ENFORCED AMNESIA – THE DISPOSSESSION OF MEMORY PART 4
Mayak is an ogoing, relentless disaster without end. Since its commencement in 1949 until today, the plutonium production plant and nuclear waste storage facility has caused suffering and permature death to countless people over a wide area.
The claim by Russian authorities that there is treatment for chronic exposure to nuclear contamination is fantastic and unbelievable in the light of the disclosures to the contrary made over many years. The claim made by the Urals Research Center For Radiation Medicine that it has achieved an 88% success rate in healing those people afflicted in the 1950s and 1960s is absurd in the light of what is known about the living hell people continue to suffer as a result of Mayak. (The Urals Research Centre For Radiation Medicine, description of the work of A. K. Gusʹkova from 1949 on). If a treatment, an antidote, existed to living in a radio-contaminated land, these people would not be sick, would not suffer and would not die prematurely. A reading of the information provided by the Russian institute gives the impression that the health crisis caused by Mayak is over. It is not. It is ongoing.
As previously discussed, the United States has had the opportunity since 1945 to listen and learn from the Japanese doctors who diagnosed Chronic Radiation Sickness in people affected by the Black Rain area of Hiroshima, and in those people rendered ill due to their entry into Hiroshima after the bomb. As we have seen, the people affected, as confirmed by Australian courts as late as the 1990s, included Australian soldiers who were part of the Allied Occupation of Japan.
America has been blind to the reality of Chronic Radiation Syndrome for most of its nuclear history. It has taken on board the Russian concept of the syndrome. And the original Russian concept, like the original Japanese concept, had a poorly defined dose threshold. Today, the International Committee on Radiation Protection wishes to impose a high threshold dose below which the syndrome may not be legally diagnosed.
The dose limit is a legal limit, and the means by which therefore, legal liability is avoid. This is my opinion.
Chronic Radiation Syndrome is NOT a new syndrome, it having been described by Japanese doctors in 1945. The US “surprise”, the value given by the USA to the Russian “discovery” of CRS following the disclosures of the USSR and then Russia from the late 1980s onward is misplaced (Though the earliest published Soviet account was 1971).
The knowledge has been on the books since 1945. But since 1945 the sole focus of the USA and England has been upon the effects of Acute rather than upon Chronic exposures. Both occur. The type of exposure likely to be suffered in the aftermath of nuclear disaster by ordinary people is Chronic Exposure.
It is telling that the people living in areas affected by Mayak suffer terribly still while the propaganda issued from the Russian Federation and given credence by the USA today completely contradicts the human reality.
There is no doubt CRS exists. It exists in the Mayak affected areas and the truth of life in these areas is one of suffering brought on by a contaminated landscape. Any attempt to limit that perception by the application of a legal concept of a dose limit is absurd and immoral. In my opinion.
In the light of the information contained in the reports linked to below, it is incredible to me that the USA has deemed it appropriate to assist the Russian Federation in the promotion of the idea that there is a cure for the people of Mayak beyond removal to a clean living space. The joint research conducted by the US Department of Energy and the US Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute with the Urals Research Centre for Radiation Medicine, is cause for serious thought about the consequences of the ending of the Cold War. It is a cause to wonder at what point the interests of ordinary people should be put above power politics. So far I have read nothing in the official government literature which acknowledges the current sufferings and health impacts inflicted upon the ordinary peoples who’s lives are defined and limited by the tragedy of their location in the areas affected by Mayak.
Well might the world nuclear industry have resisted any insight into the sufferings of such ordinary people in 1976. It certainly resists the same today with organisations set up specifically to conceal the afflicted communities with a bodyguard of lies.
“September 28, 2007
Everybody knows that the biggest nuclear catastrophe in history was Chernobyl. But how many have heard of the second biggest? Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of a radiation nightmare.” Greenpeace at:
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/mayak-nuclear-disaster280907/ Greenpeace states: “Today, around 7,000 people still live in direct contact with the highly polluted Techa river or on contaminated land. In the town of Muslyumovo, studies have show genetic abnormalities to be 25 times more frequent than in other areas of Russia. The incidents of malignant cancer are significantly higher. And the number of residents of Muslyumovo on the Russian national oncology registers is nearly 4 times higher than in the rest of Russia. In other surrounding towns and villages people have cancer rates more than double the Russian average….Half a century later, Mayak is one of the most radioactive places on Earth, and the accident continues to have a devastating legacy. Many thousands of people have never been evacuated from contaminated areas.
Dutch photo-journalist, Robert Knoth, visited the Mayak region in 2000 and 2001 and took a series of highly disturbing pictures of the victims of radiation in the region. (Parental warning: The link above contains images of malformed foetuses and other disturbing photos.” (see the link above) “…..the Russian Government has passed legislation to import spent nuclear fuel from other countries to Mayak that would then permanently stay at the plant.”
