How bad was Chernobyl? A 2006 United Nations report contends Chernobyl caused 54 deaths. But MIT Professor Kate Brown, for one, is skeptical about that figure. As a historian of science who has written extensively about both the Soviet Union and nuclear technology, she decided to explore the issue at length. The result is her new book, “Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future,” published by W.W. Norton and Co. In it, Brown brings new research to bear on the issue: She is the first historian to examine certain regional archives where the medical response to Chernobyl was most extensively chronicled, and has found reports and documents casting new light on the story. Brown does not pinpoint a death-toll number herself. Instead, through her archival research and on-the-ground reporting, she examines the full range of ways radiation has affected residents throughout the region, while explaining how Soviet politics helped limit our knowledge of the incident. The Ukrainian state pays benefits to about 35,000 people whose spouses apparently died from Chernobyl-caused illnesses. Some scientists have told her they think 150,000 deaths is a more likely baseline for the Ukraine alone. (There are no official or unofficial counts for Belarus and western Russia.)
Beyond Nuclear 21st April 2019 read more »
International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day: an atomic catastrophe the world cannot afford to forget.
David Lowry’s Blog 26th April 2019 read more »
Exactly 33 years after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, the name “Chernobyl” is still synonymous with disaster. And still, people are fascinated by the mystery of what exactly happened that day—and the days following. How could this have happened? Why wasn’t it prevented? Who’s responsible? A new HBO miniseries, Chernobyl, dramatizes the disaster, aiming to answer those questions when the show premieres on May 6. But since this is a fictional TV show, the creators will probably take some artistic license (fair).
Women’s Health 26th April 2019 read more »