Karachay Lake: Death In An Hour Is Inevitable

Karachay Lake | Lake Karachay Pollution | Lake Karachay Before And After | Lake Karachay |

Karachay Lake: The view of the lake is really wonderful. The areas around the lake are also very picturesque. If you go there for a family vacation, the cost will be very low. But there is a small problem. If you spend more than an hour near the lake, death is inevitable.

No, no fairy tale monster will come up from the lake and drag you into the depths of the lake. Nor are there carnivorous piranha fish in the Karachay Lake, which can attack you in droves. But despite all this, the lake is extremely dangerous. Scientists have called it the most dangerous place in the world. The name of the lake is Karachay Lake (Озеро Карачай).

Lake Karachay Is Safe

The word ‘Karachay’ means ‘black water’ in Kipchak or North-West Turkish languages. However, the color of Karachay Lake was not really black. The lake is located near the town of Oziyorsk in the Chelyabinsk Province in the Ural Mountains region of the present Russian Federation. Not far from this small lake in eastern Russia is the border of Kazakhstan.

The lake has been known to Russian geographers since the eighteenth century. During this time there was an occasional shortage of water supply in the lake and as a result the lake often dried up. That is why it was not often mentioned on the map.

Lake Karachay Before And After

In August 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, destroying the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In response, the Soviet Union launched its own atomic bomb project. The Mayak Plutonium Production Center was built in the town of Ozyorsk in 1945 and 1948, under the supervision of Soviet Spymaster Lavrenti Baria, in order to produce the much-needed plutonium for the atomic bomb. It is now known as ‘Mayak Production Company’ (Производственное объединение «Маяк).

Lake Karachay Before And After
Lake Karachay Before And After

Mayak was one of the largest nuclear power plants in the Soviet Union. Due to its location, the city of Ozyorsk was declared a “closed city” by the Soviet government. It is code-named “Chelyabinsk-40”. Foreigners were barred from entering the city, and no Soviet citizen from outside the city could enter the city without a special permit.

Since the late 1940s, engineers at the Mayak Nuclear Power Plant have been using water from nearby Kiziltash Lake to keep the reactor cool, and the lake soon became polluted. Because of the proximity of the Mayak nuclear power plant to Lake Karachay, engineers wanted to use the water there, but because of the small size of the lake, the amount of water was not sufficient for this purpose.

Karachay Lake: Death In An Hour Is Inevitable

That’s why Mayak’s engineers use Karachi Lake for another purpose. Once the Mayak nuclear waste storage facility was filled, they began dumping the plant’s nuclear waste into Lake Karachi. They codenamed the lake ‘V-9 Reservoir’. Since Lake Karachi was not connected to any other reservoir, the engineers working on Maya had the idea that the nuclear waste thrown into the lake would remain there indefinitely and would not cause any harm to anything else.

lake Karachay Pollution

But their hopes proved to be completely wrong. In fact, at the time, the Soviet Union was engaged in a fierce nuclear arms race with the United States, and in the interests of the security of the Soviet state, they wanted to be on par with the United States in nuclear weapons at any cost. Because of their utmost importance to military security, it was not possible for Kremlin officials to realize the serious environmental damage that these military projects could cause to the Soviet Union. As a result, various parts of the Soviet Union, including Lake Karachi, suffered severe environmental damage.

Throughout the 1950s, Soviet engineers continued to dump nuclear waste into Lake Karachi. Droughts in the 1960s permanently dried up parts of the lake. As a result, in 1951 the area of ​​the lake was 0.5 sq km, but in 1993 it was reduced to only 0.15 sq km. As a result, radioactive substances such as cesium-137 and strontium-90, which are thrown into the lake, are exposed to nature.

The amount of sediment that accumulates in the lake at a depth of 3.4 meters as a result of the continuous emission of nuclear waste is entirely high levels of radioactive waste. There was a possibility of a catastrophic accident if this waste was spread anyway and this is exactly what happened in 1967. Dangerous radioactive dust from the arid part of the lake spread to the surrounding area as a result of strong winds that year. As a result, about 2,700 sq. Km. Thousands of inhabitants of the vast area were exposed to radioactivity.

According to scientists, this has led to a 21 percent increase in cancer rates, a 25 percent increase in birth defects, and a 41 percent increase in leukemia in the surrounding area.

After this incident, the Soviet authorities were shocked and decided to close the lake. They use the method of ‘sarcophagus’ or ‘stone coffin’ to prevent the spread of radioactive material from the lake. This means filling the lake with large boulders or pieces of concrete. Between 1978 and 1986, efforts were made to fill the lake with about 10,000 pieces of concrete.

In 1990, Western scientists were allowed to observe and test Lake Karachi. They reported that the amount of gamma rays emitted from the lake is about 600 Rontgen. In other words, the amount of radioactivity emitted from the lake’s water is about 120 million curies, which is almost double the amount of radioactivity emitted from Chernobyl. Western scientists say that if a person stays near this lake for an hour, his death due to radioactivity is certain!

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued an ordinance declaring the city of Oziyorsk open to the public, allowing the Russian public to know for the first time the details of the Karachi disaster. Work was still underway to control the radioactivity of the lake. Surprisingly, permission to use the lake as a ‘nuclear waste disposal site’ has not been revoked. The permit was finally revoked in 2003.

The radioactive material contained in Lake Karachi can remain intact for hundreds of years. According to Russian experts, it is very dangerous to extract this huge amount of radioactive material from the lake and transfer it to other places, so this waste should be kept in the lake.

According to Yuri Morkov, an adviser to the director-general of Mayak Production Company, no country in the world, including Russia, has enough experience in nuclear waste management. Therefore, the condition of the lake needs to be monitored regularly and extensively. For this purpose, the number of gamma rays emitted from the lake must be constantly checked; The pressure level in the air must be monitored; The density of radionuclides around the lake should be checked and the movement of land beneath the lake in different seasons should be checked. Therefore, continuous observation is essential.

New layers of concrete and sand were added to the lake in the 2000s, and the work was officially completed on November 26, 2015. In the future, the area will be filled with grass and bushes, so that the nuclear waste thrown into the lake will be buried underground forever. However, planting trees there is prohibited, as it can cause damage to concrete blocks. Russian experts believe that the effects of pollution on Lake Karachi are under control. According to them, even if there is a cyclone now, the radioactive material from the lake will not spread around.

The effects of pollution on Lake Karachi, once the most polluted place in the world, are now really under control. But as long as proper nuclear waste management systems are not in place, dangerous situations like Lake Karachay in different parts of the world will continue to arise. In order to overcome this situation, it is imperative for the states that use nuclear technology to take utmost care in the field of nuclear waste management and to innovate sustainable technologies.

FAQs

Q. Is Lake Karachay safe?

A. The most dangerous lake in the world. In less than an hour, you can receive a lethal dose of radiation (600 roentgens).

Q. What is the dirtiest lake in the world?

A. Lake Karachay (sometimes spelled Karachai or Karachaj), is a small lake in central Russia. It is often referred to as the most polluted site on earth.

Q. What is the most radioactive place on earth?

A. 2 Fukushima, Japan Is The Most Radioactive Place On Earth.

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