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Death Postponed due to the State Reason

Death Postponed due to the State Reason

Very seldom we publish materials of not our authors but in this case a theme as the founder would say is "arch-important". Practically the central part of the regional center with huge number of population is unsuitable for life, dangerous - but people continue to live there where to live is impossible. There is no way out. The state instead of protecting people from real radiating danger in every possible way ignores "inconvenient" theme. They live - so, it's ok...

I found myself in similar situation in 1995 when I published an article in "Pravda" about construction of Moscow microdistrict "Brateevo-1" on a place of similar "radioactive ravine" as the one described in the report of the Air Forces from Ulyanovsk. Burial dumping of radioactive waste products was made in far 50 without charting of districts, without safety measures - simply there were no such norms of radiating safety at that time.

As a result the whole microdistrict was built on a site where radiating background exceeded in tens times. Capital authorities began to move when zero cycles of future apartment houses were already founded. If I remember rightly, more than 800 tons of infected ground was taken out from there.

Scandal was terrible. The first assistant to prime-minister of the capital government Resin brought an action against me. The court didn't find me guilty but suggested to "solicit a truce" so that not to reject the claim of "a big person" - there were the times when the journalist could win an action against the omnipotent chief.

But, in spite of the fact that scandal became known to public and authenticity of data proved to be true, microdistrict nevertheless was built. For some time prices there were the lowest in Moscow. Then somehow all these houses were quickly occupied. People live there, children play in playpits...

You say - Ulyanovsk...


Аnatoly Baranov, editor - in - chief of FROUM.msk

Radioactive Ravine Becomes Elite Settlement

Impudent yellow tablet with a badge of radiation "It's dangerous! Pass is forbidden!" - perhaps, the only warning which today can be found out in Solovjevsky ravine in the central area of Ulyanovsk.

Local children cheerfully plays here and if not to know that indicator of dosimeter reads off scale 600 microroentgen/hour, it is possible to think that you are in picturesque and quite safe settlement.

Solovjev ravine stretched out on some kilometers in the very center of Ulyanovsk has bad glory. The radiating background here in tens times exceeds allowable norms. Firstly it became known that the ravine is extremely dangerous for life after the failure on Chernobyl Atomic Power Station.

The dangerous territory extends.

In the country scale checks began after the tragedy, during one of which radioactive territory was found out with the help of specially equipped helicopter "Mi-8".

The whole investigation was organized - it appeared that in 1962 on Ulyanovsk instrument-making factory there was a large fire as a result of which the shop with stocks of radium-226 used in airdevices for light indication at night was completely burned down.

After a fire the ground polluted with radioactive materials was taken out and without thinking twice was brought down in the ravine which was situated nearby to the enterprise. According to local ecologists, originally the area of the polluted site made four kilometers at length and one kilometer at width.

In official documents of a municipal government on affairs of civil defence and extreme situations is informed that pollution is caused by highly toxic radionuclides radium-226 with a half-life period of 1600.

Today experts are already at a loss to tell the precise area of radioactive pollution: the ravine is situated in a slip zone and dangerous territory extends constantly.

"Houses Literally Shine"

Solovjev ravine is a small microdistrict in the center of Ulyanovsk. Therefore, local residents say that the ground here costs crazy money, in fact far not everyone knows about ill-starred radiation.

Pensioner Lyudmila Borisova every day walks here with the grandsons. "We know about this radiation! Well, where is it? We do not see it and we do not feel it, - the woman says. - Where could we go to? We would go from here with all our pleasure but there is no place to go".

"Ashes dumped in a ravine mixed up with radioactive materials used in the building purposes - got mixed up in a mortar, made blocks for apartment houses, - Ulyanovsk ecologist Alexander Bragin told to BBCRussian.com. - Then nobody suspected about possible consequences. Only some years later it was found out that constructed houses literally shine.

Representatives of local authorities consider that they have made all they could.

State of Emergency of Local Character

The head of a department of ecology and natural resources of Ulyanovsk administration Andrey Saltykov declars that the department headed by him repeatedly tried to find necessary means for carrying out of deactivation of ravine but up to now there is no money for these purposes.

"In course of one of the checks of Solovijev ravine places in which the level of radiation exceeds 1000 mcR/hour (normal radiating background - 20 mcR/hour) were found, two dials from military devices were the sources of radiation", - Saltykov tells.

As he said, some works on disinfecting of the territory were all the same carried out but it's - a drop in the sea.

"City authorities tried to get means from the federal budget but, unfortunately, they failed to do anything, - the official admits. - There was an official answer from EMERCOM which stated that the state of emergency had local character, therefore its consequences should be eliminated due to the local budget. But everybody understands well that at times it's difficult to find in the budget money for hot water supply, while for deactivation of ravine serious means are necessary".

Solovjev ravine adjoins directly to the river Svijaga flowing along the city. It means that radioactive layers can slip into it.

"Nothing Hurts Meanwhile"

Ephemery of radioactive danger dulls feeling of fear in people.

"When we have only learned that we live in radioactive zone, we were frightened very much: some people began to panic, abandoned houses, I with a family have no other place to live, - the local resident tells. - Now the fear has departed, we live here for some years and nothing hurts for the moment. Earlier we complained, wrote letters to various instances, now we stopped - all the same officials didn't come to us: they are afraid, probably ".

Chief of the department of ionizing, non-ionizing radiations of Ulyanovsk Rospotrebnadzor Michael Chastoedov explains that influence of radiation couldn't appear in few days.

"Similar regular irradiation can affect subsequent generations - for example, to cause oncological diseases or various mutations", - Chastoedov says.

"I Want to Live More"

There is own statistics in Solovjev ravine. Pensioner Praskovya Yastrebova bends fingers enumerating died neighbours: it turns out that only in one Popova Street in three houses out of five people have died of oncological diseases.

To prove that it was caused by radiation, certainly, is impossible though inhabitants of Solovjev ravine refuse to believe in accident. "If I was only given a corner in a closet - I shall at once run from here, I want to live more", - the woman admits.

Representatives of local authorities do not get tired to complain of carelessness of local residents. "We carried out explanatory work with population, fenced places where maximal radiation was fixed. But people listen nothing! Protections are not an obstacle to them, they pay no attention to precautionary tablets", - they said in city administration.

In the very epicentre of radioactive radiation there is garage-building cooperative "Sokol". It appeared here, by the way, already after it became known about out-of-limit radiating background.

Recently members of cooperative society demanded from authorities tax privileges, appealing to the fact that they are exposed to dangerous influence of radiation every day.

"Show Me, Where Your Radiation Is"

By sight Solovjev ravine resembles true oasis in expanding city. Here there are no brisk city highways, pipes of the industrial enterprises do not smoke.

Probably, for this reason Solovjev ravine has become recently popular among representatives of local business elite. The man in the expensive strict suit, introduced himself as local businessman Alexander, has recently bought a piece of land here.

Now he builds a house where in the near future he plans to move together with his wife and children. "If you will show me your radiation, I shall at once sell back this site and leave", - the man smiles and makes with a hand such movement as if he tries to catch something.

Radiation cannot prevent the young businessman. He admits that ha has been earning money some years to purchase a piece of land in city centre, for this reason conversations about raised radiating background irritate him and amuse simultaneously.

Alexander - is not the only one who is not afraid of radiation and who has dared to live in this picturesque place. Today it is possible to observe building going by accelerated tempo here - private residences are being built one after another.

Solovjev ravine gradually turns to elite settlement. Lorries with building materials fly on the road, piles are cheerfully nailed everywhere. It's not a secret any longer that adventurous citizens of Ulyanovsk redeem crazy houses of old men, remove them and build multi-storey cottages.

"It is such Russian extreme - aspiration to live on a volcano, - psychologist Irina Semenova considers. - In fact it is possible to find not less picturesque place for construction of a private residence but people are involved with mysterious aura developed around Solovjev ravine and they do not think that, actually, they subject themselves and their relatives to the danger".

Michael Belyj, for BBCRussian.com, Ulyanovsk
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