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Psycho-Social Consequences due to Radioactive Contamination in the Techa River Region of Russia

Cultures of Contamination

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

Publication date: 16 May 2007


The Ural Mountain region is a remarkably beautiful landscape of forests and lakes. Here is the continental divide between Europe and Asia. One of the rivers originating here to eventually feed feeding the Artic Sea is the Techa river. But the verdant greenery that characterizes the region does not disclose the hidden dangers of plutonium and other radioactive materials either downstream or downwind of the Mayak Nuclear Complex. Major areas of the Techa river corridor and downwind areas were permanently evacuated after radioactive releases from the Mayak Nuclear Complex from the 1950s through the 1970s. Although acute and chronic water releases encompass this period, the so-called Kyshtim 57 accident, an air release from Mayak in 1957, was the word's worst nuclear accident until surpassed by Chernobyl (see Mironova et al. and Kutepova and Tsepilova, this volume). But what of the inhabitants who remain? In this chapter, we explore some of the psycho-social impacts of living in contaminated areas, drawing primarily upon interviews with residents of the region. In doing this, we give voice to their perspective and views on each other and life in this contaminated region.1


Edelstein, M.R. and Tysiachniouk, M. (2007), "Psycho-Social Consequences due to Radioactive Contamination in the Techa River Region of Russia", 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. 185-204.



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