The Greenpeace document, “Mayak : a 50 year tragedy” is available here:
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/planet-2/report/2007/9/mayak-a-50-year-tragedy.pdf This document explains: “In May 2007, Rosatom, the Russian Atomic Energy Agency,
announced a “resettlement” project for some inhabitants of
Muslyumovo. However, lack of funds means only those
people living in close proximity to the river will be moved.
Moreover, rather than being evacuated out of Muslyumovo,
they are only being relocated to other parts of town. The
drinking water in so-called “New Muslyomovo” contains
levels of radioactivity two to three times higher than what
is considered safe by Russian official standards.
“To the prime minister of the Russian Federation.
“My name is Ramzis Fayzullian. I was born disabled. At present I am 16 and as any other boy of my age I go to school, but I feel bad at school, because the boys are calling me bad names. I fall ill very often. It hurts to know that I am not like the others. And I
want to be like the others. I want to look as good as they do. I want to
court girls, but they shun me and refuse to go out with me. I do not want to have children who look like me. That is why I am against any import of radioactive waste from foreign countries. If ministers and the others want money, why do they not build nuclear power plants in the Moscow region or right in Moscow?
We have suffered from radiation so much that almost every week someone in our village dies from cancer. So, why don’t the members of parliament think well before they permit nuclear waste into the country? Please, think about our future.”
The nuclear industry responds to such information from victims by calling it “unscientific” and “proof of radiophobia”. However, it is a witness statement, which would stand to be considered in any court. The trouble there is the deception which surrounds the creation and use of statistics in relation to the artificial limits which define the illness and damage radiation exposure causes. This is the lesson of the history of such actions, where they occur. The law enables nuclear activity. The law does not protect, nor does it achieve justice, for nuclear victims.
In April 2012 Aljazeera journalists visited the Mayak affected area. Their report is located at : http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/europe/living-nuclear-hell . The reporters found the following:
“The town of Muslyumovo has to be one of the saddest places on earth. The thousands of people who have little choice but to live here, on the banks of the Techa river not far from Russia’s southern border with Kazakhstan, are the victims of a nuclear disaster that began more than six decades ago.
They are still suffering with the consequences of life next door to the Mayak nuclear plant , and still dying from the radiation-related illnesses that have claimed the lives of so many before them.
On the way to the plant, constructed in the 1940s, our crew was forced to avoid several checkpoints, and to conceal our cameras – we made do, in the end, with a small camera mounted on the windscreen.
Thus equipped, we drove to within a hundred metres of the plant gates…..Hundreds of villages have been resettled since then but, incredibly, four remain in the contaminated area. Residents say they don’t know why they were never moved.
Many people we spoke to say they are being used as human guinea pigs. They talk of a secret government experiment looking at the effects of radiation exposure on humans.
Further, the nearest hospital that can treat the various radiation-related illnesses they suffer from is in the regional capital of Chelyabinsk, about 50km away.
One woman described her visits:
They must have tested new drugs on us. You come from the hospital where you spend a month then get sick for a month at home. They don’t treat you. They hurt you. They don’t say anything.”
Some of the old Muslyumovo village has been moved in recent years, but only to a place that is a short walk from the radiation-polluted river. The Geiger counter readings we took by the river showed radiation levels 50 times higher than the level experts say is safe for humans.
Our driver, who himself suffers chronic radiation illness, pointed to a car tyre frozen solid in icy marsh. He said if we tested our Geiger counter there, we would get a reading at least three times higher than the one we currently had.
There were no barriers or fences to keep people out. And there were footprints in the snow everywhere. A rusty sign warned people not to enter or pick the berries.
Despite the warnings, though, fishermen still come here, and, in the summer, children still swim in the toxic waters.
Most people in the village know the dangers, but seem resigned to their fate. They don’t have the money to move to a safer place. Many others seem ignorant of the risks. One woman said:
We get sick and many get cancer because of the atoms. We can’t stop our children from swimming in the river.”
The government gave some of the Muslyumovo residents the choice of around $35,000 to find a new home of their choice, or be moved to a house on the new site two kilometres from the river. That programme is now over.
Most say the sum was never enough to afford a home further away.
They also say much of the money that was supposed to go towards building new homes was stolen by contractors or officials.
Most of the residents we spoke to complain of the Radon gas that they claim seeps from the soil and into their homes.
“Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” says one man. “It’s only two kilometres to the river. We are still in radioactive territory. There is radioactive Radon gas in the houses. We think this was arranged to embezzle the money.”
“We bought soil from the old place. When we moved here they didn’t tell us it was dangerous here. They found Radon gas later when the houses were already built.”
Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom has launched an inquiry into claims the money was stolen, but no conclusions have been announced yet.
Residents complain their new homes are poorly insulated against the brutal winter cold that can reach lows of minus 30 degrees.
Said one man:
You cannot treat people like this. After we suffered from the radiation river and now they move us here to unsuitable houses, to this land. People are tired – tired of the fighting.”
Most of the children in this area suffer some form or other of radiation-related illness….We met 87-year-old Ekaterina. Her family was originally from Germany.
During World War Two, Stalin moved thousands of Germans living in Russia as far away from urban areas as he could.
Ekaterina and her family were moved to one of the villages near Mayak.
In 1957, when an explosion at a plant storage tank forced an evacuation of the area she and her family were relocated again.
They were moved to Muslyumovo next to the radiation polluted river. Fifty years later she is still there.
She breaks down in tears when we ask her how she survives. She says she was never able to have children. Her husband died years ago.
Many people have died of cancer in this area. People are always sick. I want to move but I was never asked. I don’t understand why.”
Between 2001-2004 up to 40 million cubic meters of more radioactive slush ended up in the Techa river. The government acknowledges this as fact.”
This short extract from the piece shows that people are still living in a forbidden zone, a zone the authorities want to keep isolated and that the evacuations of both the distant and recent past were a farce.
The decontamination methods used by the USSR and Russia and which are lauded by the Western nuclear authorities have not worked. People still suffer.
What bearing does the ongoing Mayak disaster have on current thinking by nuclear authorities in the West? Norwegian nuclear authorities provides a concrete example, they laud it, they celebrate the knowledge the Soviet methods which, Norway states, have been taken up by nuclear authorities around the world:
Due to Mayak: “For the first time in history, food intervention limits were introduced concerning the content of radionuclides (90Sr) in foodstuffs to protect the public from radiation exposure at a dangerous level…..By 1989-1990, the annual intake of 90Sr was 3% of the maximum permissible level for a person living in a zone that was contaminated with this isotope to a density of 37 kBq/m2. Over a 30 year residence period in an area contaminated to this level, the committed effective dose amounted to 12 mSv, the equivalent doses to red bone marrow and bone amounting to 25 and 80 mSv, respectively. Doses would have been significantly higher if no countermeasures had been introduced…..In areas with contamination greater than 18 MBq/m2, death of vegetation was evident and such effects were sustained for up to 3-4 years after the accident….Whilst the Kyshtym accident was a tragic event on many levels with serious consequences for both the population and the environment, the accident served as an important impetus for a number of initiatives and developments fundamental to our understanding of radioprotection today. The aftermath of the accident witnessed concerted efforts to decontaminate and remediate the affected area and the methods developed to deal with the consequences of the accident are still in use today. (NRPAB bulletin 8.07 Statens straclevern, Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, “The Kyshtym accident, 29th September 1957)
These nuclear agency findings imply the health crisis is over. And this implication is flatly contradicted by the experience of people living in the still afflicted lands.
The views held by nuclear authorities are extremely deviant when compared to the reality of people living in the areas affected by Mayak. The evacuations represented no return to normal life and health. People continued and continued to sicken and die. The situation of radiological crisis is downplayed by nuclear authorities as much today as it was when the nuclear industry turned in unison against Medvedev and his disclosures in 1976.
The ending of the Cold War seems to have produced a cementing in the mutual interests of the Russian state with those of world nuclear industry.
It is cold comfort for the people living in Japan today to learn that the methodologies of evacuation and decontamination used in Japan since March 2011 were tried and approved by nuclear officials in response to Mayak, USSR.
Of course, Japan does possess a facility to similar to Mayak. The Japanese Mayak shares a similar climate and a similar topography:
“The Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant has a planned reprocessing capacity of 800 tons of spent fuel per year. Around 8 tons of plutonium will be extracted each year from this spent fuel.
Spent Fuel Pools – Construction completed in 1996 and began receiving spent fuel in 1998. 3 pools with dimensions of 11 meters x 27 meters x 13 meters deep.
Each pool has a capacity of 1,000 tons of spent fuel, giving a total storage capacity of 3,000 tons.
The walls are made of concrete with a stainless steel lining.
High-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Center – Until the plant commences operations, this facility is used to store high-level waste generated as a result of reprocessing of spent fuel overseas. (“Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant and other Nuclear Facilities”, Citizens Nuclear Information Centre, CNIC, Japan, http://www.cnic.jp/english/topics/cycle/rokkasho/rokkashodata.html#reproc
Here are some additional links to further information about the ongoing consequences of Mayak. These reports represent open minded findings and contain reports by the people affected. The nuclear industry would find them to be “unscientific” and proof of “radiophobia”. I find them to be evidence of an ongoing crime against ordinary people by government and industry.