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Closed City, Open Disaster

Cultures of Contamination

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1371-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-460-7

Publication date: 16 May 2007


Russia represents one of the world's most dangerous ecological risk zones. Yet, the risk is not evenly distributed within the country. Certain areas of Russia show a disproportionately heavy concentration of pollution and present an even higher ecological risk than the country as a whole. Making a major contribution to the list of areas at greatest risk are the “ZATO.” These unique “Closed Administrative Territorial Establishments” are Russian settlements or cities containing large nuclear enterprises; they are held in a state of extreme secrecy and security. Despite the end of the cold war, ZATO persist and their production activities continue to cause terrible damage to the environment and to the health of their residents. Additionally, the sites of closed former ZATO represent lasting ecological and health threats.


Kutepova, N. and Tsepilova, O. (2007), "Closed City, Open Disaster", Edelstein, M.R., Tysiachniouk, M. and Smirnova, L.V. (Ed.) Cultures of Contamination (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 147-164.



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