The East Ural Reserve, on the territory of which only scientific observations are allowed, was set up at the head part of the trace (i.e., closest to Mayak PA) with 90Sr soil deposition of 100–600 Ci km−2. Enlargement of farms significantly facilitated radiation monitoring and resulted in a decrease in the dose to the population from the products with the greatest contribution to internal 90Sr exposure: milk and grain. Prevalence of diseases of the respiratory organs (chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchial asthma and tuberculosis of the lungs) in exposed adults and children was comparable with that in unexposed people, whereas prevalence of acute pneumonia in exposed adults in that period was significantly lower (р < 0.05) than that in unexposed adults . The cellular composition of the peripheral blood was within agreed standards . Children 5–9 years of age at the time of the accident formed the main part of the examined group. In addition, sampling of bone autopsies from deceased residents of the contaminated areas was organized. At the time of the explosion the activity of the wastes contained in the tank was about 740 PBq [5, 6]. Omissions? Moreover, URCRM staff study the behavior of the radionuclide distribution in the environment, migration paths through trophic chains and intakes by human beings and animals. Less well known is the Kyshtym disaster in 1957, which resulted in a massive release of radioactive material in the Eastern Ural region of the Soviet Union. cNon-evacuated/evacuated. ERR estimates for the cohort members depending on sex, ethnicity, fact of evacuation, age at the onset of exposure and follow-up period did not show any statistically significant differences between these groups. Colon and bone cancer were included in the analysis of mortality risk from all solid cancers taken together. The EURT cohort included people born before the accident, both resettled and those who continued living on the contaminated territories of the Chelyabinsk Oblast. Residents underwent complete sanitization with their personal clothes being changed. The emergency nature of the situation did not allow the timely formation of control groups, which made it difficult to interpret the results obtained while observing people affected by radiation exposure. aBased on linear model. The nuclear reactors and plutonium-processing plant of the Kyshtym industrial complex were built during the late 1940s in the Soviet program to develop nuclear weapons. Journal of Radiological Protection, As a result of the accident, settlements, forests, pastures, arable lands, and water bodies were radioactively contaminated. 1). An additional source of information were death certificates which were gathered from a larger territory (the whole Chelyabinsk and Kurgan Oblasts) and allowed for the assessment of the completeness of data on malignant neoplasm cases, especially in the early years after the accident. In the dose-response model, baseline levels of solid cancer mortality were adjusted by sex, ethnicity, fact of evacuation, follow-up period (3 categories) and sex-specific log of attained age or square of the log of attained age. Aside from minor measurement errors, these parameters have Berkson character. In the autumn of 1957 (just after the explosion), the grain was contaminated because it was in the open or in poorly covered storage. In the course of clinical examinations it was registered that residents of the settlements with the most adverse conditions in terms of radiation exposure had common somato-neurological disorders that did not differ significantly (in terms of frequency) from those in persons from the control group. During the first two years after the accident a decrease in the group average leukocyte (mainly due to neutrophils and lymphocytes) and thrombocyte count was observed in the population. Both were producing and stockpiling like mad at the time and the whole world was … It should be noted that the upward slopes of the linear and quadratic fits are driven entirely by the highest dose and that there are still huge uncertainties in the low dose range. Without that, an explosion could result in irreparable damage to this world anytime. For the most contaminated settlements evacuated during the first two weeks after the explosion, the values of intakes (kBq) were significantly higher: 90Sr-50; 144Ce-6040; 106Ru-340; 95Zr-1690; 95Nb-2870; 137Cs-32 . Emergency resettlement was the most effective measure which significantly reduced the potential dose of external γ-exposure of the population. This allowed extrapolation of data from the reference villages to those villages where detailed studies have not been conducted. Stomach dose was used for the analysis of solid cancers as a group. Most common causes of death were cardio-vascular diseases (51%), neoplasms (16%), and deaths from injury and poisoning (12%). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Dose-response for solid cancer mortality in the EURTC. In fact, an evacuation operation did not begin until one week later, which included the evacuation of approximately 10,000 people from 22 villages. The TRDS calculates doses from the major exposure pathways: external exposure in the areas along the Techa River and in the region of the EURT; and internal exposure from intakes acquired in the Techa River and EURT villages. Kyshtym disaster: | | ||| | Map of the East Urals Radioactive Trace (EURT): area c... World Heritage Encyclopedia, the aggregation of the largest online encyclopedias available, and the most definitive collection ever assembled. No significant effect modification by non-radiation factors was revealed. The most important contributors in the diet were grain and grain products, dairy products, and potatoes . Their frequency in the exposed population did not exceed that in the unexposed population. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Women were also examined by a gynecologist, children by a general pediatrician. As incompleteness of data for the first years was not related to the dose received by the cohort members, there should not be a large bias in cancer incidence risk estimates in the cohort. At later dates an increased excess relative risk of solid cancer incidence and mortality was found in the EURTC. Chernobyl Disaster, Ukraine. Scattered reports of a nuclear accident in Russia appeared in the Western press as early as 1958. Solid line—linear model, bold dashed line—quadratic model, dots—risk values in different dose groups. In a number of cases, absolute lymphopenia and increased percentage of band neutrophils were registered in the cellular composition of the peripheral blood, which was viewed as the hematopoietic reaction to radiation exposure . Over the whole follow-up period, morphological confirmation is available for 43% of cancer cases, instrumental (radiographic examination, ultra-sound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance tomography, endoscopy) for 10%. Consequently, dietary intake of radioactive substances for residents of certain settlements exceeded permissible levels. Inhabitants of the region have suffered increased rates of cancer, deformities, and other major health problems. The favorable factors (as compared with the Chernobyl accident) were the following: formation of the EURT was limited in time (11 h), the wind was uniform in direction, and major fallout (about 90%) occurred on a limited area immediately adjacent to the explosion site within the Mayak PA boundary. The average contribution of external exposure to the total absorbed dose was: 83% for stomach, and 35% for bone marrow. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Medvedev then undertook a study of Soviet scientific papers on the ecological effects of experimental discharges of radiation. The dose to the stomach was similar to absorbed doses to the lung and other soft tissues other than intestines. A week later, on 6 October 1957, an operation for evacuating 10,000 people from the affected area started, still without giving an explanation of the reasons for evacuation. In September 1957, as a result of a failure of the temperature-control system of tank #14, cooling-water delivery became insufficient and radioactive decay caused an increase in temperature followed by complete evaporation of the water, and the nitrate salt deposits were heated to 330 °C–350 °C. Only the subsequent nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima have been classed at the seventh and highest level of severity. Radioactive contamination of milk (a) and bread (b) measured in 1957–1985 in reference settlements normalized per 1 Ci km−2 (37 kBq m−2) of 90Sr deposition. Within 3–5 years after the accident, blood counts in exposed people returned to normal levels. In the cancer incidence structure of females, the most frequent were cancer of the reproductive organs, 25.7%. The first accident occurred in 1949-1951, the second on 29 September 1957, and the third in 1967, and involved the air … Absence of a clear dependence of the risk value on the stated factors could be due to the small numbers of cancer cases in certain groups. aCMR—crude mortality rate by 105 person-years. A similar pattern was registered in studies of the TRC [24, 25]. The significance was slightly higher with a 10-year latent period (p = 0.046 and p = 0.03, respectively). The EURTC members affected by chronic radiation exposure in the dose range of external gamma radiation 0.3–43 mGy, and absorbed dose to red bone marrow ranging from 6 to 2100 mGy, were noted to have a significant increase in solid cancer mortality rate (ICD-10 codes C00-C80, D43) relative to the external control group. The information collected on the contamination of soil, water, grass, foodstuffs, and human data from the EURT is summarized in table 2. The cancer incidence structure of EURTC members corresponds to the cancer mortality structure; the most frequent cancer sites are lung cancer and stomach cancer (18.7% and 18%, respectively). Volume 37, Over the period 1958–1960, 952 children aged under 14 were examined in the course of visiting medical examinations. 