The Techa River is a river on the eastern flank of the southern Ural Mountains noted for its nuclear contamination. It is about 240 km long and its basin is 7,500 square kilometers. It begins at the formerly secret nuclear-processing town of Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast about 80 km northwest of Chelyabinsk and flows northeast to Dalmatovo on the Iset River, a tributary of the Tobol River. Its basin is enclosed on the southeast by that of the Miass River, another river that flows northeast into the Iset.
From 1949 to 1956 the Mayak complex dumped estimated at 76 million cubic meters of radioactive waste water into the Techa River, a cumulative dispersal of 2.75 MCi (102 PBq) of radioactivity. In the 1957 Kyshtym disaster the wind was blowing parallel to the Techa and fallout from Ozyorsk spread almost as far as Tyumen. Today water from the upper Techa cannot be used for drinking or irrigation, but the surrounding area is thought to be fairly safe.[by whom?] The Mayak plant continues to dump large amounts of low, mid and high level liquid nuclear waste into the Techensky Reservoir Cascade, a series of two large nuclear waste lagoons. The "reservoirs" are intended to allow for continued dumping by isolating the lagoons from the Techa with cofferdams, but up to 1,000,000 cubic foot (28,000 m3) a year of contaminated water and silt is estimated to be leaking and overflowing into the Techa every year anyway.[by whom?]
As many as forty villages, with a combined population of about 28,000 residents, lined the river at the time. For 24 of them, the Techa was a major source of water; 23 of them were eventually evacuated. In the past 45 years, about half a million people in the region have been irradiated in one or more of the incidents, exposing them to as much as 20 times the radiation suffered by the Chernobyl disaster victims.
- Techa River
- CHELYABINSK "The Most Contaminated Spot on the Planet" - a documentary film by Slawomir Grunberg - Log In Productions - distributed by LogTV LTD
- Pike, John. "Chelyabinsk-65 / Ozersk Combine 817 / Production Association Mayak". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
- Radioactive Contamination of the Techa River and its Effects
- Clay, Rebecca (April 2001). "Cold War, Hot Nukes: Legacy of an Era". Environmental Health Perspectives (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) 109 (4). Retrieved 29 September 2010.
- Zaitchik, Alexander (8 Oct 2007). "Inside the Zone". The Exile. Retrieved 29 September 2010.