The Radioactive Lake Karachay Is The World's Most Polluted Place

Brilliance | Dec. 09, 2017

A picturesque lake has been the inspiration of plenty of family vacations and weekend getaways. Just imagine it: nature, serenity, and peace. Oh, and radiation. Lots and lots of radiation. Enough radiation to kill you within a few hours of exposure. That's if you were ill-informed enough to plan a trip to Lake Karachay, anyway. This Russian lake is considered the most polluted place on the planet. And, no, it is definitely not a place you should have on your travel wish list.

Lake Karachay was so contaminated in 1990 that standing next to it for an hour would give you a radiation dose of 600 roentgen, more than 100 times the dose considered safe for U.S. workers in an entire year. Needless to say, that hour would surely kill you. This is no natural phenomenon—it's the result of nuclear facility leakage. The lake is situated within the Mayak Production Association, one of the largest nuclear facilities in Russia. The facility, which was kept secret until 1990 for a host of reasons, dumped plenty of radioactive waste into the lake over the years. Today, Lake Karachay doesn't look much like a lake at all: it's full of concrete to keep radioactive matter away from shore. Learn more about some of the most dangerous places on Earth in the video below.

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