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December 16, 2016
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September 20, 2004
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July 15, 1979
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PDF icon CIA-RDP88-01350R000200140007-2.pdf168.8 KB
STAT Approved Fora " 6t?4/Wf`1 Qt'IA-kbl~88-013 Article appeared 15 July 1979 on Page 1I-1, 4 Adear Disaster the Urals _NUCLEAR THE UR LS. 2.1. .hares A. ?feuu ci?v. 1'rartsluted bye Geor;a Saunders. Norton. 214 1;p.'12. 3 By WALTER C. PATTERSON Medvedev points out that intelligence I agencies, preoccupied with "secret" infor- mation, "are often unable to make thoroughgoing and effective use of infor- ination open to the public." He thereupon declares his intention "to give these analysts and experts a small lesson in sci- entific detective work." As a "small les-1 son" it is a tour-de-force. In 1958 an old professor of Medvedev in- vited him to work at one of the secret in- investigation was reported durin;,radioe- cology sessions at the Geneva conference on peaceful uses of atomic energy in 1971. The reports of such a study might have been expected to invite major questions on methods and general principles; but, about these papers not a single question was asked. -Medvedev notes, without com- anent, that the chairman of the session was Sir John Hill. Medvedev also includes commentary on a number of CIA reports and discussions.' which have since come to light; facsimiles are included in the book. Medvedev points out that they exhibit many internal incon- sistencies and contradictions, when they are not "sanitized" -into uselessness. Nevertheless such CIA material continues. to play a part in efforts by the interna. -'~ tional nuclear community to discredit Medvedev. After Medvedev's visit to the Los Alamos laboratory, its director, Isar old Agnew, and. long-time nuclear propo-: nent Edward Teller. discounted Medve- dev's findings and challenged him to pro- duce "concrete evidence about the alleged disaster." Teller in particular can hardly'. be unaware of Medvedev's circumstances, as a Soviet exile; and it.remazns unclear. - what sort of evidence such eritics would consider "concrete." Stanley Auerbach and his colleagues at Oak Ridge have also published a report taking issue with Med- vedev's deductions. %Y. Medvedev has long since shed any illu-` :sions, about, scientific -integrity In the Soviet. Union. He'is now entitled to harbor, similar doubts about the West, at least.. when it comes to potential nuclear embar rassments. Those with open minds should' read- Nuclear Disaster in the Urals and. draw their own conclusions. C3 Z HORES ' MEDVEDEV under- stallations set up following the accident to stands better than most the study the effects of radioactivity on the meaning of scientific integrity. As a region. But Medvedev would have had to leading Soviet geneticist he wrote a submit to comprehensive censorship, in- book about Stalin's scientific char- cluding a ban on publication, and he re- latan, T. D. Lysenko; the publication fused. However, he knew the names of led to Medvedev's imprisonment in a former associates who did involve them psychiatric hospital, and the subset 'selves in studies of radiobiology in the quent withdrawal oz his Soviet citil area of the accident. Those names subse zenship. Since 1973 Mledvedev has' quently vanished from scientific publica- lived in exile in London..In November1 tions until the late '60s, when censorship 1976 he contributed to the British' eased enough to permit publication of sci- magazine New Scientist an invited ari entific research papers based on investigar` ,, title about Soviet dissident scientists.} tions after the accident. Such papers had. The article mentioned that onereasmj to disguise or obscure the basis for the for the tension between Soviet scien- work, and refer always to "experimental" tists and their government was a radioactive contamination of, waterways, "tragic catastrophe" in the Urals re- land, animals, birds and plants in unspeci- gion in 1958, an "enormous explosion" fied locations. Medvedev sought out these, at a storage site for nuclear waste, papers, identifying their "omissions, dis- which "poured radioactive dust and tortions, falsifications and anomalies" materials .high-up into. the sky,' af. compared with orthodox radioecological'- fecting tons of, thousands of people papers; he then fitted together the evi- and killing hundreds. dence from the distorted papers into a mo- A few days after the article ap-j saic from which?ihe full extent of the dis- peared, a reporter asked Sir John Hill,1 aster could be plausibly inferred. chairman of the United Kingdom Medvedev demonstrates that the levels Atomic Energy Authority, for his and distribution of contamination, espe- comments.. Sir. John responded that ciaily by strontium-90, in: bodies of water,-. the story of such a nuclear accident land areas and samplesof animals, are far . 14719 "i-u o dish," "bure science f'~ct on:' greater than any responsible scienti& and "a figment of the imagination." would-indeed, could-investigate experi- Sir John's comments were widely mentally. Medvedev= compiles persuasive- quoted in British and foreign media. evidence that, the unstated. location for, Medvedev was dumfounded. To vindi- these investigations was= the region near j cate himself Medvedev undertook a the secret Chelyabinsk-4o nuclear installa-? personal investigation of the Urals ac- tion-a conclusion reinforcing the 'eyewit- cideit! Vuclear Disaster in the Urals ness account from Professor Lev Turner- is his report. It is matter-of-fact, man, whose letter to the Jerusalem Post' understated and utterly convincing; in December 1976 focussed additional in and it grips the reader like an intellec? terest on the issue: building inexorably'to a ? Perhaps the most startling information tual thriller , haunting conclusion. in this. cumulatively awesome collation Medvedev begins by recounting the concerns reports of an "experiment" in- reactions to .his. original, article., e volving radiation exposure so intense that `had n-0 :deal that?4ester? '+xperts it killed entire stands of mature trees, and' were uninformed" about the Urals ac killed younger trees in only three years. ' W'ALTER' C. PATTERSON, is .they author of Nuclear Powen cideit? but his passing comment The effect was worse "on the windward-. about it elicited a fusillade of denials ` side" of the forest. An "experiment"? As and exegeses from rA60%qqP& 'dele#,4#~C~~~ 000200140007-2 ence authorities in several countries. son o e x ri e