90Sr soil deposition equal to 2 Ci km−2 was recognized as maximum permissible for safe living of the population and was used as the official boundary of the EURT, within which there were 22 settlements, 19 were located on the territory of the Chelyabinsk Oblast, and 3 in the Sverdlovsk Oblast. Kyshtym disaster, explosion of buried nuclear waste from a plutonium-processing plant near Kyshtym, Chelyabinsk oblast, Russia (then in the U.S.S.R.), on September 29, 1957. Instead of small farms, large farms specializing in meat-production with special conditions for keeping and feeding of animals were set up. During this catastrophe, a poorly maintained storage tank exploded, releasing 20 million curies (740 PBq) in the form of 50–100 tons of high-level radioactive waste. Subsequent analysis conducted 50 years after the accident involved 21 427 EURT residents, who lived in 19 relocated settlements of the Chelyabinsk Oblast (excluding three Sverdlovsk Oblast villages) before the resettlement took place, and residents who lived in 14 non-resettled villages of the Chelyabinsk Oblast adjacent to the head part of the EURT from 29 September 1957 until 1 January 1960 . Lev Tumerman, an émigré scientist, corroborated Medvedev’s story with his own account of having driven between Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) and Chelyabinsk through a dead zone where there were no houses or farms, and where road signs cautioned drivers not to stop but to proceed at maximum speed. Further follow-up (3–5 years after the accident) allowed us to note the recovery of the peripheral blood cellular composition [10, 20]. The composite of these factors is a lognormal distribution for reference adults with geometric standard deviation of about 2.7, of which a portion is shared and a portion unshared between members of the cohort . Table 6. Originally known as Chelyabinsk-40, the complex was later renamed to the Mayak Production Association and served as the location for the emerging Soviet nuclear program in the years immediately following World War II. It was established during the first year after the accident that the total contaminated area bounded by 0.1 Ci km−2 for 90Sr (a reliably detectable level equal to double the value of global background contamination as of the date of the accident) comprised 23 000 km2. Methods of cancer incidence risk analysis were similar to those used for the mortality analysis. Then, in order to reduce the secondary contamination of the adjacent territory due to wind transfer, 20 hectares of alienated land were subject to decontamination by plowing. Mortality rates, including infant mortality, were assessed over the period 1958–1989 in offspring of the population that was not resettled, but continued living on the EURT territories with low deposition density. Kyshtym nuclear accident. These contributed to an increase in statistical power of the study; the number of person-years at risk increased by more than 100 000, and the number of deaths from solid cancer among the cohort members was twice as large as in the previous study. Provisional maximum permissible levels of daily radionuclide intake for certain components of the daily ration and fodder were approved on 7 May 1958; the permissible annual intake of 90Sr with food was 52 kBq/person. After the Kyshtym disaster in 1957 the Karachay Lake on the territory of the Mayak facility was used for open-air "storage" of liquid radioactive wastes. Figure 3. Within the first 2 years after the accident 1.3 × 105 kg of crops, 2.4 × 105 kg of potatoes, 1.0 × 105 kg of meat, 0.7 × 105 kg of milk were withdrawn—this amounted to 2%–3% of annual food and fodder supplies in the EURT households. There are also a few large virgin meadow tracts, and a number of lakes within the contaminated area (figure 1). Table 7. The Kyshtym disaster was a disastrous explosion of buried nuclear waste from a plutonium-processing plant near Kyshtym, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia (then in U.S.S.R.), on September 29, 1957. As a holder of a Royal Charter, SRP is the leading UK professional society for radiation protection. On September 29, 1957, a nuclear waste storage container exploded, exposing 22 villages to dangerous radiation levels. The mixture corresponded to uranium fission products formed in a nuclear reactor after a decay time of about 1 year, with depletion in 137Cs due to a special treatment of the radioactive waste involving the extraction of 137Cs . The evacuated population was provided with new accommodation. At about the same time, an antinuclear group organized by the American consumer advocate Ralph Nader made a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the findings of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which was known to have overflown the Urals in a U-2 spy plane. It was later suggested that the U.S. government kept silent about the accident for so long, and remained uncommunicative even after others had called attention