The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Forgotten NUCLEAR HISTORY – theme for August 2012

If you go to Wikipedia, you will find bewildering lists of the many nuclear accidents.  Not so many uranium-related accidents – probably because these most often affect people in remote and rural areas, – especially indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples have always been exploited by the nuclear industry.

Here we have space to consider just a few of the forgotten nuclear disasters. The most prominent of these is the ongoing tragedy of Chelyabinsk province of Russia

Everybody knows of the  nuclear catastrophes of  Chernobyl and Fukushima But how many know of the Mayak nuclear nightmare?

The Mayak nuclear plant in the Southern Urals was one of the dark secrets of the cold war. It was the Soviet Union’s primary nuclear complex, a massive set of plutonium production reactors, fuel production facilities, and reprocessing and waste storage buildings.

In 1957 a storage tank with highly radioactive liquid waste exploded. More than half the amount of radioactive waste released by the accident in Chernobyl was blasted into the atmosphere. A few villagers were evacuated, but most were not. 217 towns and at least 272,000 people were exposed to chronic levels of radiation. The plume was 50 kilometers wide and 1,000 kilometers long.

But the explosion wasn’t the only incident of contamination. Between 1948 and 1956 radioactive waste was poured straight into the Techa River, the source of drinking water for many villages. It exposed 124,000 people to medium and high levels of radiation. Nuclear waste was also dumped into the lakes of West Siberia, where storms blew nuclear dust across a vast area around the lake. – more on this story on the sidebar, lower right

July 31, 2012 - Posted by | Christina's themes


  1. Since I’ve only recently been reading up on the Marshall Islanders experiences as “study subjects” for US nuclear industry in the cold war, I was surprised to learn it wasn’t the subject of your headline. This is my first time at your site … I’ve bookmarked it. Nuclear damage and risk is so wide-spread – I had no idea how far ranging the industry’s tentacles reached!

    Marshall Island link info link:

    Comment by Maggie | August 17, 2012 | Reply

    • I agree, the Marshall Islands story probably should have been the “headline” story for History. It’s getting hard to choose – so many nuclear scandals in the past, and still going on in the present. The Mayak story is important too – how easily they can roll off “Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima – and just conveniently forget these other catastrophes.

      Comment by Christina MacPherson | August 17, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thank you for this. We need truth to rise up from all lands – on nuclear and so many other issues and responsibilities. I’ve been learning about the horrors experienced by the people of the Marshall Islands delivered to them by US Pacific weapons testing during the Cold War. In fact I expected your headline to refer to their story, only to discover – no, a different story, also very troubling. Should you or readers want to pursue details of the Marshall Islands story, here’s an article that summarized and via key words will lead to a larger more detailed understanding:

    Thanks again … I’m new to you site but have bookmarked it along with a few others on “nuke” issues.

    Comment by maggieannthoeni | August 17, 2012 | Reply

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