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Global Hibakusha

Global Hibakusha

Tatiana Mukhamediarova
Consultant, Chelyabinsk Nuclear Victim Organization "Aigul"
Natalia Mironova, Nuclear Safety Movement
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

The Nuclear Policy of Russia and the Response of the Public

“Our lives are a reflection of the quality of our attention.?
Lau-tzu’s Tao Te Ching

I want to begin by saying “thank you? to Gensuikyo for the opportunity to participate in this conference.
We are here today because the suffering and pain did not end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but is still going on in many places of Russia where people are exposed to the effects of nuclear production and we are afraid that soon everyone will learn that the plutonium economy, that Russia has decided to develop, has made millions suffer and has made our planet an impossible place to live on.

I live near the site where the first Russian nuclear and hydrogen bombs were produced.  When I was a schoolgirl I took part in staging a performance about the victims of nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Some of us wept to the sound of the bell tolling for the victims and we didn’t know that the bell was tolling for us.  Only at the beginning of the 90s we got to know that we lived in the dirtiest place on the Earth, and took part in a horrendous play, acting like guinea pigs for studying the effects of small doses of radiation.  From 1949 to 1952 2.76 million Cu of liquid radioactive wastes were discharged into the river Techa on the banks by which there were 39 villages with 41,000 people.  270,000 more people were exposed to various doses of radiation due to the accident of 1957.  In 1967 due to the fallout from Karachai 2,700 square kilometers were contaminated and 124,000 people were irradiated.

People who are still living as the downwinders and the downstreamers of the military nuclear facility “Mayak? that was responsible for this contamination are told that their survival depends on the money Russia will get for storing and reprocessing imported spent fuel.  These statements are made by nuclear departments, by local and federal authorities.  They are the very people who over many years never told the truth to the people who paid the cost for the development of the Russian nuclear shield with health of themselves and their children.  And what is more, our government is ready to place international nuclear waste storage on this land, worn out with suffering.  And in Russia, there is no law on handling nuclear wastes.

On July 4, 2001 the government of Russia agreed to import 20,000 tons of nuclear spent fuel and reprocess it into plutonium though almost 90% of the population were against it.

There are two ways to deal with plutonium: Converting it into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel and burning it in nuclear reactors; or immobilizing it by combining it with other high-level nuclear wastes and stabilizing it in a ceramic matrix.

The Russian Government has decided to choose the first way and is going to develop a plutonium economy.
The nuclear elite of Russia claims that they have the most advanced and safe technology, and they want to earn money to rehabilitate the contaminated areas.  The price of the contract is 21 billion dollars for 40 years.  Last year 28 billion dollars escaped from Russia.  This problem is not scientific or technological, it is political and the future of the planet is at stake.

They say that the money from reselling plutonium as commercial energy if a market develops can be used for the safe disposal of nuclear wastes.  The level of corruption in Russia is so high that the government can’t find the money it transfers.  What we can be sure of, is that the money would be stolen and the wastes would remain and the victims would be left to deal with their health problems.  Big policy is made with big money.  But no one should be allowed to benefit financially from harming others.

As for the safe technology, the reality in Russia is such that now one of our local NGOs is suing nuclear facility “Mayak? for using radioactive waste dumps without a proper license to do so.  And this is going on at a time when the radioactive lens of underground water has been moving 90 meters a year and poses a great risk to the sources of drinking water for Chelyabinsk with a population of 1,300 people.

They say that the risks have been estimated, that the plutonium economy is effective.  They haven’t estimated the cost of the rehabilitation of the territory after the Chelyabinsk and Chernobyl accidents and nobody is accountable for the suffering of the people.  It was estimated that 1.3 billion people have been killed, maimed or diseased by the nuclear industry since its inception.

They say that transportation of nuclear wastes is safe.  But not in Russia now.  Last month a train going from the Urals arrived in Novosibirsk without a single roof.  The roofs were stolen and sold as metal waste by people who couldn’t earn money any other way.

