Lake Karachay in Russia is the dirtiest in the world. Used as a place to dump radioactive nuclear waste, this lake doesn’t sustain fish life and it has been the place of various experiments where the sediments were needed to be contained to prevent further geological disasters.
The story of Lake Karachay
Lake Karachay has a sad story as an unfortunate 1 square mile surface that was to be the most contaminated place on earth. Situated next to the city of Ozyorsk, the lake has been the dumping ground of radioactive nuclear waste from the time of the Cold War.
In time, efforts were made to have its contamination limited. The lake has been filled with concrete blocks and dirt, mainly to prevent its radioactive waters from infiltrating the ground further.
Just how dirty is Lake Karachay
This lake is one of the most dangerous in the world. Many estimate the lake and the neighboring city of Ozyrosk to be the most radioactive in the world. Closed off to visitors for much of its existence, both the lake and the city were the location where the Soviet Union decided to match the US as a nuclear power, especially after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Then, the Soviet government decided to build the city from scratch. It brought so many people to help build it that there were almost 50.000 men on the construction site of the nuclear plant at the time.
But the story of the lake is marked by various accidental spills. It has been the place that has seen even underground nuclear explosions. Radioactive waste exploded in improperly stored underground tanks to be eventually spilled in this lake. This has happened several times since the Second World War.
The lake has seen some of the highest levels of contamination you can imagine. It has been the place that saw the first military-grade plutonium being manufactured at a large scale which means the levels of radioactive activity here have always been high.
People still live around the lake, especially in the nearby city of Chelyabinsk. But this lake has been one of the most troublesome Soviet interventions on nature in an attempt of military world dominance.
When the nearby nuclear facility was built, there were only forests around and not even a road. But this lake found in Easter Ural Mountains has been short-changed. Government forces cut down much of the forest to make way for a new road to lead to this lake and the surrounding area. Its top-secret location was perfect for nuclear experiments.
To make matters even worse, nature got its response starting from 1960. The lake began to dry. This means much of the dumped radioactive waste was carried by wind hundreds of miles away to the nearby region practically expanding the radioactive area. Unofficial figures estimate more than 500.000 people have been irradiated since then. Drought has caused the dumped radioactive liquids and gases to lift into the atmosphere.