The crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, has brought the past tragedies at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island into the spotlight again. To offer a more thorough understanding of Chernobyl, the Bulletin has compiled this reading list from its archives. Dating from 1945 to 1998 and 1998 to present, the Bulletin's archives are a valuable resource for those interested in additional materials.
After the 1986 explosion, about 135,000 people were evacuated from a zone 30 kilometers in radius around the reactor complex. Four years after the accident we know little more than when it happened but the news is growing worse.
When Unit 4 blasted radionuclides all over the Northern Hemisphere, it all but wrecked the global nuclear power industry.
Soviet and Russian authorities have never told the full story of the critical first ten days.
A decade after Unit 4 exploded, there is no consensus on the number of victims, nor are Soviet-style reactors any safer.
Six who were there tell their stories.
Hippel and Cochran delve into the long-term health effects that followed the 1986 accident that occurred at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station.
Chernobyl represented the largest recorded experience of the effects of whole-body radiation and should serve as a warning about more than just nuclear power plants.
The accident began Saturday, April 26. A sudden increase in power was followed by an explosion of hydrogen. This was followed by a fire in the reactor building and a separate fire in the reactor core.
“…humans, in opting for nuclear energy, must pay the price of extraordinary technical vigilance for the energy they derive from nuclear fission if they are to avoid serious trouble.”
The word “Chernobyl” abruptly entered the world’s vocabulary in 1986. In addition to causing death and disruption to citizens living in the plant’s vicinity, the accident sent radioactive clouds drifting over a wide area of the western Soviet Union, Europe, and other parts of the globe.