Nuclear Disasters

Radiation levels near this Siberian village were 1,000 times above normal last fall. But no one worried much

Radiation levels near this Siberian village were 1,000 times above normal last fall. But no one worried much

Boris Salomatin has lived his entire 60 years down a dirt road in the tiny village of Khudaiberdynsk, a few miles from the entrance to the massive Mayak nuclear fuel reprocessing complex.

The year he was born, this Siberian landscape on the edge of the Ural Mountains bore the brunt of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents. On Sept. 29, 1957, decades before Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima entered the lexicon of landmark nuclear disasters, a buried cache of liquid radioactive waste from Mayak exploded. More than a quarter-million people were exposed to radiation, and nearly two dozen villages, home to more than 10,000 people, had to be vacated forever.

From March...

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