Mayak is one of the highest points of the planet with radioactive contamination. It is also conce as Mayak Production Association (Russian: Маяк производственное объединение ). These are the names by which a complex known nuclear facilities between the cities of Kaslo and Kyshtym in laprovincia Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The Mayak nuclear accident is little known because the Soviet authorities tried to hide for 30 years nuclear leaks have been occurring.
History of Mayak nuclear plant
The construction and launch of the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima i Nakgasaky were decisive for the end of World War II. For this reason the Russians initiated the nuclear race to make it.
The focus of this project was the future Mayak plant, which was used to produce plutonium. The plant was built very quickly and in absolute secrecy during the period 1945 - 1948. The town and resort were called Chelyabinsk-40 and Chelyabinsk-65 later. Finally, from 1994 it was renamed Ozersk. The first nuclear reactor was about from December 1948.
Significant leaks of nuclear plant Mayak
In the Mayak nuclear complex they have occurred numerous radioactive leaks. These leaks have caused concerned currently one of the most contaminated parts of the world. The three major radiation leaks are listed below:
- Deliberate spill of radioactive materials in the river Tech.
- Explosion in a building storage of nuclear waste in 1957 (it reached level 6 on the INES scale).
- Windstorm that scattered radioactive materials coming from sediments of Lake Karachay in 1967.
Adding all nuclear leakage is believed that the total radiation released to the environment since 1948 (when the complex was opened) to 1990 is 55,000 PBQ. A greater amount of radiation that the radiation released in the Chernobyl nuclear accident, which was about 52,000 PBQ).
Spill on the river Tech
During the early years, not much aware of the consequences of radioactivity on people and the environment. That is why the safety of the plant, emitting radioactive particles constantly not have much regard. The clearest example of this is the fact that, especially between 1948 and 1956, was thrown to water contaminated with radioactive materials in lakes around the nuclear plant Mayak and also directly to the Tech River, which later joins Obi river.
The population of Ozersk was not informed, so they continued to use water for domestic use. This caused serious health problems for people, and there was talk of "river disease", since it was not known what was being done in the plant. Although it is not yet clear what consequences it has had for the health of people in the area, it is believed that as many as 124,000 people received significant doses of radiation.
Kyshtym nuclear Tragedy
All started because the cooling system of a tank containing radioactive waste broke. This caused a great warm, which led to a series of reactions that caused a chemical (not nuclear) explosion. The great strength of this explosion (equivalent to 70-100 tons of TNT), broke the barrier of concrete and dispersed into the environment up to half of the material in the tank. In total, it is believed that between 74 and 1850 PBQ (between 2 and 50 MCI) were released.
The consequences of the accident were very important, but there was no worker died directly by the explosion.