PRESS-RELEASE from the All-Russian Anti-nuclear camp 2000, near "Mayak" plutonium producing and reprocessing plant, Chelyabinsk/Ural region

Chelyabinsk, August 1, 2000

Radiation Danger on the Road Between Two of Russia's Biggest Cities

Scientists discovered undeclared highly contaminated spots close to plutonium facility

Scientific group headed by the Novosibirsk University' specialists discovered high levels of radiation by the road where thousands of cars running every day between two large cities of Russia - Chelyabinsk and Ekaterinburg. Chelyabinsk with its over million population is the closest big city to famous "Mayak" plu-tonium producing and reprocessing facility where the USSR' largest nuclear accident happened in 1957. Ekaterinburg is the 3th largest city of Russia and the capital of Ural region.

On July 28, scientific group based in the Anti-nuclear camp near "Mayak" facility inspected the area of Toskino village, in 60 km to the west from Chelyabinsk, by the bridge over Techa river. Group took ground and water samples for detailed analisys.

Anti-nuclear camp made a statement today on discovered levels of radiation near Toskino. According to the camp spokesperson, "there is no dount that high level of radiation caused by "Mayak" facility. Radio-active contamination on the bridge over Techa river is 10 times higher compared to the background level (200 mkR/h). 10 meters far of the bridge there is a little marsh formed by the river with radioactive con-tamination up to 3000 mkR/h. In spite of the extreme dangerous for people radioactive level at the bridge and near the river and thousands autos passing the road every day there are not warning signs there. The radioactive level in the reed growth near the river is 1500 mkR/h. Anti-nuclear camp notifies that radioac-tive level in a case of fire in the reed grows able to grow quickly and cause extremely dangerous situation in the nearest regions. It was also discovered that near Toskino village many inhabitants and passing the road drivers often use the river water for drinking."

Activists of the anti-nuclear camp installed warning signs at the bridge: "Attention! Higher radioactive level: 3000 mkR/h" and "Techa - the most radioactive river in the world". The signs of radioactive dan-ger were installed on hard surface and bridge railings. The cause of so grave radioactive pollution of the river and of its banks is "Mayak" plant radioactive release. About 2,76 million Ci of liquid radioactive wastes were released into the opened water system of Techa-Iset-Tobol rivers during 1949-1951 and yet unknown amount of waste in the next 50 years. After that the mostly contaminated localities were reset-tled to relatively safe parts around Chelyabinsk. Still, several villages are situated near the river.and the inhabitants of the region pick up mushrooms and berries at that radioac-tive area and use water of Techa river for their household needs. There are not warning signs anywhere in the region.

Anti-nuclear camp near "Mayak" was established on July 23 in 3 km from the "Mayak" site and Karachay lake which for over 50 years serves as dump site for nuclear waste of facility. More then 60 representa-tives if environmental, scientific and human rights organizations from Russia, Latvia, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, USA are working in the camp. The camp makes its set as educational and agitation work among the inhabitants, mainly about the health' consequences of radioactive contamination. The camp demands from local authorities to improve the social protection of inhabitants - victims of radioactive contamination - and to reject the plan of foreign nuclear waste' import for dumping and storing at "Ma-yak" site. Campers were warmly welcommed by the authorities of several villages around the camp site, while Chelyabinsk regional government and "Mayak" facility' press-service blamed activists for lack of cooperation with nuclear industry.

For more information Call the camp press-service: +7(351)9009280 - Vladimir Slivyak, Call the camp' representative in Chelyabinsk: +7(3512)135457 or 357163 - Eduard Meylah. Camp' emergency phone:+7(095)7766546 E-mail: ecodefense@glasnet.ru or watch camp chronicles at: http://www.ecoline.ru/antinuclear