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

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

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.

What's The Most Dangerous Place on Earth?

Lake Karachay is one of them. Hear about the others.

09:29

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    93% of all humans who have ever lived are dead today. (0:03)

  • 2

    You wouldn't just burn if you fell into molten lava, you would turn into an explosive mini eruption. (3:04)

  • 3

    Lake Karachay in Russia was named the most polluted spot on Earth. (6:07)

The Most Radioactive Places On Earth

If the human body is exposed to more than two sieverts of ionizing radiation at once, it will die.

11:18

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    If the human body is exposed to more than two sieverts of ionizing radiation at once, it will die. (0:50)

  • 2

    As an airplane gains altitude, the level of radiation inside the plane increases. (5:07)

  • 3

    The lungs of smokers are exposed to more ionizing radiation than people living near Fukushima, radiation workers, and astronauts. (9:57)

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste

Contrarian, but it's true.

See all

Pollution

Radiation

Russia

Science

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