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The nuclear disasters that we don’t hear about – The Kyshtym Disaster

5 Unknown Nuclear Disasters: Chernobyl Is Far from the Only One, Chernobyl is not the world’s only nuclear disaster, there are plenty of others to keep you up at night., Interesting Engineering, By  

The Kyshtym Disaster

In September 1957, Ozyorsk, Russia was a closed city, built around the Mayak plant which produced plutonium for both nuclear weapons and fuel.

After scrambling to build the Mayak plant between 1945 and 1948, all six of its reactors initially dumped high-level radioactive waste directly into Lake Kyzyltash. When it became contaminated, they moved on to dumping into Lake Karachay, which also became contaminated.

In 1968, the Soviet government disguised the EURT area by creating East Ural Nature Reserve, with access allowed to only authorized personnel. Documents describing the disaster were only declassified in 1989.

On the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), Kyshtym is rated a 6, making it the third-most serious nuclear accident behind only the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl disaster, which are both Level 7

In 1953, workers built a storage facility for liquid nuclear waste, but that waste was being heated by residual decay heat from the nuclear reaction. The coolers around one of the tanks failed, and on September 29, 1957, that tank exploded with the force of between 70 to 100 tons of TNT.

While there were no immediate casualties, the explosion released an estimated 20 MCi (800 PBq) of radioactivity into the air. A plume containing 2 MCi (80 PBq) of radionuclides, primarily caesium-137 and strontium-90, moved toward the northeast and contaminated an area of more than 52,000 square kilometers (20,000 sq miles).

At least 270,000 people lived in that area, which is referred to as the East-Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT).

In an attempt to maintain secrecy, no evacuation was ordered, but a week later, on October 6, 1957, 10,000 people were removed from their homes.

Estimates of the death toll caused by the accident go from 200 to more than 8,000, depending on the study. A 2001 work stated that the accident caused 66 diagnosed cases of chronic radiation syndrome.

Amazingly, it wasn’t until 18 years later, in 1976, that the full scope of the disaster was disclosed by Zhores Medvedev in the publication the New Scientist.

In 1968, the Soviet government disguised the EURT area by creating East Ural Nature Reserve, with access allowed to only authorized personnel. Documents describing the disaster were only declassified in 1989.

On the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), Kyshtym is rated a 6, making it the third-most serious nuclear accident behind only the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl disaster, which are both Level 7……  https://interestingengineering.com/5-unknown-nuclear-disasters-chernobyl-is-far-from-the-only-one

K-19: The Widowmaker   Trailer 

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August 3, 2019 - Posted by | incidents, Reference, Russia

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