The authorities try to convince us that millions of tons of nuclear wastes will do no harm to us and those who will live after us.  They try to convince that they have high technology.  Their “high? technology includes placing radioactive wastes into the environment, which is absurd and unacceptable from the point of view of any modern environmental mind.

We are convinced and we claim that the suffering of thousands of people in Russia who have already felt the harmful effect of radiation will increase, and that the list of new accidents and new victims will increase.  We want you to listen to the voices of those who were born, have lived and raised children in the zone of 3 nuclear accidents, under the ongoing influence of the activity of nuclear production and whose lives in future will depend on numerous factors of high risk.

Taking into account the former sad experience of relations between state authorities and the public in Russia we are sorry to say that what lies ahead of us is a policy of genocide against the nation.

This is not to say that Russian people did nothing to fight this decision.  The NGOs of Russia gathered 2.5 million signatures against importing spent fuel (our NGO gathered 60,000).  Nuclear Safety Movement sent 400 information packages to the State Duma members and in the second reading of the law there were 110 more votes against the law.  We have gained good experience in negotiating with the Russian government and our regional Duma.  Due to our efforts, after a public hearing, organized by our Movement, our regional Duma initiated a regional referendum on this issue.  So the fight is not over yet.

What we are gravely concerned about now is that the main purpose of the plutonium economy is to coerce political and economic control and defend social privilege of the political and the nuclear elite of Russia.

Why are we against the plutonium economy and the world storage of nuclear wastes in Russia?  For the following reasons:
The amount of plutonium will increase.
There is no such thing as peaceful plutonium: it can be extracted from fuel rods and used for military purposes.
Reprocessing of spent fuel introduces new environmentally risky processes to the fuel cycle.  All experts agree that reprocessing is a very dirty process.
All the above-mentioned reasons are technological and scientific problems but there is also a very grave political aspect.  In the Russian Parliament there are very many aggressive members who hope to obtain plutonium together with the imported spent fuel and use this plutonium as a tool of political blackmail.

So the political and nuclear elite of Russia has decided to develop a plutonium economy.  It has neither the facilities nor the money to build it.  Therefore Russia is prepared to provide permanent storage for the world’s stockpile of nuclear wastes.

The world political and scientific communities have been trying to solve the problem of permanent storage for 25 years.  The project of Yukka Mountain in the USA and the project of Pangea Resources have failed.

Now Russia is eager to allow its territory to be used.  This idea poses an even greater risk to the whole world.  The solution to how to store the wastes hasn’t been found yet.

Even the idea of storing all wastes in one place is doubtful.  The safe transportation of wastes over the globe over a long period defies the laws of probability.  Accidents do happen and even one plutonium accident is capable of damaging life on the whole planet.

Apart from the risk of transport, leakage, etc., a centralized dump will discourage the states that produce the waste from taking responsibility for it.

Russia today is the least suitable place for such permanent storage.  The country has been going through political, economic and social crisis.  Democracy hasn’t been established yet.  Corruption at all levels is very high.

The problems we face are not only the problems of Russia but of the entire human community.  Therefore, we call on the international community to get united.  We need help.  We are addressing all of you now.  We, the people of Russia, need the help of everybody who is concerned for the safe future of the world.  What is going on in Russia now can endanger world security.

We appeal to you to move against this plan and urge the governments of Eastern Europe, Taiwan, South Korea and Switzerland to abandon their plans of transporting spent fuel to Russia for reprocessing.

We, the Nuclear Safety Movement have been dealing with the nuclear safety problem for 12 years and have come to the conclusion that a Convention on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is essential and must become a pivotal point in our struggle for a safe future.

