Abstract This paper addresses the Soviet response to the nuclear disaster at the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine, the science behind the disaster, and the long-term health impacts on the people of the region. Also to be examined is how Soviet governance was an independent variable in the mismanagement of the disaster and finally, the endemic challenges that the Russian Federation faces in regards to disasters and disaster management.
The disaster at the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant is the only accident that has been categorized by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a Level 7, “Major Incident” on its International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). The IAEA describes the scale as the following,
Events are classified on the scale at seven levels: Levels 4–7 are termed ‘accidents’ and Levels 1–3 ‘incidents’. Events without safety significance are classified as ‘Below Scale/Level 0’. Events that have no safety relevance with respect to radiation or nuclear safety are not classified on the scale…The 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is rated at Level 7 on INES…the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is rated at Level 5 on INES, and an event resulting in a single death from radiation is rated at Level 4[[#_ftn1|[1]]]
The Chernobyl accident occurred on April 26, 1986 at Unit 4 at the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine. The effects were global but the most direct effects were to the Ukraine and to neighboring Soviet republics. The accident began with two explosions at Unit 4 reactor which quickly led to fires that burned for up to ten days. The fires are attributed to the use of faulty building materials.
The Chernobyl reactors employed a High Power Channel Reactor or RBMK (Reactor Bolshoy Moshchnosty Kanalny). This reactor model was never employed for use outside of the former Soviet Union or Russia and is still in use in several nuclear power plants within Russia and Lithuania. RBMK reactors are online at the Russian nuclear power plants at Kursk, Leningrad and Smolensk. In Lithuania, the Ignalina power plant is currently in operation.
The V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant at Chernobyl is completely offline. The remaining reactors were either shut down due to accidents or were shut down due to political considerations. Unit 4 reactor was completely destroyed by the explosion and fires in 1986. Five years later, a fire at the turbine building housing Unit 2 was serious enough to force its shutdown. Unit 1 was subsequently shuttered in November of 1996 and Unit 3 was shuttered due to political considerations.
Safety concerns are the main reason why the RBMK reactor model is not being used in the United States and Western Europe and accounts for its limited use in Russia and the former Soviet satellite states.
A primary safety concern with the RBMK reactor models is that it does not have a concrete or steel containment structure, which mitigates against the chances of radioactive material escaping a nuclear power plant if there is an emergency. A containment structure limited the amount of radioactive material that escaped from the Three Mile Island plant disaster in 1979.
The Department of Energy[[#_ftn2|[2]]] reports that despite the lack of a containment structure, the existence of one could have limited the release of radioactive material into the atmosphere. Instead, the plant is unusable and countless international donors have had to contribute to its cleanup. “The most significant difference between the RBMK design and most of the world's nuclear power plants is the RBMK's lack of a massive steel and/or concrete containment structure as the final barrier against large releases of radiation in an accident. The effectiveness of American-style reactor containments was shown in the 1979 Three Mile Island Unit 2 accident, when virtually all radiation was retained inside the containment building, despite considerable melting of the fuel.”
Further, the principle deficiencies of the RBMK reactors, according to the International Nuclear Safety Center (INSC)[[#_ftn3|[3]]] are; 1) lack of a containment structure, typically made of concrete and/or steel; 2) an ineffective and limited accident mitigation system; 3) a structural deficiency in the reactor design allows for a complete plant failure because the reactor control systems are unforgiving; 4) a problem referred to as positive void coefficient. This occurs when coolant water is lost and the reactor rods speed up production and they become overheated. RBMK reactors typically lower the amount of water to increase the amount of energy produced during a cycle; 5) fire protection systems are inadequate; 6) steam suppression capabilities are limited in the graphite stacks; 7) pertaining to safety and electrical systems, there is a lack of redundancy and crucial separation of the two systems; (and) 8) piping arrangements are complicated.
The INSC plays an important global role in insuring plant safety at dozens of nuclear power plants around the globe. INSCs mission statement[[#_ftn4|[4]]] is, “dedicated to the goals of developing enhanced nuclear safety technology and promoting the open exchange of nuclear safety information among nations…INSC activities are currently focused on Soviet-designed nuclear power plants in Russia and Eastern Europe.” INSC is an agency contained within the United States Department of Energy.
An important step taken by the United States to further mitigate against the chances of nuclear material proliferating around the globe from the former Soviet Union is the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, commonly referred to as Nunn–Lugar, which was sponsored by Senator Richard Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn in 1992.
According to a GAO report released in 2000[[#_ftn5|[5]]], the United States along with the international community have spent roughly $1.9 billion USD to make Soviet designed nuclear reactors operate safely. Of that amount, roughly $545 million USD was contributed by the United States. By the end of 2005 it was calculated that the United States spent $709 million USD on a number of constructive and fruitful steps, including, “contributions for improving operational safety by providing better training, procedures, and equipment and strengthening regulatory authorities…assistance that includes safety evaluations and reactor upgrades, training, and fire safety equipment…(and) strengthening nuclear regulatory authorities, improving the operation of the nuclear reactors, and establishing safety improvement programs.”
The RBMK reactors have gone through a series of upgrades as a result of the reactor accident that followed the events in 1986 and any significant deficiencies have been addressed. The International Atomic Energy Agency suggests[[#_ftn6|[6]]], “There is broad agreement that the original design of the RBMK core and shutdown system had severe deficiencies. This holds for all generations of RBMK plants. Between 1987 and 1991, a first stage of safety upgrading was performed for all RBMK units addressing the most serious problems in this area…The analysis performed so far shows that, from a technical point of view, the known safety deficiencies of second and third generation RBMKs could be overcome in a way broadly consistent with the defense-in-depth concept. Many of the steps to be taken have been already defined and internationally agreed.”
In that very same report, the IAEA suggests that the accident at Unit 4 can be traced to a series of causes; “severe deficiencies in the reactor's physical…high positive void effect during operational conditions with high burn-up; positive scram effect under conditions of the reactor before the accident; failure to incorporate the operating reactivity margin (ORM) into reactor protection; lack of safety culture in the responsible organizations leading to the inability to remedy important weaknesses…violation of operating procedures (and)…insufficient protection against accidents beyond the design basis.”
The design of the RBMK reactors was unique in nature. Precisely, the nuclear fuel used at the plant was/is low-enriched uranium oxide, which is held in vertical pressure tubes, or otherwise known as fuel rods, which are 7 meters in length. The water in the reactor boils at 290 C°. These fuel rods, 1,661 in total, are laid out in a metal grid pattern each separated by metal spacers that keep each rod at an appropriate distance from each other.
The nuclear chain reaction is a continuing process so therefore it is necessary to control the rate of acceleration. To do this, graphite, which acts as the moderator, must be inserted into the water to control the rate of acceleration by absorbing neutrons and slowing down the fission rate. Graphite moderators, or control rods, have the effect of slowing down the rate of neutrons being released. There are a total of 211 control rods, which are inserted into the reactor core. As the control rods are raised and lowered the power increases or decreases. When the power increases the water in the reactor turns into steam, which in turn powers the turbines, which creates electricity.
During the cycle when the heat is produced, U-235 (an isotope of uranium), which is contained within the low-enriched uranium oxide, is decreased due to nuclear fission. Energy is further produced when U-238 atoms become fissile Pu-239 (an isotope of plutonium). This fissile Pu-239 also goes through the fission process and energy is produced as a result. Although some fissile Pu-239 fuels the reactor, most of the released energy is from U-235. The use of graphite moderators allows for neutron absorption. The use of graphite moderators slows down these neutrons. If the neutrons are not absorbed then the rate of neutron acceleration will get out of hand and the steam could build up to critical mass. This occurred at Chernobyl.
The scientists at Chernobyl removed the control rods from the reactor core and the fission rate accelerated to a rate that the scientists at Chernobyl could not control. The scientists in the control room at Chernobyl were conducting an experiment to test the results of the reactor if power was suddenly lost, for example, from a military strike on the plant. When the scientists reduced the electricity flow to the unit’s cooling system and eventually switched it off, the water in the reactor began to boil at an unacceptable level. To control for this the scientists reinserted the graphite control rods and this caused a sudden burst of steam. When the steam, under normal conditions, bubbles in the reactor core this is known as the ‘positive void coefficient’.
The causal mechanisms of the blast, which by some estimates caused a loss of 30 percent[[#_ftn7|[7]]] of the uranium dioxide fuel and other bi-products, can be attributed to work being performed by the plant scientists on the morning of April 26. As the test proceeded, safety mechanisms were disengaged and the dilatory effect of the coolant water turning to steam and evaporating could not be rectified quickly enough, further speeding up the process of nuclear fission which caused a steam explosion at 1:26 am.
As the bubbles formed in the cooling water two things occurred. First, the neutron absorption and moderation properties of the water changed. Second, the ability of the water relating to heat capacity, decreased. When this occurs, the temperature in the reactor core rises and the water starts to boil.
Unlike western nuclear power plants, which use water as a moderator, graphite is used in its place. As the system is designed, cooling water is lost/lowered and a power outlay increases. Essentially, aside from a lack of a containment structure, which exists at Western power plants, the most significant distinction that a RBMK reactor has is the use of graphite as a moderator.
There are two significant advantages to the RBMK reactor designs. The first, graphite moderated reactors allow for the use of lower grade nuclear fuel. Typically, in water moderated reactors, higher quality or higher grade nuclear fuel is the only variety that can and should be used. The second, refueling which is a constant dilemma in the production of nuclear energy, is more easily accomplished because it can be done while a reactor is in operation.
The steps leading up to the fire at Unit-4 and the subsequent management of the disaster by the Soviet Union, its leadership and the role that recovery and mitigation played is as important as the disaster itself in understanding what steps should be taken in the future should such an event occur again.
Understanding the context of a disaster is only possible in a post hoc fashion. Time allows for one to assess and to analyze what went wrong and what can be rectified in the future to insure that the very same mistakes do not occur again. The context of the Chernobyl disaster is important and is comparable to comprehending the basic facts of the disaster. In my analysis of the Chernobyl disaster I have chosen not to just look at the disaster itself but to examine the structure of the Soviet Union and its relevance to the response of the disaster.
Historians, political and economic scientists and sociologists have attached a great deal of importance to the amount of secrecy surrounding Soviet acknowledgment of the Chernobyl disaster. It is generally agreed that the Soviet Union was more or less focused on industrial production with little or no concern given to environmental or safety regulations regarding its nuclear plants. The Soviet Union was a monolithic bureaucratic entity that disseminated information post hoc concerning matters of the state when events like the Chernobyl disaster occurred. Mikhail Gorbachev, the former General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in statements concerning this period sheds light on the inherent problems concerning any insular state, “Chernobyl shed light on many of the sicknesses of our system as a whole. Everything that had built up over the years converged in this drama: the concealing or hushing up of accidents and other bad news; irresponsibility and carelessness, slipshod work, wholesale drunkenness. This was one more convincing argument in favor of radical reforms”[[#_ftn8|[8]]].
Reforms did come but not in any way that could have been foreseen. Half a decade later the Soviet Union had dissolved. The reforms that Mr. Gorbachev refers to were his effort to reform the system from within through perestroika (Перестройка), which was his eventual undoing. Multiple theories have been promulgated as to the causes of the collapse of the Soviet system. Many experts would blame the industrial nature of the Soviet system. The Soviet Union was more or less a structure that was geared towards military production with only passing consideration given to meeting the needs of Soviet and Russian citizens.
Communism, as delineated by Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, gave significant importance to insuring that the basic needs of the citizenry were met. Communism in the 1970s and ‘80 meant that recovery from a nuclear disaster required a compassionate hand; the leadership in the Kremlin was unprepared. In other words, Soviet leadership from Lenin on was more concerned with competing with the West than making sure that they had any plans to deal with a natural or manmade disaster.
