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Before and After the Worst Nuclear Disasters in History via Mashable

There are few sources of energy as fickle and destructive as nuclear power.

When contained and kept under control, it can be a relatively clean way of powering thousands of homes. When an accident happens, the aftermath can be deadly and destructive long after the initial incident.

Here are the before and after stories of the worst disasters the world has seen.

Kyshtym: Sept. 29, 1957


The Kyshtym disaster is shrouded in mystery and muddled by years of Soviet suppression of information.

In 1945, the Soviet Union built the Mayak plutonium processing plant in the secret town Ozyorsk, deep within the eastern Ural Mountains. The plant was built to refine weapons-grade nuclear material following World War II, and was where the first Soviet nuclear bomb was developed.

The plant played an integral roll for the USSR in its arms race with the United States, and experienced one of the most dangerous radiation leaks in history. When word of the leak spread, the disaster took on the name of the nearest known town, Kyshtym.

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