Techa – Russia’s Radioactive River

The Techa River flowing down the eastern flank of the Ural Mountains in Russia is considered the world’s most radioactive river, as a result of having been used as a dumping ground for nearly 80 million tons of radioactive wastewater over several years.

At first glance, the Techa River looks pristine, inviting even, and you’d never guess that it once was – and by some accounts, still is – the dumping ground of a secret nuclear compound responsible for exposing tens of thousands of people to as much as 20 times the radiation suffered by the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. 23 or the 24 rural communities that the Techa flowed by have been evacuated in the last 13 years, but not before thousands of people developed cancers, or suffered chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects. Even today, when authorities claim the levels of radiation in the Techa River are “acceptable”, Geiger counters still beep ominously when placed near the waterline…

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