The road to Lake Karachay, the most polluted place on Earth
Located in Russia, Lake Karachay it’s considered the most polluted place on Earth: its waters would kill a human within 30 minutes.
Where is Lake Karachay located?
The lake is located to the north of Novogornyi, in the south-west Chelyabinsk region, in the eastern part of Russia, close to the border with Kazakhstan.
Can you go to Lake Karachay?
The road to the lake, also known as Karachai or Karachaj, is mostly paved with concrete parts. It’s a small lake used as a dumping ground for the radioactive waste from Mayak Plutonium Plant (Chelyabinsk-65), one of the Soviet Union's biggest nuclear weapons facilities between 1951 and 1953. It was the largest natural lake capable of providing cooling water to the reactors. Today the lake is completely infilled, full of concrete that’s intended to keep radioactive sediment away from shore, acting as a near-surface permanent and dry nuclear waste storage facility. The whole lake, including the neighboring city and plant is completely out of limits: the only legal way to get in is going through a checkpoint.
How long is the road to Lake Karachay?
The road to the lake is 8.7 km (5.40 miles) long starting from Novogornyi.
What happens if you swim in Lake Karachay?
Tucked away in the southern Ural mountain range, it’s an extremely dangerous zone, more polluted than Chernobyl. The lake (also known as Reservoir 9 or V-9 water reservoir) is one of the most deadly bodies of water in the world. It’s so polluted that spending 30 minutes there would kill you. It’d give you a lethal dose of radiation of 300 roentgen, more than enough to kill you. It was also affected by a string of accidents and disasters causing the surrounding areas to be highly contaminated with radioactive waste. The name Karachay means "black water" or "black creek" in several Northwestern Turkic languages.