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Retracing Mayak's Radioactive Cloud

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Science  08 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5399, pp. 164
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5399.164

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On 29 September 1957, a gigantic explosion ripped through the radioactive waste storage building at the Mayak Production Association, the report reverberating for some 10 kilometers. A new analysis of the accident is now being used to devise computer programs for modeling the fate of radionuclides released into the atmosphere. The simulations, which model how weather conditions, air currents, and other factors might disperse radioactive particles, are meant to help forecast the consequences of another explosion at any of the several nuclear sites in the Chelyabinsk region.