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A Checkered Past

A Checkered Past

Local resident Ramzis Fayzullin is a modern-day victim of the Mayak disaster. (Greenpeace/Knoth)

IN THE SHADOW OF MAYAK: Russia has said it has no plans to shut down Mayak, the country's biggest reprocessor of spent nuclear fuel. The plant, located just east of the Ural mountains in Russia's Chelyabinsk Oblast, is considered to be the site of some of the worst radioactive contamination on Earth.

Mayak was created in the 1940s as the heart of the Soviet Union's nuclear program. But today the territory around the plant is a wasteland, with generations of residents suffering from sterility, cancer, asthma, and other illnesses....(more)