Some of the biggest firsts in the history of nuclear science came from a place that originally had no name. Instead, the area was designated by a number – Industrial Complex No 817 – itself located in city identified by a location and a number all its own: Chelyabinsk 65. As the Soviet Union crumbled, and certain veils of secrecy fell away, the place became known to the rest of the world as the Mayak Production Association in the Urals Mountain town of Ozersk. Its most important contributions to history by then, however, were already well known. Mayak – now one of the world’s most voluminous nuclear fuel reprocessors – had produced both the Soviet Union’s first atomic bomb and the world’s first nuclear disaster. The consequences of those events are also well-known: an international arms race, a Cold War, and what, precisely, the environment looks like after it’s been tainted by nuclear fallout and decades of careless radioactive waste handling practices. Over the past year, officials with Mayak and Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, have been looking at ways to redress some elements of the facility’s history, and these are the subject of a new paper by Bellona.
Bellona 15th Jan 2019 read more »