The most important variable in the collapse of the Soviet system was that communism, as an economic theory, was unable or unwilling to adapt to the changing nature of the global economic system.
In any democracy, disaster management is guided, to an extent, by political considerations. Former United States President George Bush suffered politically from a perceived lack of leadership following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. This basic fact about politics also led to President George H.W. Bush’s loss in his bid for reelection to Bill Clinton in the early 1990s following Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew. Concerning the elder President Bush, “George H. W. Bush, serving only one-term in office, suffered through a series of megadisasters both at the beginning and at the end of his administration…The federal-state debacle in managing the response in Florida to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 damaged President George H. W. Bush’s image, and, although he narrowly won the state’s electoral votes in 1988, it may have contributed to his defeat in the November 1992 presidential election”[[#_ftn9|[9]]].
In a democracy, a government’s response to a disaster is hindered by political, historical and social considerations. To uproot whole towns and villages, which the Soviet leadership chose to do in and around the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, would be tantamount to committing political suicide in a democracy. The Soviet leadership decided to forcibly evacuate hundreds of thousands of families and if it had not done so many more would have perished due to prolonged exposure to radiation.
If either of the Bush administrations had chosen to do so before Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew or Katrina struck, both administrations, would have been accused of being uncaring, in some cases economic and social racists, akin to the Soviet leadership during the Chernobyl disaster. Politics and American historical responses to disaster management dictated that those who could not escape the path of the hurricanes’ would be assisted by FEMA and other agencies once the federal government could step in to help after the hurricane conditions subsided. Certainly, there are legal means to forcibly evacuate whole swaths of people in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, but to a point, the federal government is hesitant to enact any of its statutory authority for political reasons.
The Soviet system dictated that those in charge did not have to weigh political considerations and could act however they saw fit. Following steps taken by the Kremlin in the days following the disaster, a commission was established to commence a series of steps that should be taken by the government. The commission was headed by Boris Yevdokimovich Shcherbina of the Council of Ministers and by other Russian and Ukrainian scientists. To further establish an understanding of the disaster, a Politburo Operations Group was established headed by Chairman Nikolai Ivanovich Ryzhkov of the USSR Council of Ministers, Yegor Kuzmich Ligachev a member of the Politburo and Vladimir Vasilievich Shcherbitsky of the Ukrainian Communist Party. Under the commission’s recommendations and those made by the Politburo Operations Group it was decided that the area had to be evacuated.
According to Mr. Gorbachev, “The commission decided that people in the city of Pripyat should be resettled. As soon as the initial survey of radioactive contamination had been completed and the scientists had concluded that it was impossible to continue living there, evacuation began, first from a ten-kilometre [sic] zone and then from a thirty-kilometre [sic] zone. This was extremely difficult: many people did not want to leave and had to be evicted by force. In the first few days of May approximately 135,000 people were resettled and the entire region was placed under strict control” (Gorbachev, 1995; 190).
Following the forced evacuation of the area, Pripyat[[#_ftn10|[10]]] became a ghost town that has been immortalized in the video game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare[[#_ftn11|[11]]]. I make mention of this not for the cultural value of video games but because of a geopolitical event such as the wholesale abandonment and evacuation of a town can be the setting for a video game. These gamers ostensibly have no idea of the historical background of this town in which they are killing their opponents.
An examination of the “four phases of emergency management”[[#_ftn12|[12]]], mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery (MPRR) offers a useful way to fully understand how the Politburo and the Soviet leadership dealt with the disaster at Chernobyl. The counterfactuals are that the Soviet Union was a very centralized entity with decisions made directly by the Politburo and the Kremlin with a limited amount of flexibility allowed for the satellite states.
An agency like FEMA in the United States didn’t exist in any form in the Soviet Union and it is highly doubtful if such an agency would have been prepared to deal with such a disaster. For disaster management and preparedness to be successful it must operate in society where information can be shared openly and not disseminated from the top. However, there are examples where governments that do perform strict message management are successful in limiting the amount of death during a natural or a manmade disaster.
In the Western Hemisphere, Cuba is the most obvious example. According to the Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba or MEDICC, there are a number of reasons why Cuba is successful when faced with a large number of hurricanes in any one year. Primarily, they credit “social cohesion and solidarity (self-help and citizen-based social protection at the neighborhood level); trust between authorities and civil society…good coordination, information-sharing, and cooperation among institutions involved in risk reduction (and)…an effective risk communication system and institutionalized historical memory of disasters, laws, regulations, and directives to support all of the above”[[#_ftn13|[13]]].
Mitigation as defined is, “deciding what to do where a risk to the health, safety, and welfare of society has been determined to exist and then implementing a risk reduction program”[[#_ftn14|[14]]]. As I have demonstrated the design of the plant illustrates that mitigation was not a factor in its design. There was no containment structure built into the design phase and the plant workers had been conducting tests where they had eliminated certain safety mechanisms thereby making the plant less safe and thereby causing the accident. As for the efforts to mitigate the chances of many more people becoming sick and ill from radiation poisoning, the government was eventually successful, all be it a little late, of evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from Chernobyl and the town of Pripyat. The IAEA points out, “the mitigation measures taken by the authorities, including evacuation of people from the most contaminated areas, substantially reduced radiation exposures and the radiation-related health impacts of the accident”[[#_ftn15|[15]]].
Richard Sylves continues, “mitigation may also be any cost-effective measure that will reduce the potential for damage to a facility from a disaster event. This includes identifying, measuring, and addressing hazard vulnerability…it also includes activities undertaken after a disaster to lessen the likelihood of future disasters from both physical and social phenomena that are potentially dangerous”[[#_ftn16|[16]]]. Steps have been taken to insure the safety of the remaining RBMK reactors and through funding by international donors a permanent containment structure is being built over Unit 4 reactor. I will address this structure further on. For now I stress that mitigation was furthest from the minds of Soviet nuclear physicists or perhaps they would have consulted with their international counterparts and designed safety features into all RBMK reactors.
