6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Book Talk: Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe

On the morning of April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine. Dozens died of radiation poisoning, fallout contaminated half the continent, and thousands fell ill. In his new book, Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, Serhii Plokhii draws on new sources to lay bare the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry, tracing the disaster to the authoritarian character of Communist party rule, the regime's control of scientific information, and its emphasis on economic development over all else. Today, the risk of another Chernobyl, claims Plokhii, looms in the mismanagement of nuclear power in the developing world.

Speakers

  • Serhii Plokhii

    Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History, Harvard University