The first time Fedor Maryasov realized that something might be very wrong in his community was as a teenager. Growing up in the uranium mining city of Zarafshan, Uzbekistan, young Fedor and his friends would swim in artificial ponds holding discharge water from the uranium mines. They fished there too, but they began to notice the fish were disfigured by genetic abnormalities, displaying red spots and growths. Still, the authorities were saying nothing. And the teenage boys, like most people in Zarafshan, knew little about how radiation affects living organisms. By 1993, Maryasov was studying at the university in Tomsk, Siberia. That year, there was a radiation accident at the Siberian Chemical Combine, operated by the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom. The city of 300,000 escaped danger as the radiation release went in a different direction. But rumors began to spread that other populations were not so fortunate and that inhabitants of nearby villages had been evacuated. Maryasov noticed fire trucks at the entrance to his city, washing the wheels of passing vehicles. Something serious had happened. The population began to panic and to buy dosimeters.
Beyond Nuclear 30th July 2018 read more »