Preparedness defined by Richard Sylves is, “developing a response plan and training first responders to save lives and reduce disaster damage, identifying critical resources, and developing necessary agreements among responding agencies, both within the jurisdiction and with other jurisdictions”[[#_ftn17|[17]]]. This phase is particularly interesting because it sheds considerable light on how the disaster was viewed and how information was shared with Ukrainian first responders. As the Federation of American Scientists points out, being unprepared had deadly consequences[[#_ftn18|[18]]], “Chernobyl’s local fire department was called to the scene of the accident only moments after the explosion. Dressed in standard-issue firefighting gear, and pumping water on the exposed burning reactor core that had blown graphite rods out like toothpicks, the firemen received a lethal dose of more than 1000 roentgens (R) within the first hour of their arrival at reactor 4.
Preparedness is further defined as a, “state of readiness to respond to a disaster, crises, or any other type of emergency situation. It includes those activities, programs, and systems that exist before an emergency that are used to support and enhance response to an emergency or disaster”[[#_ftn19|[19]]].
There was no way that the first responders, firefighters and support personal, were ever going to be prepared to deal with the disaster. The Soviet belief system, a holdover from the Stalin years was that Soviet ingenuity had far surpassed Western technologies and eliminated fears in the leadership that a disaster could ever happen. To plan for something as severe as a core meltdown or other calamities would be acknowledging a failure of Soviet technological ability. When the country’s scientists raised questions in the early years of Soviet nuclear power development, they were inevitably shipped off to a prison or silenced through other means, or they simply defected.
A comparison of American efforts to insure the safety of its nuclear power plants is useful. As a direct consequence of the Cold War and efforts to insure plant safety at American nuclear power plants, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was established in 1974. Prior to the NRC, nuclear regulation fell under the purview of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which was established by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. Due to the passage of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 the AEC’s enforcement power[[#_ftn20|[20]]] grew and “assigned the AEC the functions of both encouraging the use of nuclear power and regulating its safety. The AEC’s regulatory programs sought to ensure public health and safety from the hazards of nuclear power without imposing excessive requirements that would inhibit the growth of the industry.
The goal of NRC[[#_ftn21|[21]]] is to, “regulate the Nation's civilian use of byproduct, source, and special nuclear materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, to promote the common defense and security, and to protect the environment.” NRC was created by the passage of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. A solid understanding of emergency preparedness and response enhances the goal of safety for the nation’s nuclear power plants. Further[[#_ftn22|[22]]], “Our [NRC’s] emergency preparedness programs enable emergency personnel to rapidly identify, evaluate, and react to a wide spectrum of emergencies, including those arising from terrorism or natural events such as hurricanes…Under the National Response Framework, the NRC will coordinate with other Federal, State, and local emergency organizations in response to various types of domestic events.”
Conversely, the Soviet Union did have agencies that dealt with nuclear plant safety such as the USSR Academy of Sciences but these were more or less political bodies. Members were appointed due to cronyism and party loyalty rather than any goal of remaining independent. Certainly, there were some accredited scientists who did rail against the corrupt Soviet bureaucracy and the correlation between plant workers and party loyalty.
Response, defined by Richard Sylves is “providing emergency aid and assistance, reducing the probability of secondary damage, and minimizing problems for recovery operations”[[#_ftn23|[23]]]. In this regard the efforts on the part of the government failed again[[#_ftn24|[24]]]. “As the residents of the nuclear plant workers’ city, Prip’yat [sic], stood on their apartment balconies through the night watching in awe and confusion as Unit 4 burned and lit up the entire sky less than 2 kilometers away.” The government wasn’t timely in their response to the citizens of Pripyat. The residents of the area were not warned in a timeframe that would have allowed thousands of them to escape the area and avoid any further exposure to the radiation emanating from Unit 4 reactor.
The response of emergency personal to the scene was timely but lacked proper precautions which led to their lives being ultimately sacrificed, either in the form of long-term health conditions or even death. If the government had issued proper warnings more could have been done. As the Soviet response became more concerted and conscience of the fact that by now the world was watching the disaster unfold, they became more brutal in their efforts to contain the disaster[[#_ftn25|[25]]]. “Their initial attempts to use remote-controlled robots to push the hot graphite rods and other highly radioactive debris back into the core failed as the machinery became entangled in the mess and the radioactivity destroyed the robots’ delicate electronic control systems. When the mechanical robots failed, the Soviet collective philosophy kicked in: military conscripts were sent in to act as “bio-robots,” instructed to dash into the area surrounding the core, pick up a rod or other piece of debris, throw it into the core, then run out. Around 200,000 people – called ‘liquidators’ -- were involved in the immediate clean up effort in 1986 and 1987.”
I refer to the fact that the world was watching by suggesting that, due to the nature of the Cold War, significant efforts had been made by the United States to monitor any and all activities going on in the Soviet Union. When radioactive particles were detected throughout Europe and elsewhere the international community became aware of the disaster and monitored the progress at the site.
Recovery is “providing the immediate support during the early postdisaster period necessary to return vital life-support systems to minimum operational levels and continuing to provide support until the community returns to normal”[[#_ftn26|[26]]].
The recovery phase differs significantly from the paradigm of American or Western recovery efforts. The area in and around Chernobyl is unsuitable for humans and will remain so for a great number of years. The IAEA points out, “Since 1986, radiation levels in the affected environments have declined several hundred fold because of natural processes and countermeasures. Therefore, the majority of the ‘contaminated’ territories are now safe for settlement and economic activity. However, in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and in certain limited areas some restrictions on land-use will need to be retained for decades to come”[[#_ftn27|[27]]]. In other words, the town of Chernobyl where the plant is located will be an area that is off limits for the foreseeable future but possibly the town of Pripyat might be habitable in the future.
Recovery for the town of Pripyat and surrounding communities still needs to be undertaken with the help of the international community. The ground water would need to be tested, buildings would need to be decontaminated or torn down and people would need to be relocated back to Pripyat.
