International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Milya Kabirova
Chair, Chelyabinsk Nuclear Victim Organization "Aigul"

Radiation Effects on the Public Health

As the result of the activity of the nuclear production plant "Mayak" in the South Urals since 1948 there has been discharged into the environment a vast amount of radioactive wastes.  It has caused an extremely difficult ecological situation  for a very large region.  During 1948 - 52 the discharge of radioactive wastes into the river Techa constituted 3 mln Cu.  The radioactive wastes through the Techa, Iset, Tobol, Irtush, Ob reached the Arctic Ocean.  By 1952 it became clear that the situation is critical, and when they found leukemia among
67% of the inhabitants of the village Metlino, they decided to resettle the villages.  But in 1957 one more accident happened, and 270,000 more people found themselves on the contaminated area.  They were not asked where they wanted to go, but they were loaded into the trucks and moved away. The buildings and the cattle were destroyed.

All 6 villages (18.000 people) were evacuated, but every 30-40 km 4 villages were left: Muslumovo, Brodocalmak, Russian Techa, Nijnia Petropavlovka.  What for?  On the boarder of the depopulated zone there is situated  Muslumovo on the river Techa-- this village is on the nuclear dump.

The disease rate of the population was very high. The reason seemed to be obvious. The life of the inhabitants of  Muslumovo is connected with the river Techa, the floor of which is covered with radioactive wastes.  But the Soviet medicine didn't want to recognize the links between diseases and the radioactive contamination.

A great number of locals died with the symptoms of cancer, but the documents described the cause of death as general disease.  We can't say how long this curtain of  secrecy about the accidents at the Mayak facility and silence would have been kept, but in 1986 the Chernobyl tragedy happened.  The radiation disease, the link between the disease and the radiation exposure became widely discussed in mass media.  Nevertheless, the official point of view was that the exposure to radiation  hadn't effected the health of the local people.  The first to act was the doctor of the local hospital Gulfarida Galimova, who made her patients diagnosed in a diagnostic center.  The examination led to a sharp rise in the diseases, and the official information about good situation with the public health in Chelyabinsk Region was no longer confirmed.

Together with genetic scientists from Novosibirsk there was carried out genetic blood testing of children --\descendents of irradiated people, and it was found that every fourth child is a mutant  due to chromosome changes.  To establish the  truth became possible only after joining a public movement " Movement for Nuclear Safety."  But again official medicine considers these results to be an exception, but our NGO "Aigul" united  women with chromic radiation disease and having children with health  deviations.

We decided to continue the research. With the financial support of the Ford fund we made a contract with the Institute of General Genetics named after Vavilov of the RAS presented by professor V.A. Shecvhenko.  The results surprised the scientist: in the blood of children born in 1997 there were found  markers that can appear only after exposure to radiation. No other factors.

Now, when Russia has decided to import spent fuel it is necessary to analyze the effects of the former activity of the nuclear facility "Mayak", the additional risks to the public health.

The population of the Chelyabinsk Region is about 3 million 200 thousand people.  More than a thousand and a half are still being exposed to radiation due to the contaminated environment  and to the food, contaminated with radio nuclides.

The population of  the contaminated areas have to live in the zone of high risks.  There is a rise in the number of  people, unable to work, early deaths and disability.

The medical research shows high rates of heavy chronical pathology both among adults and children, the increase in the number of radiation disease cases, the high rate of cancer, infertility and inborn deformatives.

the Data of Diseases in Muslumovo chronical radiation disease:
1997: 132 people, 2 of them children

The birth rate is decreasing, but the number of children with pathology is rising:
1997: 47 were born, 30 with pathology - 67,8%,
1998: 57 were born, 28 with pathology - 49%
1999: 45 were born, 43 with pathology - 95,5%

Children are very susceptible to radiation exposure, small doses of radiation slow or stop altogether the growth
of bones that lead to skeleton development abnormalities.

Children Health
Among pathologies the first place is occupied by the pathology of throat and nose -- every third child.
Every fifth - chronical diseases of respiratory system
Every sixth -digestive system
Every third child has a syndrome of vascular distony
Every fifth -cardiovascular diseases

70% of the examined children  of pre-school and elementary school age shows psychic deviations, connected with diffusion or insufficiency of the brain. Genetics warn about the population catastrophy.  45 year offer the discharge of the wastes into the river Techa the examination of the population revealed the presence of cells with dicenters, with tricenters and  centrical rings that point first of all to the high dozes of radiation, received by the population and second, exposure  to the internal irradiation.  The research showed that the level of genetic destruction among  the descendents is higher than among the parents.

The State of Health of the Downwinders of the Argayash Region The Argayash region is not situated on the river Techa, and it didn't suffer from the fallout but it is situated in the vicinity of the nuclear facility "Mayak."  The state of health of the population is very worrying:
Nervous system diseases - 72%
Digestive system diseases - 50%
Blood organs diseases - 38%
Disabled - every fifth person.

In January 2000 the NGO "Aigul" initiated the research to find out the effective dozes of radiation, received by the population.

The results showed that in the examined settlements the population was exposed to the huge mutagenetic factor of radiation origin.

The aim of our work is to help people of the region to get the information on radiation situation in the region, radiation in general and the effect of small dozes on man.  It is possible, that this information will help under present conditions to take some measures to decrease radiation risks for themselves, their children, to protect their right to life and good environment.