Cover Osteuropa 7-9/2020

In Osteuropa 7-9/2020
Teil des Dossiers Tschernobyl

The many crises of Mayak
Sites contaminated by radioactive and political fallout

Nadežda Kutepova

Deutsche Fassung


Since the USSR began producing plutonium for atomic bombs, the Mayak plant near Chelyabinsk has been a source of environmental pollution, emitting radioactive waste into rivers and lakes. In 1957, there was a major explosion, exposing hundreds of thousands of people to radiation. The authorities concealed the disaster, and Mayak is regarded as a state secret. When the East-West conflict ended, the plant lost its importance. Nuclear missiles were dismantled, and Mayak became known as a global centre for reprocessing spent nuclear fuels. Today, the Soviet spirit still dominates at Mayak. Information is kept secret, the truth is denied, justification is found for illegal activities and there is a refusal to pay compensation to the people who have suffered. This is the basis on which the Mayak enterprise is founded.

(Osteuropa 7-9/2020, pp. 235–251)