International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Milia Kabirova

Chairperson, NGO gAigulh

Chelyabinsk, Russia

Nuclear Production Victims

My name is Milia Kabirova I have come from Russia. It the second time that I am taking part in the work of the International Conference against A&H Bombs and I would like to thank the organizers for the invitation and the opportunity to present my report here.

What is the common problem that has united us all here?  We are all so different but one wish unites us all. To live in the world without nuclear weapons so that our future generations will not be hostages for nuclear production and will never experience the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On the territory of the Chelyabinsk region from where I have come, the nuclear facility gMayakh is functioning, the facility of the military production industry to produce weapon plutonium, the main component for producing nuclear weapons.

This facility has brought much suffering to the population that live in the vicinity of it. Three very grave accidents have taken place at the facility gMayakh.

The first catastrophe was the discharge of liquid radioactive wastes without purification into the river gTechah, more than 3mln cuties of radioactivity have been discharged into the river system; 124 thousand residents from 41 settlements have been exposed to radiation.

The second radiation catastrophe was the explosion of the tank with liquid radioactive wastes, more than 20mln curies of radioactivity were discharged into the atmosphere. 335 thousand residents in 391 settlements were exposed to radiation.

The third catastrophe was caused by the wind fallout of radioactive dust from the shores of the lake Karachai that served as the storage of liquid high level radioactive wastes. More than 1mln curies were spread, 24 thousand people in 68 settlements became victims of radiation exposure.

As the result of these three accidents the territory of our region was exposed to the amount of radionuclides that exceeds the discharge from the reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear station.

The production activities of the gMayakh caused a lot of suffering and took many lives away. Now the desendants of the victims are still suffering from the mistakes of the nuclear industry representatives and people have to live in the zone of special risk. Only in 1993 the Law on Social Protection of the Radiation Victims was enforced but even it does not give full guarantee. Unstable economic situation, lack of financing and people are left to face their problems alone.

The history of my family is a striking example of this. People are economically tied to the contaminated territory: compensations to the victims are paid only if they are still living on the contaminated land. In Muslumovo those who do not work, pensioners and children receive 1.8 dollars a month, those who work receive about 7 dollars a month. Even those 7 dollars are difficult to get, as if a driver or a tractor driver works in the field or goes to some other place it means that he spends the working day on the clean territory and so he is not paid for this day. My brother works at the railway and every day he goes to the next station, so he is paid 1.8 dollars. Every person, who like me left Mislumovo to live somewhere else are paid 3 dollars a year. In order to get this money we have to visit a lot of offices and submit a lot of documents.

Last year I told you about my family. My father died from radiation exposure when he was 44, leaving behind 7 children without any means. Our mother and we, the children could not even receive any special pension or benefits that we were entittled to as my fatherfs illness was connected with his job. Our father got exposed to radiation while doing his job – guarding the contaminated river. But he was registered as working in the neighbouring region as the security regulations required. When my mother was given the job after his death the senario was the same.

When in 1993 the law on compensating moral and physical damage, our mother filled a suit. The court case lasted four years. During these years a lot of events happened in our family. My two elder brothers died: one, aged 50, from cancer, the second, aged 44, from a heart attack. My elder sister was operated on and got the status of a person being ill with cronic radiation desease. My brother and I got the same status due to sterility. In March 1997 the Court at last admitted that our mother suffered moral and physical damage. The court admitted that the children who were born after 1949 were exposed to radiation in the motherfs womb. But we lost the suit because the court decided that the damage was done before 1993 when the Law was enforced.

Two months ago the only hospital in Muslumovo was closed. Cancer is diagnozed very late and people with cancer are able to get compensation only two-three months. It is evident that the state is trying to save even these meagre compensations and this fact finally discredits the nuclear policy of the Government of the Russian Federation.

In order to improve the situation the Government of the Russian Federation has decided nothing better than to earn money for the rehabilitation of the contaminated territories by reprocessing foreign nuclear spent fuel. This decision was made at the time when in Russia the total activity of the accumulated radioactive materials constituted 7 billion curies. However, it is known that while reprocessing one ton of nuclear spent fuel there is formed:

Radioactive contamination and radioactive wastes accumulated in the process of production activities of the nuclear military production facility gMayakh and the on-going accumulation of radioactive wastes from the realization of modern civil programs will go on influencing the biosphere for thousands of years. That is why solving the problems connected with reprocessing and long-term storing of radioactive wastes is the main problem of nuclear industry at present and in the future.