to it, for fear of planting seeds of doubt in the minds of Americans about the safety of their country’s own nuclear program. This paper presents an overview of the nuclear accident that occurred at the Mayak Production Association (PA) in the Russian Federation on 29 September 1957, often referred to as 'Kyshtym Accident', when 20 MCi (740 PBq) of radionuclides were released by a chemical explosion in a radioactive waste storage tank. Protective measures for the population comprised both emergency and scheduled activities. However, group estimates of thrombocyte, leukocyte, and neutrophil number in exposed persons were lower relative to those in unexposed people. Kyshtym disaster was nuclear contamination that took place on 29 September 1957. Dose accumulation is considered for only two calendar years, because dose-rate values decreased rapidly due to radioactive decay of the short-to-intermediate-lived radionuclides. Urals Research Center for Radiation Medicine, 68A Vorovsky street, Chelyabinsk 454076, Russia, 2 After the Second World War, the Soviet Union started constructing several hidden atomic facilities throughout the country. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Cow's milk was mainly contaminated due to the transfer soil→grass (cow's forage)→milk, and the 90Sr + 90Y contribution to the total activity of milk exceeded 80%. Organized crime in this city dates back to the 19th century, but its period of glory was the era of Prohibition, when Al Capone, America’s best-known gangster, established himself as the head of the most profitable crime syndicate … A special age- and sex-dependent biokinetic model described in  was used for 90Sr. It is clear from the figure that point estimates of the risk have great uncertainty due to low statistical power. Twenty-eight years after the accident no deviations in the health status of the residents of the settlements Satlykovo, Galikaeva, Alabuga and Russkaya Karabolka, who were exposed at the highest doses, was noted relative to unexposed people. During the first year after the accident, external γ-radiation predominated. Also, a pure quadratic model fits the data as well as the linear model, point value of ERR at 100 mGy for the quadratic model was 0.013; (95% CI: 0.001; 0.028; p = 0.03) . During the initial period of the follow-up (as of 01.01.1960) people of a young age (under 20) comprised a large part of the cohort, 43%. Recognizing the potential influence of the peculiarities of dose to these organs, we have also performed analyses of solid cancer mortality risk excluding colon cancer (33 cases) and bone cancer (7 cases). Characteristics of solid cancer cases, person-years and crude mortality rates depending on sex, age, ethnicity, resettlement, and follow-up period are given in table 6. The value of ERR/100 mGy obtained in the analysis of 1368 cancer cases with the linear model (with 5-year lag-period) was 0.054 (90% CI: 0.007; 0.107), and did not differ from the one obtained without the exclusion of these sites . The occurrence of the nuclear accident at Kyshtym was first made public by the emigre Soviet biologist, Zhores Medvedev, currently a research scientist ... effects … This territory acquired the official status of a contaminated area, and it is in this territory that the implementation of radiation protection measures for the population was considered indispensable. The exposed population registry, individual doses of the exposed population as well as the medical-dosimetric database of the URCRM, which comprises the results of long-term dosimetric monitoring and medical follow-up of the population, form the basis for arranging medical assistance to the EURT population and for the analysis of the long-term health effects in the population. After details became known, the International Atomic Energy Agency classed the Kyshtym disaster as a Level 6 accident on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Radioactive decay of radionuclides and various ecological factors also contributed to the improvement of the radiation situation on the territory of the trace, in addition to the protective measures that were undertaken. As a result of a thermochemical explosion in the storage tank for liquid high-level waste at the Mayak PA on September 29 1957, 20 million Ci (740 PBq) of radionuclides were released into the air up to an altitude of 1 km, and 2 MCi (74 PBq) was deposited beyond the Mayak PA perimeter. Due to the fact that the dose accumulated in the majority of organs excluding colon, bone tissue, blood and lymph, is very similar to the dose to the stomach (mean dose to the uterus, lungs, and stomach is 0.03 Gy, maximum is 0.60–0.69 Gy) and as the number of stomach, lung and uterine cancer cases in total accounts for half of all cancer cases in the EURTC, dose to the stomach was chosen for the solid cancer mortality analysis. These deaths were from slowly progressing, but still “acute”, radiation poisoning. From 1957 until now the population of the EURT has been subjected to medical examination