NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Soviet Pollution

July 27, 1992

The worst damage done to the environment in recent times has been inflicted by socialist governments, especially the Soviet government.

  • When the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded in 1986, it spread a radioactive plume that dumped about 700,000 curies of radioactive dust on Europe.
  • This contamination will cause an estimated 6,000 deaths from cancer in Europe over the next 50 years.
  • The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in the U.S., by contrast, released about 30 curies, less than one-twentieth of one percent as much as the Chernobyl accident.

Much of the damage inflicted by the Soviets was intentional.

  • From the 1950s, scientists at Chelyabinsk, the Soviet Union's top-secret nuclear weapons production site, dumped radioactive waste in local lakes and rivers.
  • As a result, just standing for an hour on the bank of the once-beautiful Karachai Lake can give you a lethal dose of radiation.
  • The Soviet navy dumped nuclear waste in the Barents Sea for nearly 30 years, and when the barrels of nuclear waste at first floated, the Soviets punctured them to make them sink.
  • In just 30 years, an irrigation project reduced the Aral Sea to less than half its original size, and one former port is now 44 miles from the water's edge. - David R. Henderson

Source: Paul Hofheinz, "The New Soviet Threat: Pollution," Fortune, July 27, 1992.


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