KYSHTYM DISASTER By SRUTHI SRINIVAS
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AT A GLANCE Location : Mayak, Russia Date : 29th September 1957 Type nuclear accident Outcome INES level 6(series accident)
INTRODUCTION Kyshtym Disaster was a radioactive contamination disaster. It occurred at a plutonium production site in Russia for nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel reprocessing plant of the soviet union. It is measured as a level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). It is the third most serious nuclear accident.
It happened deep in the eastern Ural mountains of the soviet union. The soviets disclosed details to no one, not even people affected. The Disaster was named after Kyshtym, the nearest known town. Th name is a misdirection because it happened in Chelyabinsk. During the soviet era, it's location was a secret to anyone who did not work there. Until 1989, the soviet government refused to acknowledge that the event had happened.
MAYAK PRODUCTION ASSOCIATION The secret nuclear facility was called Mayak but was more widely known by the code na me Chelyabinsk-40 Built in a hurry just after world war-II in order to catch up with the Americans in nuclear weapon technology. It was the first nuclear reactor used to create plutonium for the soviet atomic bomb oject
Five nuclear reactors were built to make refine and machine plutonium for weapons. - The plant was dangerous from the beginning. Radioactive waste was disposed of by dumping into the "Techa river" S li id waste was dumped on site and smoke was released into the air. The first recorded nuclear accident there occurred in 1953 but went unnoticed until a worker developed radiation sickness.
INCIDENT In 1957, the cooling system in one of the tanks containing liquid radioactive waste failed and not repaired. The temperature in the reactor started to rise resulted in chemical explosion of the dried waste. The explosion thrown 70-100 tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT) and ammonium nitrate and acetates
In the next 10 11 hours the bluish purple cloud moved towards the north east, reaching 300-350 km from the accident The fallout of the cloud resulted in a long term contamination of the area travelled by the cloud. This area is called East-Ural Radioactive trace(EURT). zone.
CAUSES Kyshtym disaster was a consequence of the failure to repair a malfunctioning cooling system in a buried tank where liquid reactor waste was stored. For more than a year the tank's contents grew steadily hotter from radioactive decay, reachjng a temperature of about 660 F (350 C) by September 29, 1957, when the tank exploded with a force equivalent to at least 70 tons of TNT. he nonnuclear explosion blew off the tank's one-metre-thick concrete lid and sent a ume of radioactive fallout.
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