and treatment in the Clinic of the Urals Research Center for Radiation Medicine (URCRM) in the city of Chelyabinsk. It included evacuation of the population from the nearest settlements, quality inspection of food products and fodder, and provision of 'clean' products, determination of the 90Sr concentration per unit area and borders of the contaminated territory, and establishment of the sanitary-protected zone. Software DATAB and AMFIT of the statistical package EPICURE were used for calculations with the use of a simple parametric model of excess relative risk (ERR) . Among diseases of the nervous system and sense organs (ICD-9 class 6) mainly conjunctivitis, blepharitis and otitis were registered. Diseases of internal organs were diagnosed in exposed persons as frequently as in unexposed persons living in the same region. Although more than 10,000 people were evacuated instantly, a full two years passed before all sites were evacuated. The latter are excluded from the analysis of cancer incidence in the majority of international studies due to the fact that cancer registries may have incomplete data on non-melanoma skin cancers as patients with basalioma are excluded from the follow-up and the cancer registry after a 5-year remission. Despite the difference in the exposure pathways (the EURTC was exposed via air and the TRC by water-mediated pathways), members of both cohorts were affected by long-term exposure at cumulative doses of mainly below 1 Gy. Analysis based on maximum-likelihood ratio test did not indicate that a linear-quadratic model fits any better than a simple linear model (p > 0.5). The point value of the ERR per 100 mGy for solid cancer mortality for the members of the EURTС based on the linear model with 5- and 10-year latent periods was 0.057/100 mGy (95% CI: 0.001; 0.125) and 0.067/100 mGy (95% CI: 0.006–0.141), respectively. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. In 1957 Mayak was the site of the Kyshtym disaster, which at the time was the worst nuclear accident in history. The distribution of causes of death is given in table 5 . Examination of the adult population involved a checkup by a general practitioner and a neuropathologist. With due account for migration of the EURT population, the catchment area for mortality analysis in EURTC members comprised the whole Chelyabinsk and Kurgan Oblasts. The accident caused surface contamination of food and fodder. Doses to extra-skeletal tissues were significantly less so, and mainly due to intakes of 144Ce (contribution 60%–70%). The risk estimates for solid cancer incidence and mortality in the EURTC (and the TRC) were comparable not only to those for the Chernobyl nuclear accident clean-up workers (0.74/Gy; 95% CI: 0.29; 1.25 for all ages) , but also to those for the Japanese A-bomb survivors cohort (ERR = 0.47/Sv; 95% CI: 0.37–0.57) [29, 30]. However, evacuation of the population was delayed due to the difficulties in providing resettled people with the minimum necessary living conditions in new places of residence. Starting in the earliest period of Mayak PA activities, large amounts of liquid high-level radioactive waste from the radiochemical facility were placed into long-term controlled storage in metal tanks installed in concrete vaults. According to Pereltsvig (2012), the Kyshtym disaster was "an explosion of a nuclear waste storage tank at the Mayak nuclear complex, followed by a release of an estimated 70 to 80 tons of radioactive materials into the air." The quality of data is constantly improving; the percentage of morphological and instrumental cancer diagnosis confirmation increased from 33% (in 1957–1989) to 77% (in 1990–2009), and the percentage of cancer diagnosis confirmation based on death certificates only decreased from 39% to 14%. Slavs account for 60% of the cohort members, the other 40% are Tartars and Bashkirs. There was no significant effect modification (based on the linear model), which was evaluated with AMFIT software of the statistical package EPICURE , depending on sex, ethnicity, age at the beginning of exposure, attained age, fact of evacuation, calendar period, or year of birth (table 8). Table 5. Crude rates of cancer mortality in the EURTC (with most common cancer sites). For 27% of cancer cases only death certificates are available. Following the 2011 Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster, authorities shut down the nation's 54 nuclear power plants.As of 2013, the Fukushima site remains radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, although nobody has died or is expected to die from radiation effects. Cancer incidence structure by sites in EURTC members. Figure 4. Table 4. The area of the SPZ was 700 km2. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/event/Kyshtym-disaster, Federation of American Scientists - An Analysis of the Alleged Kyshtym disaster, Seventenn Moments in Soviet History - The Kyshtym Explosion. Thus, the unit Ci km–2 is used in the present study. 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