Chernobyl: An Update

During the early hours of April 26, 1986 in a rural area north of Kiev, Ukraine, who would have guessed that the careless actions of a few people would influence the thoughts of people everywhere and change the policies of nations. It is difficult to look at what happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station-4 and find anything positive. However, for the last ten years since the accident, the circumstances and consequences surrounding this event have been used frequently to promote zealot anti-technology causes. The goal of these WWW pages is to present the facts and answer questions about the Chernobyl-4 accident.

The information presented here is not intended to bias opinion about current nuclear power policy or technology in general. However, the authors of this treatise are unequivocally pro-nuclear power and pro-technology. We are students from the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. We believe the facts speak for themselves. If you would like to comment on the presentation contained in these WWW pages or if you would just like to speak your mind, feel free to contact us at

"Chernobyl: An Update" has been organized as follows:

  • Event Timeline This link presents both a cursory and detailed view of the events immediately before and following the Chernobyl accident. Much of this information came from a Ph.D. dissertation written by Alexander Sich at MIT.

  • Global Radiation Patterns Following the accident, the Soviet Union remained hush about what had happened; however, the secret was out in the form of radioactive effluents which were eventual carried all around the world. First indication of trouble was detected by Finnish atmospheric scientist working outside Helsinki.

  • WHO Report on Health Effects from Chernobyl The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report accounting its assessment of the health effects following the Chernobyl accident. Here is a synopsis.

  • RBMK vs. LWR Major design flaws of the RBMK nuclear power plant heighten the magnitude the disaster. Within the close society of the Soviet Union, products of technology did not face the same scrutiny as their counterpart in the United States and Europe; thus, allowing risky ventures to reach fruition. The Light Water Reactors (LWR) built for commercial power in much of the world outside the Soviet Union contain passive and active feature that would have prevent the Chernobyl accident.

  • US Commercial Power Reactor Safety Research The Chernobyl disaster renewed the debate over the safety of nuclear power plants far beyond the Soviet Union. Following the accident (as well as the accident at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA), nations with a great investment in nuclear power increased efforts supporting safety research.

  • Chernobyl in Perspective What happened at Chernobyl will no doubt be remember as one of the worlds worst man-made disasters; however, does this mean humankind should scrap every technology that "burns" us? Historically, technology has served to solve many of the quality of life problems we all experience daily. Sometimes this same technology has created more problems. The solution we propose is to allow technology to solve its own problems with more technology. Here is an article by Anatolij Nosovksy, Deputy Director of the Chernobyl NPP.

  • Chernobyl: Lies and Journalist is a commentary written by Australian Gerry Jackson for his E-Zines Media Alert and Viewpoint. His expose' presents some interesting facts the media neglected to tell the public and how they have twisted other facts to sell more newspapers.

  • References References for the facts presented in "Chernobyl: An Update" have been compile for your quick reference. Included are links to other sites on the Web with Chernobyl related information.

    Find out more about the Nuclear Engineering at Penn State and American Nuclear Society. Here are some links.
  • Department of Nuclear Engineering
  • The ANSWER: the American Nuclear Society Worldwide Electronic Resource

    Meet the authors