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Can you imagine a nuclear disaster worse than Chernobyl four times over? Moscow has successfully covered up this disaster that caused acute radiation sickness to many people until recently.
In August 1956, most people knew a nuclear weapons test fallout from the Soviets’ in Kazakhstan took over the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk which resulted in more than 600 people being hospitalized with radiation-linked illness, but the details have been far and few between.
Soviet Nuclear Fallout Cover-up
After determining a report had been uncovered, New Scientist has now revealed that an expedition of scientific proportions from the city of Moscow kept the aftermath of the disaster hush-hush regarding the boundless outbreak of radioactive sickness throughout the steppes of Kazakhstan.
After that, the scientists then continued to track the nuclear bomb test consequences, failing to inform those affected or anyone outside of the area, even the world.
Scientists from the Institute of Biophysics in Moscow reported a find in the archives of IRME in the Kazakh city of Semey. It is reported that for many years the disaster was kept a secret, director Kazbek Apsalikov states.
A number of other nuclear bomb tests were conducted at Semipalatinsk than any other location in the world in the 1950’s through the 1960’s. Journalists in the West have reported the effects of the disaster since the Soviet Union broke up. More recent findings show that proxies such as tooth enamel radioactivity determine doses.
The recent report outlines the answers of the radioactive study of the region, and the secret is of top priority which portrays the extent of awareness of the scientific researchers at the time, which is a lot.
The report details how the researchers from Moscow found widespread radioactive contamination on three separate visits to the area.
Fallout Cloud Paths:
One month after the fallout cloud descended onto the area (mid-September of 1956) the rates of doses in Ust-Kamengorsk were up to 1.6 millirems per hour, with the permissible rate of doses being 100 times lower than that. One month later, the expedition moved onward to several other villages. Close to the city of Znamenka, substances with radioactive properties affected the environment and people again and again over the next several years to come. It was deemed even more serious than the findings in Ust-Kamengorsk.
Medical officers with the military discovered that three people had acute radiation sickness in the month of August alone.
These findings match up with earlier reports of the fallout cloud paths. In 2002, Konstantin Gordeev published a map of the region showing that on August 24, 1956, a cloud moved exactly over Znamenka and Ust-Kamengorsk. Gordeev is with the Institute of Biophysics at Moscow.
About 3 years prior, a cloud traveled across Karaul, which still caused effects on health 3 years later.
One aspect derived from this disaster was the establishment of a clinic also known as a dispensary, which was given the job of tracking the effects of radiation. 100,000 people would ultimately be exposed to the radiation.
The dispensary was given the name Anti-Brucellosis Dispensary No. 4 to cover up the real intention of the establishment from the public eye.
Once the Soviet Union fell, the name of the dispensary was changed to the IRME. However, according to Boris Gusev, many archives housed there were destroyed or taken to Moscow.
According to Gusev, one of the reports states that 638 people were put in the hospital due to poisoning caused by the radiation. This was far more than what was believed to be the number of 134 cases that were associated with the incident in Chernobyl. No one really knows how many individuals perished.
In 1956 and 1957, the new reports being exposed showed that Soviet sensors destroyed or moved other reports from the country. Soils, food, and vegetable cover were found to be contaminated in the eastern part of Kazakhstan. Samples of feces were also taken from many people, which not surprisingly contained high levels of radioactivity. Once their food consumption was switched to imported foods, the radioactivity stopped showing up in their fecal matter.
This discovery resulted in a call for a stop on eating local foods, so as a result the food had to be sheltered from the fallout cloud.
This was failed to be acted upon, however.
Like in many cover-ups, the findings in the report were deemed overstated and not very important. The changes in these peoples’ bodies were downplayed and told that the changes could not be linked to the radiation. Poor diet and uncleanliness were blamed.
In 1963, atmospheric bomb testing was stopped in Semipalatinsk. Although the areas affected are now deemed safe for living conditions, it is stated that the area will never naturally return to its state before the radiation affected it says Apsalikov.
The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs’ Roman Vakulchuk says new openness is welcomed from Kazakhstan regarding this issue. The record of these facts is the first modern record of research into the radiation effects on the public. No studies were conducted before 1956.
Uncertainty remains regarding the extent of impacts on health and contamination. No danger seems to be apparent. However, the area needs to be forever safeguarded.