Man-made radiation can kill entire families

In the late 70’s, in the Karansky quarry of Donetsk region, they took increased social obligations: to give the country rubble, small, but a lot. Buildings were in full swing around; the "suppliers" were falling off their feet, chasing scarce materials. The Olympics-80 in Moscow drew near. It was necessary be one up on the whole world and show how the country cares about the Soviet man, how it gives him not communal barracks, but modern, comfortable housing. Apartment buildings made the whole streets, blocks – the whole towns. And in the Karansky quarry, as in any enterprise of that time, there was a big rush. And when the management demands to ship wagons with rubble to the concrete plant “for yesterday”, the backs are wet both for the workers and the foremen. It was in such a production fuss that a radioisotope level gauge with cesium 137, a powerful source of gamma radiation, was lost. To stop production meant to "put a party ticket" on the table, so the management was told that the radioactive device had been looked for but not found. The loss was written off, and another device was taken to work from the warehouse.

The Olympics-80 opening fanfare is playing. Within the grand opening in Kramatorsk happy families are moving into the apartment building No. 7 on Gvardiytsiv-Kantemyrivtsiv street (now Mariia Prymachenko street). Dreams come true! Own apartment in a new panel building. Elevator, central water supply and hot water. Wow!

A year later, there was a tragedy in this building. 18 year old girl died of leukemia. She burned to death within few months. A year later, grief happened again in the same family. The same illness took away a 16-year-old boy, then their mother. Rumors "about a bad apartment" spread in the city. The doctors blamed everything on a genetic predisposition, and the city executive committee gave the keys to the apartment to another family.

In 1987, a funeral was again held in the same apartment. Leukemia killed a teenage boy. His younger brother was in critical condition in the hospital. The heartbroken father pushed for an investigation. Specialists from the sanitary and epidemiological station came to the apartment with a dosimeter ... and run in panic. The room where the children were dying one after the other had sky-high radiation levels! In the adjoining apartment behind the wall and on the floor above, the radiation level was high. Residents were urgently resettled. Dosimeters determined that powerful gamma radiation came from the wall. It was dismantled and taken to the Kyiv Institute for Nuclear Research. There they pulled out a capsule with Cesium 137. By its number it was established that it was the one lost in the Karansky quarry. After the decontamination, people still live in this building, and the radiation level has returned to natural values.

So many years after this tragedy, we again talk about radiation safety, this time as a public need. The problem is serious, it is ripe, a kind of greetings from the past. In the early 90’s, when the whole familiar world collapsed along with the Soviet Union, the system for monitoring the circulation of ionizing radiation sources also collapsed. It was quickly restored, but even that was enough for the ruined enterprises to get rid of radioactive items as they wanted. After all, you have to pay for recycling, but why, if you can put it into scrap metal, throw it into a landfill, or “forget” in the basement of the workshop. This is how thousands and thousands of radioactive instruments and devices found new owners and ended up in private garages, attics, and courtyards. They lie and slowly bite off pieces of health from people who do not even suspect anything. To get rid of this misfortune half-heartedly will not work. Although this is not difficult, following simple rules:

- Do not contact with IRS, stay away from them;

- Do not move it or disassemble;

- Report the presence of IRS to the Police, SES or public authority;

- Remember that voluntary reporting of IRS is not punishable by law.

Only by clearing the surrounding world of radioactive trash, we can be sure that the events in Kramatorsk will remain a bitter reminder: don't trifle with radiation, it does not forgive mistakes.

"KROK to bezpeky" project hotline phone - 0800214161

Police phone - 102

SES phone - 101