As a result of the activity of the nuclear production plant gMayakh in the South Urals since 1948 a vast amount of radioactive wastes has been discharged into the environment. It has caused an extremely difficult ecological situation for a very large region. During 1948 - 52 the discharge of radioactive wastes into the river Techa constituted 3 mln Cu. The radioactive wastes through the Techa, Iset, Tobol, Irtush, Ob reached the Arctic Ocean. By 1952 it became clear that the situation was critical, and when they found leukemia among 67% of the inhabitants of the village of Metlino, they decided to resettle the villages. But in 1957 one more accident happened, and 270,000 more people found themselves in the contaminated area. They were not asked where they wanted to go, but they were loaded into the trucks and moved away. The buildings and the cattle were destroyed.
All 6 villages (18.000 people) were evacuated, but at intervals of 30-40 km 4 villages were left: Muslumovo, Brodocalmak, Russian Techa, Nijnia Petropavlovka. What for? On the boarder of the depopulated zone there is situated Muslumovo on the river Techa - this village is on the nuclear dump.
The disease rate of the population was very high. The reason seemed to be obvious. The life of the inhabitants of Muslumovo is connected with the river Techa, the floor of which is covered with radioactive wastes. But Soviet medicine didnft want to recognize the links between diseases and the radioactive contamination.
A great number of locals died with symptoms of cancer, but the documents described the cause of death as general disease. We canft say how long this curtain of secrecy and silence about the accidents at the Mayak facility would have been kept, but in 1986 the Chernobyl tragedy happened. The radiation disease, the link between the disease and the radiation exposure, became widely discussed in mass media. Nevertheless, the official point of view was that the exposure to radiation hadnft effected the health of the local people. The first to act was the doctor of the local hospital Gulfarida Galimova, who had her patients diagnosed in a diagnostic center. The examination led to a sharp rise in the number of diseases diagnosed, and the official information about the good situation regarding public health in Chelyabinsk Region was no longer confirmed.
Together with genetic scientists from Novosibirsk genetic blood testing of children - descendents of irradiated people - was carried out and it was found that every fourth child is a mutant due to chromosome changes.
It became possible to establish the truth only after joining a public movement g Movement for Nuclear Safety.h But again official medicine considers these results to be an exception, but our NGO gAigulh united women with chromic radiation disease and with children who have health deviations.
We decided to continue the research. With the financial support of the Ford fund we made a contract with the Institute of General Genetics named after Vavilov of the RAS presented by professor V.A. Shecvhenko. The results surprised the scientist: in the blood of children born in 1997 found markers that can appear only after exposure to radiation. There are no other factors.
Now that Russia has decided to import spent fuel it is necessary to analyze the effects of the former activity of the nuclear facility gMayakh, the additional risks to the public health.
The population of the Chelyabinsk Region is about 3 mln 200 thousand people. More than a thousand and a half are still being exposed to radiation due to the contaminated environment and to the food, contaminated with radio nucleides.
The population of the contaminated areas have to live in the high risk zone. There is a rise in the number of people, unable to work, early deaths and disability.
The medical research shows high rates of heavy chronical pathology both among adults and children, an increase in the number of radiation disease cases, a high rate of cancer, infertility and inborn deformaties.
The birth rate is decreasing, but the number of children with pathology is rising:
1997 - 47 were born - 30 with pathology - 67,8%,
1998 - 57 were born - 28 with pathology - 49%
1999 - 45 were born - 43 with pathology - 95,5%
Children are very susceptible to radiation exposure, small doses of radiation slow or stop altogether the growth of bones. This leads to skeleton development abnormalities.
The results showed that in the examined settlements the population was exposed to a huge mutagenetic factor of radiation origin.
The aim of our work is to help people of the region to get the information on radiation situation in the region, radiation in general and the effect of small doses on human beings. It is possible that this information will help people under the present conditions to take some measures to decrease radiation risks for themselves and their children and to protect their right to life and a good environment.