Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lake Karachay, Is this the most polluted place on Earth? The Russian lake where an hour on the beach would kill you

If you're looking for a lakeside retreat on a budget, it's likely you could easily pick up a villa near to Russia's beautiful Lake Karachay and still have change left for a new sofa.

But it's probably worth bearing in mind that in 1990 just standing on the shore for an hour would give you a radiation of dose of 600 roentgen.

In case you were wondering, that's more than enough to kill you.

The lake, in Russia's south-west Chelyabinsk region, close to the modern border with Kazakhstan, is located within the Mayak Production Association, one of the country's largest — and leakiest — nuclear facilities.

Built in the Forties as Soviets moved armament production east to avoid the Nazi invasion, Mayak was one of the Russia's most important nuclear weapons factories and was off limits to foreigners for 45 years.

It was only after President Boris Yeltsin signed a 1992 decree opening up the area that Western scientists were able to gain access - and promptly declared it the planet's most polluted area. Read More