We appeal to all of you here to include in the Conference Resolution an address to the United Nations to begin and promote the work on a Convention on the Prohibition and the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Global Hibakusha

Milya Kabirova
Chelyabinsk Nuclear Victim Organization “Aigul?
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

Radiation Effects on the Public Health

As a result of the activity of the nuclear production plant “Mayak? 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 million Cu.  The radioactive wastes through the Techa, Iset, Tobol, Irtush and 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 didn’t 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 can’t 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 hadn’t affected 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 “Movement for Nuclear Safety.?  But again official medicine considers these results to be an exception, but our NGO “Aigul? united women with chromic radiation disease and 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 “Mayak?, the additional risks to the public health.

The population of the Chelyabinsk Region is about 3,200,000 people.  More than a thousand and a half are still being exposed to radiation due to the contaminated environment and food contaminated with radionuclides.

The population of the contaminated areas has 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 chronic pathology both among adults and children, an increase in the number of radiation disease cases, a high rate of cancer, infertility and inborn deformities.

The Data of Diseases in Muslumovo
Chronic radiation disease: 1997- 132 people, 2 of them children
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.

Children’s Health
Among the pathologies the first place is occupied by pathologies of the throat and nose - every third child.
- Every fifth - chronic diseases of respiratory system
- Every sixth - digestive system
- Every third child has a syndrome of vascular distony
- Every fifth - cardiovascular diseases

70% of the examined children of pre-school and elementary school age show psychic deviations, connected with diffusion or insufficiency of the brain.  Geneticists warn about the population catastrophe.  45 years after the discharge of the wastes into the river Techa the examination of the population revealed the presence of cells with dicenters, with tricenters and centrical rings that point first of all to the high doses of radiation received by the population and second, exposure to internal irradiation.  The research showed that the level of genetic destruction among the descendents is higher than among the parents.

State of Health of the Downwinders of the Argayash Region
The Argayash region is not situated on the Techa River, and it didn’t suffer from the fallout but it is situated in the vicinity of the nuclear facility “Mayak.?  The state of health of the population is very worrying:
Nervous system diseases ? 72%
Digestive system diseases ? 50%
Blood organs diseases ? 38%
Disabled ? every fifth person.

In January 2000 the NGO “Aigul? initiated a research to find out the effective doses of radiation received by the population.
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 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 take some measures to decrease radiation risks for themselves and their children and to protect their right to life and a good environment.

Global Hibakusha

Nathalie Mironova
Movement for Nuclear Safety, Chelyabinsk
2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

Dangerous Links Between Plutonium Bombs And Plutonium Economy
Transparency and Openness Help Society to Make a Choice

I am happy to be joining the most responsible part of our society at this significant Conference.  I am sure most of us believe that:

"If powerful men and women
Could center themselves in it,
The whole world would be transformed
By itself, in its natural rhythms." (Tao Te Ching)

Let's think together: where is the place, what is the role of nuclear weapons for the next Millennium?  Political and military elites try to deny nations the right to live in peaceful rhythm.  Have nuclear weapons transformed the natural rhythms of the citizens of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Muslumovo, Argayash region,  Rocky Flats,  Sellafield, or other places of the our planet, or region, where I live?  Nuclear weapons have forced people to adjust their rhythm of their lives to fit in with the dictates of a nuclear world.  There are very deep psychological changes: society has been split into two parts - small numbers of heroic nuclear kamikazes and big numbers of victims of this heroism.  Only political elites and military industry have made profit from this conflict.

The Summary of the nuclear and political elites activity:
The Summary of the nuclear and political elites activity:
  Russia USA Great Britain France China
National product (NP) 10(9) $ (USD) *  205.3 9333.0 1,423.8 1,464.9 1001.1
National product per person, 10(3) $  1,410 33,946 24,947 24,956 0.790
Growth of NP 1% 2.7% 2.6% 2.7% 7%
Inflation 38% 2.6% 2.6% 1.1% 2.5%
Total Nuclear Warheads (NW)** ~22,500 12,070 380 ~500 ~450
Number of  NW after reductions ~12,000 1,350 220 50 50
Resources (NW) - 2,300 - - -
Total Pu resources (t) 180 ? 220 101 55 40.6 2-6
Military Pu resources (t) 150-190 99.5 3.1 5 2-6
Military Uranium (t) 1,050*** 645 8 24 20

* - "The Economist"
** - A.Machijany, "Energy and Security", 1999.
*** - 500 ton HEU discusses to sell to USA

According to the experts' conclusion the optimal number of warheads for Russia and USA is 1500 each. The mountains of surplus plutonium are putting pressure on the national and the world economy.  Today we see very dangerous processes of transforming Plutonium Bombs to a Plutonium economy.

