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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2015 year, number 1

THE ENVIRONMENTAL SITUATION IN WESTERN SIBERIA IN CONNECTION WITH THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS TESTING AT THE NOVOZEMELSKY NUCLEAR SITE

I.M. Savitsky
Institute of History SB RAS, 630090, Novosibirsk, Nikolaev st., 8
politik@history.nsc.ru
Keywords: nuclear weapons test, environment, nuclear traces, polluted areas, human settlements

Abstract

Historically, confrontation between the two great powers led to the arms race in the heart of which was creation of super weapons systems. Under these conditions, the Soviet Union did its best to create a nuclear missile shield. In the territories adjacent to the Western Siberia the nuclear test sites began to function, where nuclear and thermonuclear tests were carried out. A total of 132 tests were conducted at Novaya Zemlya (the Northern nuclear site («Object 700») was the main site in the USSR). It is noted that nuclear tests were conducted only when the wind rose showed a spike in the eastern direction so the nuclear cloud drifted within a few days along the territory of the USSR. Importantly, the most powerful nuclear and thermonuclear weapons were tested at Novaya Zemlya. As a result of these nuclear tests the large territories in Western Siberia, particularly, the Arctic areas were contaminated by radioactive substances. For example, in October, 1958 a total of 13 tests were carried out at the Novozemelsky nuclear site. Maximum levels of beta activity of radioactive fall-outs occurred on October, 6 - 7 and it was 89,60 um/cm per day. The nuclear traces affected southern areas of Western Siberia and the north of Kazakhstan in the second half-beginning of the third decade of August, the first decade of September and the firs half of October. The largest thermonuclear test in the world was detonated at Novaya Zemlya on October 30, 1961 It is clear that the components of nuclear weapons - strontium and tsezit polluted the vast territory, particularly the areas of Western Siberia. Of course, the terrible consequences of radiation had a great impact on the natural environment, wildlife, animals and population of the region, which was completely in the dark about the negative impact of nuclear tests. As a result of this and other factors, the morbidity caused by malignant tumors among the population of Western Siberia remains the highest in the Russian Federation.