30 Aug '11, 9am

Kazakhstan’s nuclear legacy offers lessons for Fukushima - Make a difference - The Ecologist

Kazakhstan’s nuclear legacy offers lessons for Fukushima - Make a difference - The Ecologist

Ground zero is an hour and a half drive away from the Kazakh National Nuclear Centre (NNC) along a dusty road in the seemingly endless steppe. The Ecologist is in the Semipalatinsk (renamed Semey in 1991) region of eastern Kazakhstan to observe one of the world's nuclear hotspots: the epicenter of the Soviet Union's previous - and highly controversial - nuclear testing programme. The natural beauty of the reeds and rushes blowing in the breeze and the sun reflecting off the water belies the truth of this spot: the ‘lake' is actually a crater created from the explosions and the ground beneath is highly radioactive, and indeed, dangerous. Our military escort carries a Geiger counter, first measuring 0.09 micro Sieverts per hour along the drive, then shooting up to 3.6 micro Sieverts per hour. My mind vacillates between extreme fear and confidence in what I have been told: be...

Full article: http://www.theecologist.org/how_to_make_a_difference/clim...

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