One Year After Chernobyl

Sojourners first published this article in 1987, one year after a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station exploded. Acccording to estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 9,000 people will die from cancer and leukemia related to Chernobyl. —The Editors, April 2016

On April 28, 1986, Chernobyl became a household word. On that day the world learned some frightening new lessons about nuclear power. Civilian nuclear power is not as safe as governments and nuclear industry representatives have promised. More important, in the event of an accident, there is nothing governments, industry experts, or anyone else can do to stop the cloud of deadly radiation that contaminates the air, water, and vegetation in its path.

Many studies about the Chernobyl accident have been done in the past year, and many, often conflicting, reports have been issued about its health effects. But there are still many more questions about the effects of low-level radiation than there are answers.

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