In the early hours of 26 April 1986, a problem during a scheduled maintenance test set off an uncontrolled nuclear reaction at the Chernobyl power plant in Soviet Ukraine. It rolled on to become the most catastrophic nuclear accident in history: the reactor core of unit 4 was destroyed and surrounding territory massively contaminated. Now, two books on the disaster add fresh perspectives to a vast literature. In Manual for Survival, historian Kate Brown introduces new archival material to document the public-health crisis — creating a handbook for a “postnuclear reality”. Meanwhile, Midnight in Chernobyl by journalist Adam Higginbotham presents rich first-hand accounts that deepen our understanding of the disaster and its aftermath.
Nature 26th Feb 2019 read more »