Accident: Kyshtym nuclear explosion

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Accident: Kyshtym nuclear explosion Gender: N/A
Nuclear disaster
born on 29 September 1957 at 16:22 (= 4:22 PM )
Place Mayak, Russian Federation, 55n43, 60e49
Timezone R4T h5e (is standard time)
Data source
Timed documented source, news
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Liefeld
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 06°03' s_mo.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 21°05 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 21°52'

Accident: Kyshtym nuclear explosion


The Kyshtym disaster was a radiological contamination accident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak, a plutonium production site for nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale,[1] making it the third most serious nuclear accident ever recorded, behind the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl disaster (both Level 7 on the INES). The event occurred in the town of Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, a closed city built around the Mayak plant. Since Ozyorsk/Mayak (also known as Chelyabinsk-40 and Chelyabinsk-65) was not marked on maps, the disaster was named after Kyshtym, the nearest known town.

On 29 September 1957, the cooling system in one of the tanks containing about 70–80 tons of liquid radioactive waste failed and was not repaired. The temperature in it started to rise, resulting in evaporation and a chemical explosion of the dried waste, consisting mainly of ammonium nitrate and acetates (see ammonium nitrate bomb). The explosion, estimated to have a force of about 70–100 tons of TNT,[citation needed] threw the 160-ton concrete lid into the air. There were no immediate casualties as a result of the explosion, but it released an estimated 20 MCi (800 PBq) of radioactivity. Most of this contamination settled out near the site of the accident and contributed to the pollution of the Techa River, but a plume containing 2 MCi (80 PBq) of radionuclides spread out over hundreds of kilometers.[5] Previously contaminated areas within the affected area include the Techa river which had previously received 2.75 MCi (100 PBq) of deliberately dumped waste, and Lake Karachay which had received 120 MCi (4,000 PBq).

In the next 10 to 11 hours, the radioactive cloud moved towards the north-east, reaching 300–350 kilometers from the accident. The fallout of the cloud resulted in a long-term contamination of an area of more than 800 to 20,000 square kilometers (depending on what contamination level is considered significant), primarily with caesium-137 and strontium-90.[3] This area is usually referred to as the East-Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT).

At least 22 villages exposed to radiation from the disaster, with a total population of around 10,000, were evacuated. Some were evacuated after a week but it took almost 2 years for evacuations to occur at other sites.

The area of EURT is still heavily contaminated with radioactivity.

Link to Wikipedia


Source Notes

Liefeld quotes Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Technical report "Where Radiobiology Began in Russia: A Physician’s Perspective", p. 46, 47: "The second situation that led to the exposure of thousands of people also involved radioactive waste. It occurred on 29 September 1957 and is known as the “Kyshtym Accident” or “Kyshtym Nuclear Catastrophe.” (...) A thunderous explosion was heard at 4:22 pm. Container No 14 had exploded."


  • Mundane : Disasters : Accidents (nuclear explosion of tank with radioactive wastes)