It is known that processing of each 100 tons of spent nuclear fuel produces one ton of  "commercial" plutonium.? In the early 80s the biggest Russian nuclear site,  "Mayak", had 30 tons of  "commercial" plutonium from processing Russian and foreign spent nuclear fuel.  Over the next 20 years "Mayak" was processing 100-200 tons of spent fuel every year. ?So, "Mayak" had to store a minimum of 20 more tons of plutonium during these years. ?It means that they now must have 50 tons from processing Russian and foreign spent fuel.  But officials claim only 30 - 33 tons.  This is very questionable. Until 1999 this quantity of "civilian" plutonium was excluded from the Russian-American program for reducing the danger of plutonium.  The Movement for Nuclear Safety has drawn the attention to this disproportion.   Success came in 2000, when "civilian" plutonium was included in negotiations.

The legacy of the strategy of "nuclear restraint":  Today the stock of plutonium in Russia is twice as much as the stock of plutonium in the USA and it is still growing.  The safe handling of 200 tons of plutonium costs, according to American safety standards, 800 million dollars a year.  The political cold war gambling led to a situation where the USA invested 100 times more national resources than those of their close political competitors.  The USA expenditure on nuclear weapons and their infrastructure constituted 5.5 billion dollars for the period 1940-1996.  (Arjun Machijany, 1999, with reference to Stephen I. Schwartz, 1998).  No equivalent figures have been published for Russian nuclear arsenals.

Today experts believe that the number of nuclear warheads of the super states should be decreased to 1,500 in each one.  Such a decrease could lift  the economic burden and could strengthen national defense.  But the problem is that neither in the USA nor in Russia has the process of nuclear disarmament become irreversible.  Almost 10 billion dollars that have been invested into the industrial infrastructure of both Russia and the USA, thousands of nuclear scientists who don't want to do anything else, the budget interests of military corporations - all these create an inertial stream that has  to be blocked by a public aware of its danger.  The nuclear elite lives in a closed technocratic atmosphere and they don't want to leave "cold war" priorities and principles: They miss the "cold war".  Chelyabinsk-65 was reported to have 83,000 inhabitants and "almost 100,000 people."  The nuclear complex covers some 90 square kilometers according to a ministry report, and is run by the production association Mayak.  All the reactors are located near the southeast shore of Lake Kyzyltash and relied on open-cycle cooling: water from the lake was pumped directly through the core.  The plutonium reactors were closed in the 90s.  Processing and isotopes production still operates.  "Mayak" was the first Soviet plutonium production complex.  Construction was started on the first buildings of the new city in November 1945.  Some 70,000 inmates from 12 labor camps were reportedly used to build the complex.

Nuclear downwinders? environmental and health problems:  There are 15 nuclear sites in Russia, connected with military production and the fuel cycle.  Five of them are situated in the Ural Mountains and three of them are situated in the Chelyabinsk region.  The most famous, most dangerous and oldest is the complex "Mayak".  I live near the site, where the first Russian nuclear and hydrogen bombs were produced.  From the end of the 40s the first radiochemical plant started to produce plutonium.  The production of military plutonium is closed now.  Tritium production is still operating.  In 1976 radiochemical plant PT-1 started "civilian" activity.  Last year 1,831 million cubic metres liquid and solid wastes with radioactivity of 42.5 million Ku were produced at Mayak.  From this number 1.25 million Ku was dumped in the Karachay, Old Swamp and some other lakes and the Techa- river.  150 millions Ku radioactivity has been collected in Karachay since 1953.  Several other lakes and rivers are used by "Mayak" scientists and officials for dumping nuclear wastes.  The migration of radionuclides with underground water from the Karachay is extremely dangerous for drinking resources of the Chelyabinsk region.  Tritium waste is dumped into the lake named "Old Swamp".  Tritium waste also migrates from the Old Swamp to the underground water.