Briefly, the immediate dangers posed by any radiation emanating from the plant are easy to detect and radiation doses will vary from person to person. Essentially, concerning the broad effects of radiation poisoning, “the average radiation dose received annually by most people is only about 120 mrem [millirem]. About 70% of this radiation comes from natural sources (rocks and cosmic rays); the remaining 30% comes from medical procedures such as X rays. The amount due to emissions from nuclear power plants and to fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the 1950s is barely detectable”[[#_ftn28|[28]]].
The biological effects[[#_ftn29|[29]]] of exposure to short-term effects of radiation according to levels of dose exposure are, in rem(s); 0-25, the effects are negligible; 25-100, a body’s white blood cell count will temporarily decrease; 100-200, a body’s white blood cell count will decrease on a more long-term basis and vomiting and nausea set in; 200-300, diarrhea, vomiting, listlessness and a loss of appetite; 300-600, diarrhea, vomiting, hemorrhaging and death might set in, and; 600+, death[[#_ftn30|[30]]]. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory[[#_ftn31|[31]]] or the Berkeley Lab defines a rem as “a measure of dose deposited in body tissue, averaged over the body, defines Rem(s). One rem is approximately the dose from any radiation corresponding to exposure to one röntgen of g radiation...One rem is equivalent to 0.01 sievert.”
Specifically, “Radioactive emissions are invisible…High-energy radiation of all kinds is usually grouped under the name ionizing radiation because interaction of the radiation with a molecule knocks an electron from the molecule, thereby ionizing it…Ionizing radiation includes not only a particles, b particles, and g rays, but also c rays and cosmic rays. c rays, like g rays, are high-energy photons (l = 10-8 to 10-11 m) rather than particles, whereas cosmic rays are energetic particles coming from interstellar space. They consist primarily of photons, along with some a and b particles”[[#_ftn32|[32]]].
Due to the danger posed by radiation, the Chernobyl site will need to be monitored by trained professional for the foreseeable future. Ukrainians who were displaced by the disaster in Pripyat have no way of knowing if the site has been decontaminated. Local Ukrainians and bureaucrats monitor the site to insure that only authorized personal have access to the site and to insure the safety of the material at Chernobyl.
The greatest irony concerning the Chernobyl disaster is that the area is now a thriving wildlife area. Partly due to a lack of human inhabitants but also because any radiation poisoning that would usually kill a human, even after twenty years, takes a significant amount of time to kill an animal. By the time the effects of radiation poisoning set in, an animal will usually perish of natural causes given its short life span. The National Geographic[[#_ftn33|[33]]] points out that, “The effects of the Chernobyl catastrophe are still being felt today—whole towns lie abandoned, and cancer rates in people living close to the affected areas are abnormally high. But it turns out that the radioactive cloud may have a silver lining. Recent studies suggest that the 19-mile (30-kilometer) ‘exclusion zone’ set up around the reactor has turned into a wildlife haven. Roe deer bounce though the deserted houses while bats roost in the rafters.”
The recovery efforts at Chernobyl entail insuring that the site no longer poses any health risks to nearby civilian populations in greater Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. The immediate efforts at containment entailed constructing[[#_ftn34|[34]]] “a giant, crude but solid, block-like concrete sarcophagus – which they simply call the ‘blok’ -- over the entire destroyed reactor unit, the liquidators [first responders] encountered between 10 and 50 R (rams [sic]) per hour per foray into the reactor and zone areas, orchestrated in stages over long periods.” The difficulty in the future recovery efforts and mitigation efforts is the problem of containing future radiation emanating from the core of Chernobyl.
The half-life of Plutonium 239 is around 24,000 years so any containment structure needs to take that into consideration. The Federation of American Scientists points out that the current sarcophagus and future ones will need to be replaced for the next 100,000 years. The current dilemma is made worse by the fact that urgency is needed[[#_ftn35|[35]]] due to environmental considerations. “Reactor 4’s core and its surrounding sarcophagus are an accident waiting to happen: remaining inside are roughly 200 tons of hardened highly radioactive lava and fuel that are gradually turning into dust. Somewhere between 75 to 97 percent of the reactor’s nuclear fuel remains inside the destroyed facility. If the sarcophagus were to collapse due to decay or geologic disturbance, the resulting radioactive dust storm would cause an international catastrophe on par with or worse than the 1986 accident.”
Furthermore, the IAEA suggests, “However, the inventory of the Shelter, the 'Sarcophagus' built hastily around the wrecked Unit 4 in 1986, continues to pose a threat to both humanity and the environment. Just a few per cent of the nuclear inventory of the Chernobyl Unit 4 contaminated two-thirds of the territory of Europe in 1986. More than two hundred tons of uranium and close to a ton of radio-nuclides, of which 80 per cent is plutonium, remain within the deteriorating Shelter[[#_ftn36|[36]]].
The current sarcophagus is being damaged by a series of factors. Rainwater and other elements are damaging the structure making mitigation efforts difficult. The current sarcophagus has a tendency to crack due to the water buildup in the structure and the severe Ukrainian winters, which along with shoddy construction points to a structure that was hastily built and that has structural deficiencies. In some places the structure isn’t level with the ground and certain segments of it were built mounted directly on parts of the reactor core.
Long-term efforts by the international community have been made for the funding of the construction of a replacement of the current structure. In 1997, the Chernobyl Shelter Fund (CSF) was established. The CSF is to be managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Essentially, the IAEA estimates that, “At the end of the eight to nine year project, estimated to cost US$ 768 million, the Shelter will be transformed into a stable and environmentally safe system for many decades[[#_ftn37|[37]]]. This is a cooperative effort with the United States, the European Union and Ukraine. Essentially, “is to protect the personnel, population and environment from the threat of the huge radioactive inventory of the Chernobyl Unit 4 Shelter[[#_ftn38|[38]]].
