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Chernobyl Nuclear Accident

  • By: Barry D. Soloman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

A serious accident occurred on April 26, 1986, at 1:23 a.m. at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The power plant was located near the border of Ukraine and Belarus. A series of explosions sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout of iodine and cesium into the atmosphere. Cesium-137 deposition spread throughout Europe, and the radioactive plume reached the U.S. West Coast on May 6, 1986. Official word of the accident first reached the Western world when Sweden announced on April 28 that workers at its Forsmark nuclear plant had radioactive particles on their clothing and the source was traced back to Chernobyl. Initially, former Soviet ruler Mikhail Gorbachev downplayed the incident's severity, which is ...

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