Radiation on Ural mountains

Published: Friday 30 November 2007

Safety breaches caused radiation leak at a major nuclear reprocessing plant in the Ural mountains, the Russian government announced on October 29. The incident happened four days before the announcement.

Officials of the local emergencies ministry said a faulty tap in the tank holding liquid radioactive waste caused the leak. The waste spread onto 1.5 km of a road inside the plant.

"The radioactive levels at the plant and outside it are normal and absolutely harmless," the ministry said. Mayak plant, dubbed as "Russia's ticking time-bomb" by environmentalists has a history of accidents: in 1949, 1957 and 1967. These have been hushed up by the government. Greenpeace believes Mayak is one of the world's most radioactive place and local residents are still suffering from the 1957 accident at the plant.

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