Although not complete, a new structure is on track to be completed in a number of years. The current progress points to completion of the new structure by 2011 and will, according to the World Nuclear Association, include[[#_ftn39|[39]]] a “18,000 tonne [sic] metal arch 105 metres [sic] high, 200 metres long and spanning 257 metres, to cover both unit 4 and the hastily-built 1986 structure.”
Economically, the area in and around Chernobyl is a dead zone. What was once an economically viable area is now a series of abandoned ghost towns void of the plant workers and their families that had benefited from employment at Chernobyl and had constituted a middle-class. Economics 101 would dictate that for an area to be economically feasible it must support all economic sectors including agriculture, industry and services. With the land left unusable due to radiation and the plant closed, even if the town of Pripyat is rehabilitated the area will not return to its former viability.
It was estimated that in 2000 the Ukraine was spending roughly 5% of its GDP on “mitigation of the social, health and environmental consequences of the accident”[[#_ftn40|[40]]]. Of the international donors pledging dollars for the construction of a more permanent structure, the Ukraine had pledged $50,000,000 USD in 1999 followed by the United States with $78,000,000 USD and the European Commission with $100,000,000 USD. The long-term economic viability of the Ukraine and the resolution of the ongoing dilemma of what to do with Chernobyl are directly intertwined.
The health impact on the people in the region resulting from the disaster continues to be an issue. Initially, the disaster led to the direct death of a number of people. The Chernobyl disaster can be attributed directly to a total of fifty-six deaths[[#_ftn41|[41]]]. In the four months following the disaster, twenty-eight people had died, followed by nineteen more deaths and an additional nine whose deaths were attributed to thyroid cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, the total number of cases of thyroid cancer in Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Federation for children and young adults is as follows. Individuals’ ages 0-14 in Belarus it is 1,711, in the Russian Federation it is 349 and in the Ukraine it is 1,762. For people ages 15-17, in Belarus it is 299, Russian Federation it is 134 and in the Ukraine 582 cases have been reported.
Further, the World Health Organization estimates that, “while national and local authorities did not immediately disclose the scale of the accident, the mitigation measures, such as distribution of potassium iodine pills, food restriction, and mass evacuation from areas where the radioactive contamination was greatest, undoubtedly reduces the health impact of the radiation exposure and saved many lives. The accident caused severe social and economic disruption and had significant environmental and health impact. This was aggravated by the political and economical changes in the three affected states related to the break-down of the Soviet Union”[[#_ftn42|[42]]].
According to Elizabeth Cardis of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in Lyon, France, despite an increase in cases of thyroid cancer among the survivors in the three affected countries, those who will still see the most acute forms of cancer will be the first responders to the accident. Even then, the amount of civilians living in the affected area who have been diagnosed is far lower than was feared.
According to a study, Exposures and Effects of the Chernobyl Accident[[#_ftn43|[43]]] conducted by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, “Among the residents of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, there had been up to the year 2002 about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident, and more cases can be expected during the next decades…Apart from this increase, there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident. There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality rates or in rates of non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure.”
The study concludes that aside from the risks that children, first responders and emergency workers face concerning future health complications, the general populations of the Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation have more or less nothing to fear from further radiation poisoning from the Chernobyl site. This is due to a number of factors. General background radiation is about the same as the radiation emanating from Chernobyl and, as the radionuclides decay over time, this further hinders the chances that the people of the Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation will suffer from radiation emanating from Chernobyl. To be certain, the people who have returned to live at Pripyat face a greater chance of succumbing to radiation poisoning and the report certainly does not diminish the adverse health problems that the people of the area face even though they were evacuated.
Besides analyzing American and Soviet responses to disasters and approaches to disaster management, an analysis of international responses is also useful. Analyzing international responses to disasters assists us in understanding, in a more nuanced fashion, the issue of disaster management. Several disasters in Europe in the 1970s led the European Union to adopt the Seveso Directive or EU Directive 82/501/EEC in 1982. This directive regarded safety regulations and mitigation of harmful chemicals. Further, disasters in Europe and elsewhere led the European Commission to amend the Seveso Directive several times. In 1996, Council Directive 96/82/EC, better known as the Seveso II Directive, replaced the Seveso Directive. This was primarily due to disasters that involved the release of harmful chemicals.
The Seveso disaster in Northern Italy on July 10, 1976 occurred at a chemical factory in Seveso in the Lombardy Region near Milan. Also affected were the towns of Meda, Deslo, Cesano, Maderno, Barlassina and Bovisio-Masciago. The accident involved the release of several chemicals most notably, tetrachlorodibenzoparadioxin (TCDD), which is a chemical compound in Agent Orange, a defoliant used in the Vietnam War, that directly affected several thousand residents in the area. The local residents of the area had previously not been warned about the dangers posed to them if dioxins from the plant escaped. According to the European Commission[[#_ftn44|[44]]], “Although no immediate fatalities were reported, kilogramme [sic] quantities of the substance lethal to man even in microgramme [sic] doses were widely dispersed which resulted in an immediate contamination of some ten square miles of land and vegetation. More than 600 people had to be evacuated from their homes and as many as 2000 were treated for dioxin poisoning.
The most common side effect of exposure were cases of chloracne, a skin lesion, which affected 447 people and 3,300 animals perished from the disaster. Another 80,000 animals were slaughtered in order to prevent them from entering the food chain.
The Flixborough disaster was another variable that lead the European Union to consider greater regulation of chemical plants. This disaster involved an explosion at a chemical plant near Flixborough, England but also affected the village of Humberside. The explosion at the plant resulted in the death of 28 and injury of 36.
According to the Health and Safety Executive[[#_ftn45|[45]]], the regulatory body in the United Kingdom responsible for workplace health and safety regulation, the cause of the accident was a rupture in a 20-inch bypass system which was caused by a fire nearby on a 8 inch pipe. What resulted was the release of a large amount of the chemical cyclohexane.
