Notes and Reflections on Books and Media
by Hannah Leitheiser
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
Mayak Incident, Russia, 1957
"The blast launched a kilometer tall pillar of smoke and dust into the sky. Within a few hours a blanket of gray radioactive ash and debris several centimeters thick had settled over the industrial zone. Soldiers who worked there were soon admitted to the hospital bleeding and vomiting....Highly radioactive contamination had begun to spread across the Urals, 2 million curies of it.
The city leaders attempted to stifle news of what had happened....Eventually 10,000 people were permanently evacuated. Entire settlements were plowed into the ground.
Rumors began to reach the west, but Chelyabinsk 40 was one of the most fiercely guarded secrets in the USSR." - Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster (2019)
The Russians had spies to steal the secrets of bomb-making, but they didn't necessarily pilfer the safety manuals. The Mayak Incident now ranks third in nuclear disasters, following Chernobyl and Fukushima. It was practice in liquidation of the effects and censoring of information.