High radiation levels found along Yenisei River in Siberia

Publish date: September 28, 2004

The specialists of the Krasnoyarsk kray Center of Sanitary Supervision and Disease Control said 300 km of the Yenisei river are polluted with radiation.

The specialists took water and sediment tests along the river. They concluded that 300-km part of the river from the “closed” town Zheleznogorsk till Kan River can be today declared a zone of environmental disaster. Some examined places showed radiation levels hundreds time higher than the permitted levels. The specialists believe such high concentrations of the technogenic isotopes is the consequence of the Zheleznogorsk Chemical Combine discharges despite the fact that its reactors were shut down 12 years ago.

The preliminary results of the expedition were sent to the local administration and by the end of the year the final results should be announced. The most contaminated spots along the river were found near settlements Atamanovo, Kononovo, Khloptunovo. The local people often fish, pick berries and mushrooms there and then sell it in Krasnoyarsk. Besides, it is a popular grazing area for the cattle. Milk and meat from these places are also sold in other Siberian towns. However, the precise data about radioactive contamination is classified. According to one of the member of the expedition, they are not allowed to disclose even the preliminary results of the examinations. The locals are interested to get the official data as it can help them to get compensation for health damages from the authorities. According to Valentina Bibikova who lived 20 years in the contaminated area, all the expeditions had resulted in some closed reports and classified information. Unauthorised persons were not allowed to read them, reported.

If the official statements will confirm the preliminary results in a few months then it will be many questions to the Zheleznogorsk Chemical combine, which discharged cooling water from the two reactors directly into the Yenisei River until 1992. The head of Zheleznogorsk Chemical Combine press-department Pavel Morozov believes the discharges could not lead to such high radiation levels in the sediments and connects the expedition results with the coming elections of the city mayor, reported.

According to, the local Coordinating Council on Radiation Safety gathered in Krasnoyarsk on September 24 to discuss the preliminary results of the expedition. After listening to the report by chief doctor of the Krasnoyarsk kray Center of Sanitary Supervision and Disease Control, the members of the Council stated, however, that the radiation situation in the living areas is safe…

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