Nukes can go on polluting natural water resources by falsifying the safety checks and putting the censure on environmental information.   But this falsification and censure can't protect the environment from nuclear contamination and health from nuclear hazardous effects.  According to Nuclear Inspectorate Gosatomnadzor information 1999, "Mayak" has no license to use reservoirs: lakes and rivers for the disposal of  nuclear waste.

The people of the Chelyabinsk Region have suffered no less than three nuclear disasters:  For several years 1949 - 1953, the Mayak complex systematically dumped radioactive waste into the Techa River, the only source of water for the 24 villages which lined its banks.  The four largest of those villages were never evacuated, and only recently have the authorities revealed to the population why they strung barbed wire along the banks of the river some 35 years ago.

In 1957, the area suffered its next calamity when the cooling system of a radioactive waste containment unit malfunctioned and exploded.  About two million curies spread throughout the region, exposing to radiation over a quarter of a million people.  Less than half of one percent of these people was evacuated, and some of those only after years had passed.

The third disaster came ten years later.  The Mayak complex had been using Lake Karachay as a dumping basin for its radioactive waste since 1951.  In 1967, a drought reduced the water level of the lake, and gale-force winds spread radioactive dust throughout 25,000 square kilometers, further irradiating half a million people with five million curies.

There were 217 towns and villages with a combined population of 270,000 people in the area that was contaminated with greater than 0.1 curies of strontium 90 per square kilometer.  By comparison, the total strontium 90 fallout at this latitude from past atmospheric tests is 0.08 curies per square kilometer.  Virtually all water supply sources in the area were contaminated.  Evacuation of the most highly contaminated areas, where 1,100 people lived, was not completed until 10 days after the accident.  Other areas were evacuated a year later, after the population had consumed radioactive food.  In the years following the accident, 515 square miles of land was plowed under or removed from agricultural use; all except 80 square kilometers was returned to use by 1978.

About 10,000 people lived in the 1,000-square-kilometer area contaminated with more than two curies of strontium 90 per square kilometer.  One-fifth of these people eventually showed a reduction of leukocytes in their blood.  There are no records of deaths caused by the accident.

Contamination from "Mayak" operation activity can be compared with the effects of nuclear bombing, but they are more dangerous because they are kept secret.  People keep living on the contaminated territory.  The food is contaminated, water is contaminated, and air is contaminated.  The most terrible effect this contamination has is on the third generation. Children's health is very bad.  On the downwind territory each fifth child has chronic lung diseases, each third has acute respiratory disorders, each sixth has chronic stomach diseases.  Each third child has vascular atony, each fifth has heart dysfunctions.  Seven in every ten children aged 3-10 have behavior abnormalities and problems in social adaptation connected with a partial dysfunction (deficiency) of the central nervous system and diffusive or focal failure of the brain.  Recent investigation has shown that a 1-year-old girl, Regina Stern, has a particle of plutonium in her body.

Of downwind adults 72% have nerves diseases, 50% stomach diseases, and 40% blood abnormality.  Each fifth adult is an invalid.  The health and environmental effects of the nuclear industry activity reveal a showing low-level of technical safety and a low-level engineering culture.  The rehabilitation of the territory and inhabitants of Chelyabinsk region looks like a sham, which creates catastrophes.  Dismantling military nuclear arsenals:   Moreover, 50,000 warheads will also be stored in the same nuclear site,  "Mayak" complex.  And eventually infrastructure for MOX (mixed Oxide) fuel will also be built at  "Mayak".  People are opposing with these plans. "Mayak" consists of several dozens of facilities.  Can you imagine what may happen on this site, if a terrorist would attempt to take some fissile materials, or if a terrorist will send a rocket?  The disaster will be several hundred times more than those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

Links between plutonium bombs and plutonium economy:  As you may know, on June 4 President Clinton and President Putin announced an agreement, which supports the industrial use of weapon grade plutonium in nuclear power reactors in both nations.  At the upcoming G-8 Summit in Okinawa, Russian and American leaders asked other nations for financial support for this program.

