To read this content please select one of the options below:

Chernobyl: A Liquidator's Story

Cultures of Contamination

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1371-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-460-7

Publication date: 16 May 2007


In the cold war era, perhaps there were no greater heroes of the Soviet Union than the as many as 700,000 firefighters, workers, and military personnel who fought the blazing fires at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor that burned out of control for months until smothered by a makeshift concrete structure, called the “sarcophagus” built to contain radioactive releases. Whether this sarcophagus will last as long as the Egyptian monuments, its name evokes has been a matter of grave continuing concern. And it is doubtful that its symbolism as a lasting evidence of 20th century life will be equally appreciated through the ages. But in April 26, 1986, northern Europe had been placed in dire peril by the catastrophic accident in the number 4 reactor at Chernobyl. Smoke pouring from the fires lofted high in the sky to carry radioactive contaminants eventually across the Northern Hemisphere. Some 100 million curies of radiation were released within 10 days of the initial explosion, comprising the word's worst civilian radiation release (Lawrence Livermore, 1999). And, the reactor threatened to unleash a nuclear explosion that would have dwarfed the effects of what already was the world's worst nuclear accident. The situation demanded extreme sacrifice (see also Zykova, this volume).


Smirnova, L.V. and Edelstein, M.R. (2007), "Chernobyl: A Liquidator's Story", Edelstein, M.R., Tysiachniouk, M. and Smirnova, L.V. (Ed.) Cultures of Contamination (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 361-372.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited