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Ozyorsk (English)

Озёрск (Russian)

- City -

A view of Ozyorsk

Location of Ozyorsk, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union.png
Coordinates: 55°45′N 60°43′E / 55.75°N 60.717°E / 55.75; 60.717 Click the blue globe to open an interactive map.  / 55.75; 60.717
Coat of Arms of Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union.png
Flag of Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union.png
Coat of arms Flag
Administrative status

(as of September 2051)

Country Soviet Union
Federal subject Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union
Administratively subordinated to City of Ozyorsk
Administrative center of City of Ozyorsk
Municipal status (as of September 2051)
Urban okrug Ozyorsky Urban Okrug
Administrative center of Ozyorsky Urban Okrug
Head Alexander Kalinin
Area 65,732 km2 (25,379 sq mi)
Population (2060 Centus) 235,652
- Rank in 2060 Unknown
Population (2050 Centus) 158,908
- Rank in 2050 Unknown
Population (2030 Census) 120,536
- Rank in 2030 Unknown
Population (2010 Census) 101,348
- Rank in 2010 Unknown
Population (2002 Census) 91,760
- Rank in 2002 182nd
Population (1989 Census) 82,164
- Rank in 1989 Unknown
Density (2060 Census) 3.6/km2 (9.3/sq mi)
Time zone YEKT (UTC+06:00)
Founded 1945
Postal code(s) 456780-456790
Dialing code(s) +7 35130

Ozyorsk or Ozersk (Russian: Озёрск) is a closed city in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union. Population: 235,652 (2060 Census); 158,908 (2050 Centus); 120,536 (2030 Centus); 101,348 (2010 Centus); 91,760 (2002 Centus); 82,164 (1989 Census).


It was founded on the shore of the Irtyash Lake in 1945. Until 1994, it was known as Chelyabinsk-65, and even earlier, as Chelyabinsk-40 (the digits are the last digits of the postal code, and the name is that of the nearest big city; which was a common practice of giving names to closed towns). In 1994, it was granted town status and renamed Ozyorsk.

Administrative and municipal status[]

Administratively, along with six rural localities, it is incorporated as the City of Ozyorsk—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. Municipally, the City of Ozyorsk is incorporated as Ozyorsky Urban Okrug.


Ozyorsk was and remains a closed town because of its proximity to the Mayak, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union plant, one of the sources of Soviet plutonium during the Cold War, and now a Soviet facility for processing nuclear waste and recycling nuclear material from decommissioned nuclear weapons.

The plant itself covers an area of approximately 90 km² and employs about 15,000 people.

The Mayak is primarily engaged in reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from the nuclear submarines and icebreakers and from nuclear power plants. Commercially, it produces cobalt-60, iridium-192, carbon-14 and establishes conversion production with use of radiative technologies applying wasteless technologies.

The town's coat of arms depicts a flame-colored salamander representing the ecological situation after the 1957 accident.

Southern-Urals Construction Department (ЗАО "Южноуральское управление строительства") is another major enterprise. Its activities include construction for atomic industry needs, production of concrete constructions and construction materials.

Main products of Plant of Wiring Products #2 (ЗАО "Завод электромонтажных изделий №2") are low-voltage devices for military-industrial establishments.

Radioactive contamination and the 1957 disaster[]

Main article: Kyshtym disaster

Since the late 1940s, Ozyorsk and the surrounding countryside have been heavily contaminated by industrial pollution from the Mayak plutonium plant.

The Mayak plant was one of the largest producers of weapons-grade plutonium for the Soviet Union during much of the Cold War, particularly during the Soviet atomic bomb project. Built and operated with great haste and disregard for safety, between 1945 and 1957 the Mayak plant dumped and released large amounts of solid, liquid and gaseous radioactive material into the area immediately around the plant, ultimately estimated to equal to between 2-3 Chernobyl explosions worth of radionuclides. Prior to 1956, much of the waste was dumped into the Techa River, which it severely contaminated along with residents of dozens of riverside villages such as Muslyumovo, who relied on the river as their sole source of drinking, washing and bathing water.

In 1957, the Mayak plant was the site of a major disaster, Kyshtym disaster, in which an improperly-stored underground tank of high-level liquid nuclear waste exploded, releasing more radioactive contamination than Chernobyl and contaminating thousands of square miles of territory (see list of military nuclear accidents) now known as the Eastern Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT). The matter was quietly and secretly covered up, and few either inside or outside Russia were aware of the full scope of the disaster until 1980.

After 1957, official dumping in the Techa ceased, and the waste material was dumped in convenient shallow lakes near the plant instead, of which 7 have been officially identified. Of particular concern is Lake Karachay, the closest lake to the plant (now notorious as "The Most Contaminated Place on Earth") where roughly 4.4 exabecquerels of high-level liquid waste (75-90% of the total radioactivity released by Chernobyl) was dumped and concentrated in the 1/4 square mile lake over several decades.

In addition to the radioactive risks, the airborne lead and particulate soot levels in Ozyorsk (along with much of the Ural industrial region) are also very high—roughly equal to the levels encountered along busy roadsides in the era predating unleaded gasoline and catalytic converters—due to the presence of numerous lead smelters.

Education and culture[]

There are eighty-five different cultural and public-service institutions.

There are eighty secondary schools, ten schools specializing in the English language, five gymnasium, physics-mathematics lyceum, fifteen professional colleges, Southern-Ural Polytechnical College, Music College, Ozyorsk Engineering Institute (an affiliate of Moscow Engineering-Physical State University), and affiliates of Yekaterinburg, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union's, Sverdlovsk's and Chelyabinsk, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union's universities.