Nuclear waste history(3)

Nuclear waste history(3)
However we learn that the new lakes are close to sources and are contamination the region's main waterway, the river Techa. It feed numerous villages before flowing into the Ob which crosses all Siberia to Kara Sea. Muslimovo is the first village on the river. To investigate contamination from radioactive waste, we're joined by Christian Corbon, a CRIIRAD scientist. For 20 years, he has measured irradiated zones. We arrive at the river Techa. Christian starts sampling. The level is high here! Right at the foot of the steps we're at 1400 counts/second. Which is pretty high. The detector measures radiation levels. It shows the location is highly contaminated. On the edge here. It's totally rotten there. It's unbelievable! 5000 clicks a second: 50 times the natural radioactivity level. Given the radiometric level, it's very contaminated. We don't know which radioactive elements are in here, nor their type of toxicity. But it's very dangerous. You shouldn't put your fingers in it then lick them or touch your skin. There it went up to 16000. 16000 counts! That's enormous! In terms of site, what is it equivalent to? You mean finding such levels in the environment? Chernobyl. But finding this along a road under a bridge at such high level? No! And it's accessible to all. There are so many footprints. People must come here to cut reeds and fish. It 's very likely that people fish in that water.

The river should be off limits. It's a nuclear dump in the middle of nature with incredibly high radiation levels. To poor guys who built the new bridge. They must have absorbed amazing doses and be well contaminated. By the way, we should leave to limit our own dose. It happen very seldom. The river has been contaminated for 50 years. The government has evacuated many villages. Muslimovo is the last. Homes have fallen into disrepair. A handful of families live among the ruins. There used to be a school up there. Up to 1991 the chrildren of neighbouring villages studied here. It was the only high school in the district. This was their favourite spot. They would rest here, fish, play and lay in the sun. Now it's the most contaminated site off Muslimovo. The grandfathers led their greese here. they would sit on the grass as rasiation came up from the ground. Today all of them are dead. Why did the authorities not inform villagers of the dangers? The school is closed. In 1993, Boris Yeltsin's government decided to tell the truth. It was a time of openness and change. Russia craved transparency, once again forgotten.

Alexei Yoblokov is a Russian politician. A member of the Science Academy, he advised Yeltsin on ecology. During the Soviet era, the nuclear industry was held secret. The chenobyl disaster of 1996 was one of the reasons behind Gorbachev's Glasnost. the communists realised we could no longer live in a secretive society. It was dangerous: they had to reveal certain secrets, and the nuclear industry started telling the truth. Mayak was a secret site, nobody knew what was going on. Disasters were kept secret. Rumours spread that serious things were being kept secret. The disasters at Mayak affected the lives of tens of thousands. So we started talking about it. Yeltsin came to power on a wave of democratization and was forced to reveal the problems. After a political regime falls, there's a short period when the new regime tells the truth, like in Russua between 91 and 95. After that, it was hushed up again.

Since 1995, information has become to obtain in Russia. In Muslimovo and along the river Techa, Lives a generation sacrificed for the sake of nuclear secrecy. The government is offering a million rubles to leave the village: about 20,000 euros. It's too little for many to leave and they have decided to stay put. They took milk and water for analysis but we didn't get the results. The health authorities checking what we eat. They do it nearly every year. Have you ever had the results? Never. They do them for themselves. We take a sample and send it to the lab. The results are categorical: the milk is contaminated. It contains a significant amount of cesium-137, tritium and strontium-90, a radioactive element that attaches to bones. Regular drinking of this milk is a cancer risk.

Located in nearby Chelyabinsk, is the FIP, a nuclear-specialised hospital, which analyses and performs regular tests on patients. They never find out their results. To our surprise, the FIP agrees to see us. We talk to Mirak Offenko. As head of Epidemiology, she monitors the population's health. Regretfully, our population is very unique as its natural environment was hit by radiation. The result of the first studies were cinfirmed by our present research. They show an obvious linl between radiation dose received and the number of cancers...as well as the mortality rate due to them. We chose a group of individuals living in the villages along the Techa River. The group represents 30,000 people. As of today, we have been following them for 50 years. She admits the people of Muslimovo have been studied since the 1950s. Several generations were willfully left to live on contaminated land. They have no choice but to come here in the vague hope of a cure. Patient said "They are using us a guinea pigs. They built a monument in Kurchatov.  And for us, all that is left are the crosses. Everyday there is a funeral here in Muslimovo. We have 5 or 6 cemeneries that are all full. Go and see them, they're all full. Last year, I lost my son. He would have been 48 on June 21. He died of cancer. They should have warned us a long time ago and evacuated us. We live like guinea pigs. It's probably why they allow us to live here. It's our fate."

Nuclear waste history(1)
Nuclear waste history(2)
Nuclear waste history(4)
Nuclear waste history(5)
Nuclear waste history(6)
Nuclear waste history(7)

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