In 1987 and ‘88 the 82/501/EEC was amended twice by Directive’s 87/216/EEC and 88/610/EEC, respectively. The causes of both amendment processes were due to another series of disasters, in India and in Europe. The Union Carbide factory disaster in Bhopal, India killed more than 2,500 people in 1984 when the chemical methyl isocyanate leaked into the surrounding community. The second disaster and push factor for greater oversight and regulation occurred in Basil, Switzerland in 1986. In this instance, mercury and organophosphate pesticides, which had contaminated fire-fighting water poured into the Rhine and killed a half-million fish.
Finally, in 1996 European Union Member States adopted the Seveso II Directive. I have included the hyperlink for the document but essentially the aim of the Seveso II Directive[[#_ftn46|[46]]] is the “prevention of major accidents which involve dangerous substances, and the limitation of their consequences for man and the environment, with a view to ensuring high levels of protection throughout the Community in a consistent and effective manner.”
Concerning mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery (MPRR), the Seveso II Directive addresses prevention. Under Article 7 of the Seveso II Directive, “Member States shall require the operator to draw up a document setting out his major-accident prevention policy and to ensure that it is properly implemented. The major-accident prevention policy established by the operator shall be designed to guarantee a high level of protection for man and the environment by appropriate means, structures and management systems.”
My point in including these examples is that different states and institutions deal with disasters quite differently. This is due to two main causes; 1) the type of disaster (and) 2) the country or entity where the disaster takes place. The European Union is an institution grounded upon a legal foundation. It chose the path of regulation in light of a series of disasters both at home and abroad. The Soviet Union was a command and control country based upon an autocratic form of government. The response to Chernobyl was to forcibly evacuate thousands of people and to practice very strict message management. The United States practices a form of disaster management grounded upon constitutional and democratic principles with an eye always towards electoral politics.
In conclusion, what can be learned from the Chernobyl disaster? The most important lesson is that this disaster must never be repeated again. For that to happen, governments the world over must attempt to be as open as possible about hazards that could pose a danger to a society even if this means that a government opens itself up to international inspections and eventual criticism. Disasters still plague Russia and for many reasons it still hasn’t learned from its past mistakes. Bellow I will address structural deficiencies in the Russian system. In many ways it is a system which has yet to evolve from a communist era mindset.
An explosion at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant in Siberia on August 19, 2009, killed seventy-five people. Similar to the Chernobyl disaster, human error is being blamed for the accident as well as a series of other blunders by the plant’s operator and the design of the plant. Rostekhnadzor, the primary Russian agency in charge of safety regulation, surmised in a report that inadequate training in the case of an emergency by the plants owner, RusHydro and the design of the plant were the primary causes of the disaster. The fact that Russia still is dealing with design flaws at an intrinsically important electrical plant points to a trend in that country. It is the largest power plant in Russia and the sixth largest hydroelectric plant overall in the world using power output as a guide.
Russia has, in many ways, an antiquated system that hasn’t addressed its draconian methods of doing business. Part of this blame has to do with the fact that corruption still reigns supreme. Following the collapse of the Soviet system, oligarchs attempted and did succeed in snatching up anything they could.
Russia, in its quest for cash, sold state enterprises under Boris Yeltsin but has since regained ownership of former state-run companies even if this means lauding trumped up charges on the business sector. Concerning the period 1991 to 1993, Ronald Grigor Suny makes this point, “In the absence of a broad political consensus on what kind of economic system should be established in Russia, those around Yeltsin developed and pushed their own agenda of a rapid transition from a state-run to a market-capitalist economy…As the old command economy was transformed into a market system, those who held political power were in a position to determine the distribution of massive property and wealth in the greatest giveaway of assets in history”[[#_ftn47|[47]]]. Even during the bourgeoning years of the Russian Federation, after the demise of the Soviet Union, certain elites or oligarchs pulled the strings of the decision making apparatus.
The Russian state, especially under Vladimir Putin, has put democratic reforms on the backburner in the quest by the state to centralize leadership in the Kremlin. Similar to the Soviet era, decisions having to do with economics, military matters and social policies are made by the Kremlin. Regional governments and the governments in places like Chechnya are subservient to the wishes of the Kremlin. This is not to suggest that democracy is dead in Russia but it simply does not exist in the form that the West would prefer. This has a direct correlation to potential disasters. As in the case of the Chernobyl disaster, the decision to inform the public days later when radiation had already emanated towards European states, message control was heavily influenced by the Kremlin. The government is investigating the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant disaster and information about the investigation has been slow to reach the public.
In particular, President Medvedev addressed Russia’s problems in a recent address to the citizenry. In November of this year, Mr. Medvedev in his yearly address to the country at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow specifically made note of his country’s stalled progress concerning modernation. In his speech, the president made a commitment to move Russia’s economy away from a reliance on oil and other raw materials and bring it more in line with the 21st Century. “The prestige of our homeland, the national welfare, cannot depend on the achievements of the past forever…The time has come for us — that is, today’s generation of the Russian people — to make our contribution to lift up Russia to a new, higher stage in the development of our civilization”[[#_ftn48|[48]]]. Mr. Medvedev went on at great length concerning Russia’s monopoly on corporations which was a policy implemented under his predecessor, Prime Minister Putin.
The Russian Federation has attempted with a varying degree of success to address disaster management and preparedness. There was a need for a proper agency to deal with disaster management in the Russian Federation and the government did proceed with the creation of such an agency. A Russian equivalent to FEMA does exist. The Ministry of Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) also called the Ministry for Extraordinary Situations (MCHS) was established when the Russian Rescue Corps was established on December 27, 1990. There is some debate as to the exact date of the creation for EMERCOM. Several sources point to the 1990 date as its inception but others point to 1994 when President Boris Yeltsin issued a Presidential Decree authorizing its creation. In several ways, EMERCOM is considered to be a Ministry within the Russian government. The others are, Internal Affairs, External Intelligence Service, Defense, and the Counterintelligence Service.
