We all know about the Chernobyl accident occurred in 1986. No doubt — it was a terrible technological disaster, the echoes of which will be felt more than one generation of earthlings. But few people know that in the former USSR it was not the only radioactive accident, just from other people carefully concealed.
The accident in Kyshtym
The first major accident with release of radioactive isotopes occurred in 1957 in the closed military town of Chelyabinsk-65. The main enterprise of this so-called “box” was the plant “Mayak”, known among the scientists and the military as the “Plant No. 817”. The terrible tragedy was preceded by two “call”, one of which was made in 1953 and the second in 1957.
March 15, 1953 in the technological solution of plutonium an uncontrolled chain reaction. The crash injured two employees of the plant have received large doses of radiation. Both survived, although one lost a little later the toe had to be amputated because of radiation sickness. 4 years later there was a second, more serious incident.
Combine No. 817
21 APR 1957 in processing line of uranium-235 is highly enriched isotope, began an uncontrollable process of continuous deposition. Chain reaction stopped that was impossible, has led to an excess in individual technological areas, radiation levels thousands of times. Then a fatal dose received by the female operator.
But all of these accidents were minor, compared to the disaster that occurred on 29 September 1957 and called Kyshtym. The trouble came because of imperfections in cooling of containers containing radioactive waste. The system was designed in such a way that between the containers continuously circulating water. The overheating was invalid and all perfectly knew about it.
A monument to liquidators of the accident at the plant “Mayak”
The first sign that something goes not so, was the yellow smoke that appeared above the storage of waste. Instead of sending the object to a team of specialists, the manual was limited to sending containers of electricians who only checked for faulty wiring. After a few hours of smoke appears one of the containers, the capacity of which was 80 cubic meters, exploded.
The lack of cooling capacity has caused overheating of the liquid contents of the container and formed as a result of this process, the pair ripped out the concrete cover. The radioactive release was huge. Modern experts estimate that it is only 2 times less than the release that occurred at Chernobyl. This case is listed in the Guinness Book of records as the biggest in the history of mankind environmental pollution by radioactive wastes.
East-Ural radioactive trace on the map of the Russian Federation
Deadly to all living things steam rose up and mingled with the clouds, and then fell to the ground as rain. These sediments have been deposited East-Ural radioactive trace (EURT), the area of which amounted to 25 thousand kilometers. Once the data about the Kyshtym disaster was declassified, we learned about 124 thousand injured. Data on deaths in official documents was not, but foreign journalists conducted their own investigation, came to the conclusion that there were at least 200 people.
The Soviet authorities were taken sluggish measures to rescue the local population — with a significant delay from the EURT zone were evacuated 30 villages. Traces of the Kyshtym disaster, one could find by means of the devices in the 90-ies of XX century.
The accident on the submarine K-19
The accident occurred in the Atlantic ocean, but since the scene was in the area of responsibility of the Soviet Union, and even a Soviet submarine, it is considered to be the incident throughout the country. State of emergency happened in the first Soviet underwater nuclear submarine K-19 and again was due to the flawed design.
In the open ocean has leaked radioactive substances from the reactor. Perhaps if the designers of the reactor of the submarine provided a cooling system, the trouble could have been avoided, but such equipment on the boat was not. Repair the faulty reactor was carried out by 8 members of the crew who bravely entered the reactor, replacing each other at regular intervals of time.
Nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles K-19. Project 658
All these people got huge exposure and died within three weeks after the accident. Another 20 crew members, including the boat captain Anatoly Kozyrev, died from different diseases in the next few years. The boat had infected everything, from people and finishing metal surfaces and objects simple marine life.
The crew conducted the emergency boat a day, then was shot by other submarines. Injured sailors were treated for the most advanced 60-ies of methods, including a complete blood transfusion. Unfortunately, in most cases, radiation sickness won. You also need to say that for the purposes of secrecy, the submarine put any diagnoses, in addition to real.
A series of accidents at Beloyarsk NPP
Located in the town of Zarechny, Sverdlovsk region, Beloyarsk NPP (BNPP). Kurchatov appeared in the Soviet Union the second in a row after Siberian. She from the beginning had no luck. The first of 4 power units of the station was commissioned in 1964 and in subsequent years in the reactor core, there were several serious breakdowns.
In 1977 he started the attitude of the second unit. Melted his teplovychisliteli why the level of radioactive contamination in the area of reactor rose to several times higher than normal. Professional personnel actions and known share of luck at the time, helped avoid a major accident and casualties, although many workers then got a hefty dose of radiation.
Beloyarsk NPP is still in effect
The most serious accident at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant is considered a fire from 30 to 31 December 1978, which was damaged load-bearing structures of the turbine hall and there was a partial collapse of its roof. That night at the NPP had every chance to get ahead of Chernobyl for 8 years and become the largest radioactive accident in the world. But concerted action by firefighters and the dedication of power once again helped to avoid the worst-case scenario.
