20 Places You Should Never Ever Swim

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The Atomic Lake (Lake Chagan), Kazakhstan

Lake Chagan is a man-made lake in Kazakhstan. It was created in 1965. Using a nuclear bomb. Thinking about taking a dip in its peaceful-looking waters? Take our advice and think again. Lake Chagan isn’t known as ‘Atomic Lake’ for nothing.

Decades have passed but the radiation remains and there can be no question that this is a lake hazardous to health. The surrounding landscape is bleak and life here scarce.

It’s perhaps no surprise given that, in the 1960s — the Cold War at its height — the Soviets used this as the location for a nuclear test, detonating a 140-kiloton device, placed in a 178-metre deep hole in the dry bed of the Chagan River. The result was predictably devastating and, all this time later, the effects are still being felt. The waters here will be radioactive for years to come and those planning to swim in ‘Atomic Lake’ would be foolish.