Although environmentalists want dismantled weapons to be handled safely they are sure that to process plutonium for use as fuel in American and Russian nuclear power plants is wrong.  Many scientists, engineers, and environmentalists oppose the bilateral agreement, which would abandon the safer alternative of immobilization for Russian plutonium.

The US-Russian agreement calls for 34 tons of Russian plutonium to be used in nuclear power plants; in the United States 25.5 tons of plutonium would be used in nuclear power reactors and 8.5 tons immobilized.  Plutonium mixed oxide fuel has a greater quantity of hazardous radioactive materials, which would cause additional harmful radiation exposure to the public in case of reactor failure.  The increase in health risk is related to the amount of plutonium fuel loaded into the reactor core.  A reactor using mixed oxide for one-third of its fuel would contain about three times more plutonium 239 than a same reactor loaded with conventional uranium fuel.  A severe accident, involving containment failure or bypass, could cause 30% more cancer fatalities, corresponding to hundreds or even thousands of additional cancer deaths in the communities surrounding the plant.

Moreover, who will assume liability for plutonium fuel accidents in Russian light water reactors funded by America and other G-8 nations?  What would be the political fallout from such accidents?  These issues should have been resolved before President Clinton signed the agreement with President Putin.
"Greens" prevented nuclear corruption:  Russian greens and environmentalists understand the situation very clearly.  They are trying to prevent a new type of corruption connected with nuclear waste business.

The documents, dated May 19, 1998, show that 200,000 barrels of Taiwan Power Company's (Taipower) nuclear waste will be shipped to Russia via Japan within 10 years.  Taipower will pay NT(National Taiwan)$800 million, or an average of NT$4,000 per barrel.

Benefits to the three parties were also mentioned in these documents.  For Taiwan, problems caused by the lack of dump sites for nuclear waste would be solved, while thousands of job opportunities would be created for Russians.  As for Japan, documents show that, as the agent, Asia Tat Trading Co. Ltd. (ATT) would make a handsome profit.  The Kurchatov Institute (KI), Russia's largest nuclear weapons center, is reportedly organizing the project.  Profit for the venture has been projected at around US$10 billion.  The Japanese agent had reached an informal agreement with a Russian atomic research center concerning dumping nuclear waste for the company.

According to the information of one of Russian environmental organizations Ecodefense, Kurchatov Institute officials lobbied for changes in Russia's legislation in exchange for financial support by ATT.  It has been reported that Taipower plans to begin operating the nuclear waste dump in 2012, but that local protesters asking for compensation could affect these plans.

Another case: Receiving and storing foreign spent fuel is banned in the federal level but has been allowed by the regional law in Chelyabinsk region.  The administration, due to a Presidential order, is getting 12% of Mayak profit and regards this enterprise as the source of extra budget funds that may be used for supporting election campaigns.

All three nuclear sites have their representatives in the Chelyabinsk regional legislative body, lobbying for the interests of this industry.  The peculiar feature of this activity is fact that  although receiving and storing foreign spent fuel is banned under federal level, it has been allowed since 1999 by the regional law "Concerning radioactive protection of the population of the Chelyabinsk region".

The "Movement for Nuclear Safety" watches illegal activity of regional legislators.  We apply to the General Prosecutor for asking him to over-rule the regional Law "Concerning radioactive protection of the population of the Chelyabinsk region".  This regional law violates federal law by ignoring state prohibition to import nuclear material for storage.  He called us on July 13 and informed us that he would apply to the regional Court against this violation.  The Regional Prosecutor invited MNS to be the third side in this case.  It is great victory of our network.