270 people 10 hours fought the fire and provided the cooling cylinders hydrogen cooling system that was almost in the midst of the fire. In the course of liquidation of the accident were injured 8 people — they were diagnosed with “mild radiation sickness”. Of course, all we had to sign a confidentiality agreement, so that a serious accident few knew.
Another accident with release of radioactive substances occurred on the BNPP in the winter of 1987. Started to overheat sheath cells, which were nuclear fuel, just as it happened prior to the explosion at the 4th unit of the Chernobyl NPP. At this time there lots of fire and leak tons of radioactive isotope of sodium. After that less serious accidents at the BNPP occurred in the Soviet period, and in 90-ies.
This story is not connected with a major man-made disasters and has rather a local, domestic scale. But that’s why it seems to many the most terrible and inexplicable. It all started with the fact that one of the granite quarries of the Donetsk region, Ukrainian SSR, lost a vial of radioactive cesium-137. This dangerous substance was used in the instrument — uravnote. Loss of radioactive material resulted in an investigation.
The quarry was searched from top to bottom and found nothing, I realized that the vial could go from rubble to one of the numerous customers of the enterprise. All recipients of construction material were warned and asked to be vigilant, and that all measures to remedy the problem have been exhausted.
In this nine-Kramatorsk and tragedy
The continuation of the story received a few years later. In one of the prefabricated multi-storey buildings of Kramatorsk in 1981, died from leukemia 18-year-old girl. One year later, her younger 16-year-old brother and their mother. All of them were delivered the same diagnosis — leukemia. The doctors concluded that the reason of bad heredity, but entering the apartment the new tenants also began to die. After that began the investigation which revealed the source of radiation in the wall of a child’s bedroom.
It turned out that the vial size of 4 to 8 mm together with the rubble were taken to one of the house-building factories of Kramatorsk and were concreted into the wall panel. Ampoule in design that separated the two apartments, radiated 200 micro-roentgen per hour, which became the cause of many deaths. After clarification of a piece of the wall with cesium-137 were cut and taken away to Kyiv to study, and the several apartments of the house were subjected to decontamination.
State of emergency in the Bay of Chazhma
In the list of most severe radioactive accident the Soviet period, the case of the ill-fated submarine K-19 was not the only one. Another incident with the most serious consequences occurred on 10 August 1985 on the nuclear submarine K-431. The submarine was at a pier in the Bay of Chazhma in the sea of Japan and it made a planned cooldown of the reactor active zones.
During such maintenance of the reactor, part of the hull above the engine compartment is cut out and this place sets the so-called “handling the house”. In this technological a room during recharge are the officers of the boat and operating the reactor staff. Work of this type are familiar to everyone and therefore often allowed small violations of safety requirements.
This time in the course of work suddenly it became clear that the reactor is leaking. In such cases, the work is supposed to cease immediately and to report about the situation on the boat to their superiors. But instead, the boat crew decided to rectify the fault, without any excessive noise.
Burnt boat K-431
To repair the crane lifted the reactor lid and began to lift it slowly with the help of special crane. All present knew just how high you can lift that part of the reactor so as not to provoke a chain reaction. But accidentally, along with the lid began to raise the absorber, which for some reason went unnoticed.
The situation was very dangerous and required utmost sensitivity. Even a small swing suspended from a crane on the cover into the sink could cause a chain reaction in the reactor. This completely inappropriate moment in the Bay of Chazhma at high speed came a torpedo boat, a wave which rocked the boat. The scavengers were completely removed and the reaction started.
Emergency submarine K-431 in the Bay of Pavlovsk
Handling the house along with were in the sailors simply vanished in a huge reaction temperature. Instantly killed 10 were in person, from which there’s virtually nothing left. Later experts will find the wedding ring of one of the officers, and it will determine the level of radiation. Radiation was 90 thousand roentgens per hour, and its effect got not only the Bay with warships and crews, but also located in the distance the village of Shkotovo-22 and the local plant.
Torn in the explosion aboard the submarine immediately began to brew. This work was attended by the officers and employees of the shipyard, who knew perfectly well what they are. After some time, people went to the hospital. The accident was irradiated 290 the liquidators, of which 39 received the diagnosis of “radiation sickness”.
The village of Shkotovo-22 now called the Danube, and there still live people
Residents in the village of Shkotovo-22 about the accident were not notified and were not evacuated, but as factory workers, which continued all this time to work. Just in case in the district shut down the connection and put up a cordon. Later radioactive the boat was towed to a remote Bay Pavlovsk, where her repairs lasted until a decision was made to decommission it in the scrap.
Listed here are accidents accompanied by radioactive contamination is only the largest of a long list of state of emergency the Soviet period. Gradually the departmental archives reveal their secrets and we learn about new cases, when the country’s prestige was raised higher than the price of lives of thousands of people.