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A second Chernobyl: shocking declassified Soviet documents

Второй Чернобыль: рассекречены шокирующие советские документыDeclassified Soviet documents have indicated the concealment of a “second Chernobyl”.

New documents show significant radionuclide contamination of soils and fields in Soviet Kazakhstan in the 50-ies, but how it affected the health of local residents remains unknown.

Using declassified in Kazakhstan, the documents of the Soviet time devoted to the investigation of the effects of nuclear testing, the magazine New Scientist suggests that the Soviet authorities concealed the catastrophe, the scale exceeding that of Chernobyl.

At the same time parts specified by the edition and features used documents make such an interpretation is quite controversial.

New Scientist used the report of the Institute of Biophysics of the Academy of medical Sciences of the USSR, drawn up in 1957, in a survey of residents of the Semipalatinsk region of the Kazakh SSR. The report stated that in 1957 near the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk there was some contamination of soil and vegetation with radionuclides. After local farmers switched to a diet of imported products, traces of radionuclides in samples of their feces has disappeared. This means that the reason for their appearance was an active nuclear weapon tests at the Semipalatinsk test site, zagryaznenie local field.

However, any data about the acute effect of somewhat elevated levels of radionuclides on the health report, apparently, does not. At least no mention of it in the analysis of the New Scientist there. But the report notes that some of the symptoms are mistakenly associated with radioactive contamination may, in fact, refers to the action of local diseases and poor nutrition.

The only given in the publication photocopies of one page of the report shows that it contains only marked “secret” (done correctly, by a printing method) and particle Board (handwritten next to it). Both of these marks indicate that the report could not contain a really important and sensitive information. Adopted in the Soviet time the system of classification is really important closed documents may not have notes chipboard. Marks OP (special folder) or S (special importance), or comparable in importance on the first page there. There are a number of other parts, not quite typical for a really significant document.

Even more ambiguous looks New Scientist attempt to interpret the report as something that allows to talk about “the crash, four times more than Chernobyl”. This thesis is substantiated in the article only the words of a former employee Brucellosis dispensary No. 4 Konstantin Gusev. Allegedly the man seen later destroyed documents that in 1956 in Ust-Kamenogorsk (near the area of nuclear testing) with symptoms of radiation was hospitalized 637 people. After Chernobyl, as you know, the number hospitalized with such symptoms was four times less.

Approval the words of a man allegedly saw some documents decades ago, are of limited probative value. As you know, politicized, bias opinions and a tendency to do not have rational bases phobias are characteristic of a large part of the population of the former Soviet Union. In Russia, for example, even the fall of the Chelyabinsk meteorite in 2013 was interpreted as a failed test means of delivery of nuclear weapons (this view was broadcasted by major media outlets). In such circumstances, the unsubstantiated oral testimony is weak evidence of the existence of “a disaster bigger than Chernobyl.”

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