But that is not all.  On April 29 Chelyabinsk legislators wrote a letter to President Putin asking  him to support nuclear waste deals.  For our part we asked the  public to write to legislators to withdraw its letter to Putin because it violated human rights.  On June 29 7 Russian green activists were arrested in Chelyabinsk after a public action against the nuclear waste industry.  I was one of them.  Five NGOs organized an action against a spent nuclear fuel deal as a national financial base of the Plutonium economy in Russia.

Seven activists were arrested for 4 hours and received a warning from the Judge.  We made a very nice action.  The Judge after we answered her questions said, that she was supporting our point of view!  The policemen, who arrested us, also added that they were against importing nuclear waste.  So, we had a big success.  All local press, TV and Radio informed people about this action and problems connected with it.  The Regional Governor invited us to meet him after the action - before, he was ignoring our addresses to him.

The "Movement for Nuclear Safety" is carrying on a program of professional education of NGOs leaders.  We are sure that this program will enable us to successfully negotiate with the government on the issues of national nuclear policy and of ensuring transparency and strengthening public participation in the decision making process of nuclear disarmament and decreasing nuclear threats.  At the same time we need to strengthen public influence on the United Nation for developing a UN Convention on nuclear weapons elimination.  We must strengthen our international collaboration.

Global Hibakusha

Tatiana Leschenko
Union of Nuclear Test Victims - Altai Branch
International Symposium; “Fifty Years since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?, August 1995, Hiroshima

In 1947 the government of the former USSR made a decision to build a nuclear test site on the territory of the former Kazakh Socialist Republic for testing nuclear weapons. On August 29, 1949 a ground test of the first Soviet atomic device was carried out.  On account of the lack of experience, scientists were not able to foresee the nuclear cloud that expanded to relatively distant and highly populated regions.  People who lived in the Altai Region were not informed of that nuclear test and the following ones and nothing had been done to protect them.  In August 1949, due to the passage of a nuclear cloud and radioactive fallout, residents in some southern parts of the Altai Region were subjected to heavy radiation of hundreds of millisievert, which was much more than the level that the people living in the 30-kilometer-zone around Chernobyl Power Station had suffered.

Lack of medical study on the effects and the strict secrecy on nuclear testing made it impossible for us to grasp even now whether only a part of the region or the whole of it was affected by radiation.

The population of the Altai Region have been repeatedly affected by ensuing nuclear tests, in particular, the first thermo-nuclear device tested on August 12, 1953 and the hydrogen bomb test on November 22, 1955.  In total, 87 atmospheric and 26 above-ground tests were conducted.

For the 40 years since the day nuclear tests began, military leaders and bureaucrats have constantly denied the possibility that the Altai Region had been affected by radiation.  And only with the help of our scientists, such as Prof. Shoihet, vice president of the Altai Medical University Research and Scientific Department, and social, anti-nuclear, non-governmental organizations, which were trying to acquire the truth of those years, we could force not only people who had engaged in the nuclear tests but also high officials in Moscow to take measures for the effects of nuclear tests inflicted on the Altai Region.  Most of the damages and effects on the Altai Region, caused by nuclear tests in the 1940s through the 1960s, has now been made clear.

The documents of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site revealed that during the period of nuclear testing, fallout generated by 56 atmospheric tests fell on many parts of the Altai Region and contaminated almost the whole of the region.  Most seriously damaged was the southern part of the Altai Region.  Moreover, it was confirmed that following some nuclear explosions, a considerable amount of radioactive substance fell on the distant northern part.

When nuclear testing was planned in the 1950s, the upper limit of the acceptable dose of radiation was decided as a safety criterion for the  population.  First, it was fixed at 50 roentgen and by the end of the decade it was lowered to half, and it fell to 2 roentgen at the end of the 1960s.  In accordance with the criterion, conditions for nuclear testing were worked out.  However, there are evidences that the criterion was not observed in some nuclear tests.

