N. Kutepova "Mayak Nuclear Facility: 60 Years against Human Rights

I will speak on human rights and the nuclear age in the contemporary world. I grew up in the little known secret nuclear city of Ozersk in the heart of Russia, a place, where the Soviet Union created  plutonium for the first Soviet nuclear bombs. My grandmother was a chemical engineer at the nuclear plant Mayak, she made plutonium with her own hands and died from lymphoma 7 years before my birth. My father was a liquidator of the first nuclear accident in 1957, which happened almost 60 years ago. Later he was an engineer at the nuclear reprocessing plant and died from cancer when I was 13. Only 22 years after his death could I find the truth and receive an official document that he died from radiation.

I knew nothing about nuclear energy and nuclear materials even though I was born in a town where they were produced. As a Soviet girl, I only had seen how many people around my family had died or become disabled. We thought this was normal! It was only when I was 28 that I came to know where I lived and what exactly was produced at the nuclear plant Mayak. Another I discovered was the tragedy of the people, who were living in 39 villages along the Techa river into which the Mayak plant dumped nuclear waste. And then the tragedy of people of the 24 villages affected by the nuclear accident of 1957. Almost all of these villages were destroyed from 1954 until 1962, and I think it was most terrible violation of human rights after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People lost everything – health, houses, also sometimes the possibility to have kids.

When I learned all these facts, it forced me to wake up from nuclear propaganda which always told us that people around Mayak were ill because of bad heredity and alcoholism. I decided to make something for the people of my region and created the NGO The Planet of Hopes.  It is my mission to defend people who suffered or are still suffering from nuclear contamination of Mayak in my region, living near the contaminated Techa river in the first, second and even third generations. In 2015 I was dismissed from my job and accused of industrial espionage and forced to escape from Russia with my kids. This happened because I know everything about the inside of the nuclear industry. People shared with me their terrible stories. I tried to be a whistleblower. I would like for people around the world to know about the tragedy of Mayak . The price of using of nuclear energy is too high for humanity. Many have paid this with their lives and being sick and I am now a political refugee living in Paris, France.