The Potentially Radioactive Mys Aniva Lighthouse

Cape-Aniva-Lighthouse-abandoned (All images by kamatoz via English Russia)

The Cape Aniva or Mys Aniva Lighthouse, formally known as Naka Shiretoko Saki, was built by Japan in 1939. It sits on a rock off the cape of the south-east fork of the island of Sakhalin and it’s thought that the lighthouse is radioactive.


Sakhalin is 950 km long and located between the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. It belonged to Russia in 1875, before the Mys Aniva half of the island fell to Japan in 1905 only to be reclaimed by Russia again after World War II.


The lighthouse was designed by Shinobu Miura and was originally manned, which is evident from the ransacked remains of the crew quarters, kitchen and radio room found within the tower’s seven floors.


However, after 1945, Soviet Russia allegedly replaced the Diesel engines with a radioisotope thermoelectric generator and adapted the mercury-assisted pendulum system so that the lighthouse could run by itself.


Aniva is only one of several lighthouses along La Pérouse Strait, a relatively narrow and treacherous sea passage between Sakhalin and the Japanese island of Hokkaidō. La Pérouse Strait (Proliv Laperuza in Russian and Sōya Kaikyō in Japanese) is named after the French explorer who chartered it in the late eighteenth century.


Aniva Lighthouse probably belongs to the Russian Navy and it is unclear whether or not the site is still radioactive but signage in the building does suggest that it might be. Despite the nuclear risk and dangerous location, urban explorers have visited and photographed this eerie, vessel-saving outpost – but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Keep reading – visit ‘Terrible Tilly’, the Abandoned Lighthouse Where the Dead Now Rest


About the author: Alexandra Smith




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