From the history of home radiation medicine (Cheliabinsk-40, the chemical plant "Mayak")

"Radiation and Risk", 1995, vol. 5, pp.48-53


Baisogolov G.D., Doschenko V.N., Koshurnikova N.A.


This work presents a short historical review of medico-biological studies conducted at the first facility of nuclear industry. Situated in Chelyabinsk region it is well known as a chemical reprocessing and production facility "Mayak" in the town Ozersk where in 1948-49 the first in the USSR and Europe industrial reactor was started and production of weapon plutonium was set going.

Physicians and biologists who began working at the "Mayak" had to solve problems new on principle for medicine which are connected with chronic external action of ionizing radiation on people, possible transfer of radionuclides into human organism, consequences of emergency exposure in high doses. In this paper the process on formation of estimates of maximum permissible levels of ionizing radiation effect is shown, practice of medical supervision for state of health of staff as well as that of preventive and therapeutic measures is described. The authors give voluminous factual material about staff and structure of scientific and medical subdivisions, radiation situation at industrial facilities of different type, statistics and disease nature. Sympthomatology of chronic radiation sickness was demonstrated to be developed as a result of extensive clinical radiobiological and dosimetric studies, basis of pathogenesis and acute radiation sickness was established.

Particular emphasis has been placed on much investigated in 50-60 years questions of pathology connected with transfer of different compounds of 239Pu into human organism. These studies included diagnosis and therapy of pneumosclerosis as well as epidemiology of tumor diseases. Increase of mortality from carcinoma of lung and high frequency of angiosarcomas of liver by the staff involved into plutonium production was noted.

Among the other problems solved by physicians and radiobiologists were the following: studying physical development and state of health for the 1-st and 2-nd generations of children of industrial workers and citizens, examination of population suffered in the region of radioactive contamination of the Techa River and due to the accident at the "Mayak" in 1957.

Key words
Mayak chemical plant, ionizing radiation, intake of radionuclides in the body, consequences of accidental exposure, maximum acceptable levels, radiation exposure, symptoms, chronic radiation sickness, 239Pu, high frequency, angiosarcoma, lung cancer, plutonium production.


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