Even after atmospheric nuclear tests were banned, nuclear tests were going on.  At the time of an underground test in 1965, a huge amount of radioactive substance with soil leaked into the air and was carried to the Altai Region.

According to an interim data, which needs to be confirmed, in the Altai Region, 270 thousand people were exposed to a dose of more than 50 millisievert, 40,000 people, more than 250 millisievert, and about 1 million people, more than 10 millisievert.

The approximate total dose of radiation that the Altai Region received from nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site has been counted as 3 sievert per 60 thousand people.  Such a "collective" dose theoretically must have caused 3-4 thousand additional deaths from forms of cancer, 780 serious genetic affects and many other diseases, with the total lives lost around 90 thousand human-life years.

It turned out that the population of the Altai Region were affected by radiation twice as much if we put together a number of people who took part in the cleaning-up work after Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station accident and residents of Bryanskaya Province .

In this case it is not an occasional thing that cancer mortality, genetic defects and other diseases, which are usually characteristic of the late effects of radiation, have been statistically registered more often in Altai, which is blessed with the best natural environment in the whole of Siberia, than in the neighboring regions.

To draw a real picture of the influence of Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site on the territory of the Altai Region, and to estimate medical, social and other aftereffects of the tests, in 1991, in Barnaul, Altai Region, by our scientists, with the head, Professor Shoihet, a special scientific research center was organized, which later was transferred into the Scientific Research Institute of the Medical and Pollution Problems of the Altai Region, and now they work especially in this field.

As a result of those activities, well organized and purposeful researches, where 90 leading universities and institutes of Moscow, St.Petersburg and Siberia are taking part, have started on the territory of the Altai Region.  All the researches are carried out as a special planned state program that has the consent of the government of the Russian Federation.

Social Protection of the Population
Social protection of the population of the Altai Region who suffered from nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site is provided by the decree of the president of the Russian Federation , "On the Social Protection of People Who Suffered from the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, December 20,1993 #2228".

By this decree, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian Federation, designated the list of places where the people should have privileges and other means of social protection.

On April 1, 1994 a law of social defense of the nuclear test victims of the Altai Region went into effect.  It has been applicable to those people who lived in the Altai Region during the period 1949-1963 and received doses of radiation over 25 sievert, and also to those with doses over 5 sievert and less than 25 sievert.  The articles of this law include enough measures to compensate and to provide social defense.  This law covers not only the first generation of victims but also the later generations.

The law provides that these people are allowed to get free medical treatment, medicines, free transportation and medical-rehabilitation and sanatorium treatment, and to retire 10 years earlier than the fixed age requirement etc..

But today this law does not protect the victims as it should.  It is not in the interest of government, because of economic reasons, to add many parts of the Altai Region to the list of sufferers, in spite of the fact that we have all the scientific conclusions to do it.

At the present moment all the privileges exist only on paper, and the law itself does not work.  The main cause of this situation is that the government stopped subsidizing the Semipalatinsk Program.

The economic crisis in Russia first of all influenced the medical treatment system, and this decreased the chances of the victims to get necessary assistance.  Children are suffering most of all.  In the second and third generations we can see a high rate of newborn mortality and a huge amount of the innate deformity, and many intellectually disabled children are being born.

The main purpose and aim of our organization is to look for a way out of this situation for a solution of this problem.  First of all, we are directing our own and other efforts and public efforts to organize a children's rehabilitation center, in addition to the existing clinic.  If we don't organize this center soon, a lot of children will be doomed.  The plan for establishing this center was made by the clinicians who are involved in our movement.  We truly hope that our ideas in this field will be widely supported.  Only by working together, sharing experiences and opinions, and feeling the pain of each other, can we be winners over the evil that has been brought to the world by nuclear weapons.

Solidarity with Hibakusha

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