Russian nuclear officials report their sites unaffected by Chelyabinsk near-miss meteorite shower
[link to www.bellona.org
Area densely populated by nuclear facilities and contamination
The most infamous nuclear facility in the area, located in the hard-hit Chelyabinsk Region, is the Mayak nuclear-fuel processing plant which houses some 560 tons of spent uranium fuel, 30 tons of reactor grade plutonium and 500,000 tons of solid radioactive waste. It also stores unknown quantities of weapons grade uranium and plutonium.
Mayak was the site of a major accident in 1957 caused some of the worst nuclear contamination in the Soviet Union’s history, second perhaps only to the infamous Chernobyl reactor accident in the sheer volume of the radioactive emissions it released. The accident occurred when a waste storage tank exploded and showered radionuclides throughout the Southern Urals, leaving areas that are still heavily contaminated with radiation even today.
Other sensitive nuclear sites in the area include Lake Karachai - only some 60 kilometers from where the meteorite hit - which Mayak used as a liquid waste dumping facility for decades. Some 120 million curies of radioactivity are concentrated there.
The lake is now desiccated and summer winds carry radioactively contaminated dust particles into the air. An asteroid hit in the lake bed, said Igor Kudrik, an expert on Russia’s nuclear industry with Bellona, could severely exacerbate the amount of radionuclides blown into the atmosphere.
Likewise, the Techa River Cascade, into which Mayak has dumped so much liquid radioactive contamination over six decades that the river itself is considered nuclear waste, could also spread radioactive contamination were it hit by an asteroid.
Local NGOsare lobbying for the entire river to be covered by a cement sarcophagus, a la Chernobyl’s exploded reactor No 4.
Other radioactive waste and spent nuclear storage sites that are speckled throughout the region could also have posed a danger.
The Most Contaminated Place on Earth: Chelyabinsk-40
[link to sometimes-interesting.com
We’re quite familiar with the lore of various secret United States nuclear facilities; their storied history and operations being shrouded in secrecy has fascinated us for decades. What we seldom hear about are the secret nuclear laboratories and test facilities of our greatest Cold War opponent – the former U.S.S.R. One particular installation – Chelyabinsk-40 – was the first Soviet plutonium production complex and the site of three separate massive nuclear incidents. Until recently this area was not on maps and the Russian government denied its existence.