Nuclear Waste Clouds Siberia's Skies

In the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a tankful of spent radioactive fuel exploded and burned on Apr. 6 at Tomsk-7, a formerly secret Siberian city where nuclear weapons were once built. A large radioactive cloud was spotted over the site, and several thousand acres of land were probably contaminated. Tomsk-7 has a population of 500,000. The accident is eerily reminiscent of one that contaminated a vast area of Siberia in 1957. But both Russian and Western experts agree that the disaster is nowhere near the size of Chernobyl, which has claimed 8,000 lives so far. The Tomsk-7 accident is already refocusing Western efforts to make the former Soviet Union's nuclear program safer.