Visit to Chernobyl exclusion zone

Posted on 1 December 2016

New insights from Professor David Moon on the legacy of the disaster

Image credit: Voicu Sucala

In the early hours of April 26, 1986, the staff of the 4th Reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine, then a republic of the Soviet Union, conducted tests that went wrong. Trying to correct the problem manually, they switched off the automatic system designed to shut down the reactor.

The result was disaster. A power surge led to a series of explosions that blew off the roof (weighing 12,000 tons), caused a fire inside the reactor that burned for ten days, and spewed radioactive vapour and particles up into the atmosphere and onto the surrounding land. Over the following days and weeks, a radioactive cloud spread over much of Europe.

In the summer of 2016, as part of a Leverhulme International Network project on the environmental history of Russia and the Soviet Union, an international and multidisciplinary group of scholars, led by David Moon, visited the exclusion zone around the remains of the nuclear power station to explore the legacy of the disaster.

Professor Moon has written two new articles on this legacy, A Postcard from Chernobyl and Interview with Returnee to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (with Anna Olenenko).

Visit the project website for more information.