sarus 5 December 2012 09: 24
    The saddest thing is that now the state is reluctant to recognize this.
    My father was born in 57 in Tatar Karabolka .. and at 59 nobody moved them anywhere .. Even 58 birth certificates were made .. Moreover, many who were born at 57 wrote that at 58 .. Now they’re retiring .. And no you benefits that he lived in an infected area .. Nothing in common ..
    Now from a large village there are several dozen houses ... Some old people ..
    I can’t say what I feel .. on the one hand, we then created a defense for our country .. but the attitude towards ordinary people was far from the first place ..
    By the way I live in Tomsk. Rosatom wanted to stop the atomic power station here ... Kinder signed everything .. and then Rosatom has complete bases for the workers at the atomic power station .. conclusion of the silencing of the reactors .. they postponed the deadline for 2020 .. I don’t argue that the nuclear power plant can be safe .. But I don’t see any reason to build such an object near the half-million city .. where the exit from the city is only 2 bridges in 4 lanes ....
    1. Dante Alighieri
      Dante Alighieri 5 December 2012 18: 59
      Sarus, why should RosAtom build a nuclear power plant in Tomsk, where you have Seversk near you, there are two stations there (one: the 4 reactor, intended for the production of weapons-grade plutonium - drowned if it does not change memory from the Gorbachev era; the second: it heated this closed town - covered in zero, now the city is under the care of a gas thermal power plant), even if they don’t function, but the decay of one FIG continues, it’s not for nothing that the explosive division guards it, and it seems to me that it is a matter of technology to preserve these objects, even if it’s light and heat gave to the city.
  2. Leisure
    Leisure 5 December 2012 10: 07
    As usual, mixed truth with fiction. Article -
    From the story of the accident liquidator's daughter:
    “Dad was seventeen at the time, he studied at a technical school in Yekaterinburg. September 30 57 year, their entire group was removed from classes, put in trucks and taken to the "Lighthouse". About radiation they did not say anything. They worked whole days. No one used the issued individual dosimeters, as they strictly punished for exceeding the dose. Twenty-six years later, he died of cancer. Our family was told that it is not from radiation. Grandma also took part in the elimination and died of cancer after eight years. ”
    What a lie? And this
    According to the story of a military man: “I served as a soldier in the Chelyabinsk-40 zone. When transporting unknown cargoes in the carriages, the soldiers stood at the post until they began to bleed from the nose. At the sites we were behind a two-meter lead wall, but this did not save. During demobilization, everyone signed the non-disclosure. Today, of all those called up to me in this world, only three people with disabilities remain. ”
    also composed. The article is a provocation describing "Soviet lawlessness". These works were popular in the 90s, the dawn of "ecological struggle" for the money of Western competitors.
    1. viruskvartirus
      viruskvartirus 5 December 2012 14: 01
      I agree dear, the article is a provocation. Fuel from nuclear power plants needs to be processed because otherwise it will only be stored, and its quantity will increase, and in 100 years after use it will be a source of rare earth metals, but for now it needs to be stored. The lighthouse is an extremely necessary enterprise, including for us in Ukraine; it can process fuel from VVER-440 and RBMK, and there are many of them. The lighthouse will work until the 2030 year, and now you are building a new modern complex.
    2. Simple
      Simple 5 December 2012 15: 49
      "... An article of provocation describing" Soviet lawlessness ""

      You need to know the history of your Country, do not deny it.
      1. viruskvartirus
        viruskvartirus 5 December 2012 17: 05
        )))) I know, as I once collided and giggled over British lawlessness for a long time. They have reactors for producing plutonium cooled by atmospheric air ... so we KNOW and do not disown.
        1. Simple
          Simple 6 December 2012 01: 12
          But something was not funny to me.
  3. Skavron
    Skavron 5 December 2012 10: 52
    Laser, then, in addition to memories, is everything true in the article?
    1. xorgi
      xorgi 5 December 2012 11: 32
      "From a document signed by Beria himself and published in 1949" - did Beria publish it himself?
      "No one used the issued individual dosimeters, since they were severely punished for exceeding the dose." even nothing to comment on.
      "When mutated (too large and fat) fish began to appear in the Techa River" - since when do radiation mutations lead to an increase in viability?
      "Mutant children are born in those places today. Two boarding schools have been created especially for them in the Chelyabinsk region." - radiation mutations most often do not manifest themselves in the external phenotype, but affect the viability, reproduction or various internal defects. These "mutant children" are the result of tetragenic exposure to chemical pollutants.
      I join in the opinion of Lazer - an article is a provocation.
    2. Leisure
      Leisure 5 December 2012 14: 16
      In addition to memories, the article contains many inaccuracies and outright fiction. And I will repeat in the article, there are events that actually happened, but to put it mildly, were overgrown with myths. And because of this "forest" of information, the truth is no longer visible.
  4. _Igor_
    _Igor_ 5 December 2012 11: 16
    as an native of the city of Ozersk I’ll say:
    1 article - (one hysteria in the spirit of the yellow press)
    "A tragedy that no one knew about"
    when? and who? (dear author in the yard 2012)
    3. The factory was far from being built by fools, and a lot of what the author did not write out of ignorance or not wanting to be taken into account and thought out.
    4. the fact that the state ignores the problems of this region related to the activities of the Lighthouse.

    ps in general it seems that this article is a reprint of articles from the late 80s to the early 90s
  5. Middle-brother
    Middle-brother 5 December 2012 12: 40
    стР° тье +.
    Let it be written a little in the spirit of "articles of the late 80s and early 90s", but everything is as it is. Moreover, all this information is in the public domain and, nevertheless, it is somewhat shocking, because there is something that is hidden.
    I will tell the natives of Ozersk that after all half a century has passed and the situation has changed a little in a positive direction.
    I have always been interested in such things, and many have not heard of this man-made disaster, so that the article is useful and informative.
  6. wave
    wave 5 December 2012 14: 19
    yeah, now look for ecology only on another planet)
  7. Black
    Black 5 December 2012 16: 41
    1. The fact of mutations as a result of radiation contamination is not currently confirmed. Large mushrooms, oily fish, canine bullshit.

    2. The facts are true. In pursuit of nuclear potential, little was thought of safety and the environment.

    3. Before they could, the states from all over the country would make a continuous Brest-Vladivostok trace. This must be understood.
    1. igorka357
      igorka357 25 December 2017 06: 13
      That's right, and the fact that the soldiers ran blood was nonsense! He is respected and a soldier, if only ... and give life for the Motherland, and that was precisely for the Motherland, since it was necessary to protect the country from. .we all know whom! We would not act then in such harsh ways, maybe our country would not exist!