AUTHORMedvedev, Zhores A.
TITLENuclear Disaster in the Urals
PUBLISHERW.W. Norton & Company
CITYNew York, NY

The author of this book, a Soviet scientist, presents his reconstruction of circumstances surrounding a major explosion of nuclear waste in the former Soviet Union’s southern Ural Mountains in late 1957. Although the explosion was a state secret, many scientific articles were published on the effects of radioactive contamination on plants and animals from which inferences could be made about the sources, amounts, and geographical extent of the contamination. Through careful analysis of those articles, along with the use of declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents, and some eyewitness accounts in nearby hospitals by people who later left the country, Medvedev reconstructs a story of a major explosion which caused immediate loss of life in hundreds if not thousands of people, and later death by radiation sickness of many others. In addition, serious contamination of the ecological system occurred, devastating the landscape, killing and contaminating plants and animals, and requiring evacuation of humans, as well as requiring monitoring of radiation levels of foodstuffs. The book is oriented to the non-specialist, with a glossary of technical terms.

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