The push factor for the creation of EMERCOM was the rise in the number of manmade and natural disasters from 1993 to 1994. In 1994, there were 747 instances of natural and manmade disasters. This was a rise from 565 disasters, which occurred in 1993. The numbers of deaths are recorded at 1,178 and they affected 20,000 people. Timothy L. Thomas breaks down further the disasters which occurred from 1993 to 1994[[#_ftn49|[49]]]. In his article, published via the Federation of American Scientists, Mr. Thomas writes that, “Also demonstrating an upward spiral in the past year were the number of natural disasters in Russia (from 112 to 182), the number of environmental emergencies (from 0 to 10), toxin spills and radiological emergencies (from 30 to 43), the number of man-made emergencies (from 453 to 564), and, most significantly, the number of nuclear plant emergencies (from one to six).

Similar to the structure of FEMA, in regards to the “ten standard federal regions” (Sylves, 2008; 137), EMERCOM has six regions, which are; the Volga-Ural Regional Center, the Siberian Regional Center, the Central Regional Center, the Northwestern Regional Center, the Southern Regional Center, and the Far Eastern Regional Center (GlobalSecurity.org[[#_ftn50|[50]]]).

EMERCOM is tasked with “specific areas” (EMERCOM[[#_ftn51|[51]]]); The Science of Risk Management; The Search and Rescue Service; The State Firefighting Service; Civil Defense; The CENTROSPAS Team; The “Leader” Center; The State Small Vessels Inspection of Russia; The Center for Management in Crisis Situations; The Center of Urgent Psychological Assistance; GOSAKVASPAS; (and) The State Project Examination Department. Briefly, two especially important tasks that EMERCOM is responsible for are particularly interesting. CENTROSPAS was established on March 13, 1992. Its primary mission[[#_ftn52|[52]]] is, “emergency response in case of natural disasters and man-made accidents, relief action and the maintenance of industrial potential.” Further, “Centrospas’ is a special base on the development, adoption of new technologies and their application in search-and-rescue operations...The movement of rescue workers and specialists to the hazardous area is also ensured.
The second task of EMERCOM is GOSAKVASPAS or the State Emergency Rescue Service for Special-Purpose Underwater Work[[#_ftn53|[53]]]. The duties of GOSAKVASPAS are “to prevent disasters and provide disaster relief on potentially dangerous underwater objects in the domestic waters and in the territorial Sea of the Russian Federation; to participate in preparations for and the carrying out of search-and-rescue work, evacuation, and the administering of first aid to victims; to perform special-purpose underwater work (and); to participate in the localization and liquidation of oil spills in the water environment.” Further, in a joint project with the State Small Vessels Inspection of Russia (SSVI) and GOSAKVASPAS, EMERCOM compiled a list for publication called the Marine Register. The Marine Register contains information on dangerous objects in the White, Baltic, Kara, Black, Okhotsk, and Japan Seas. The Marine Register also contains information on objects in the Lake of Baikal and in the Pacific Ocean, but only the portion that concerns the Russian area of control.
Especially noteworthy concerning EMERCOM was the establishment in 2006 of a National Emergency Management Centre (NEMS)[[#_ftn54|[54]]]. NEMS is responsible for, “management of civil defence and protection of civilian population and territories in case of disasters, as well as emergencies on the seas and water basins. It also coordinates response of the federal executive power bodies within FDMRS.” Further, its tasks include; disaster management, response and mitigation efforts during and after a disaster, disaster preparedness and dissemination of information to potentially affected populations during a disaster.
In the United States for example, if a disaster similar to the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant were to occur, political considerations would dictate that those in power would suffer in the next election and a country wide effort would be made to fix deficiencies in its critical infrastructure. This will not happen in Russia. Primarily because even if the will existed from the bottom to fix deficiencies in its critical infrastructure, the leadership, i.e., the centralized power of the Kremlin will decide what to do next. As Vladimir Putin considers another term as president when the term of President Medvedev ends, the cycle of power continues.
Ostensibly, there is nothing to force the hand of the government. What system does exist like opposition political parties, are simply disqualified for a myriad of reasons by the state’s electoral commissions. This brings me back to the situation with the oligarchs. They are effectively the only group or movement that can juxtapose themselves against the leadership in the Kremlin.
According to Sergei Guriev and Andrei Rachinsky, the Russian oligarchs are, “the only currently feasible counterweight to the predatory and corrupt Russian bureaucracy, they are a unique constituency that is both willing and able to lobby for development of market institutions. They are also the only Russian owner who can afford to invest and restructure Russian industries in a very hostile business environment”[[#_ftn55|[55]]]. In fact, Anatoly Chubais, a former member of Boris Yeltsin's administration, instrumented the privatization of many sectors of the Russian economy and has been implicated in the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant disaster. In the Soviet system, change was influenced by external force, i.e., NATO, the United States and Europe. The structure of the Cold War dictated that change and adaption occurred according to the atmosphere that existed at any one time.
Disasters such as Chernobyl frequently lead to a lot of introspection by a country. The Soviet Union’s desire to engage the world increased exponentially in an effort to diffuse criticism of its handling of the disaster. It is also important to note that the accident occurred only years before the collapse of the Soviet system. The disaster had the effect of forcing the Soviet leadership to come to terms with its crumbling infrastructure, its command and control economy and a general lack of reforms within the country. The Soviet Union had more or less been following the same political path that it had been practicing for almost seventy-years.
The Soviet Union did have to come to terms with the basic fact that its infrastructure was failing and this was only perpetuated by their static approach to conducting business. The disaster at Chernobyl more than any other event in Soviet history showed flaws in its structure and was a precipitating factor in the eventual demise of the Cold War. I will conclude with one final analysis. Many states around the world enjoy a situation where their reliance on nuclear energy will not pose any significant danger to their structural existence due to safety measures and regulation, i.e., France, the United States and Great Britain. Counterfactually, despite safety steps that a state can take to mitigate against the chances of a nuclear disaster the potential always exists, unfortunately.
When a state relies heavily upon nuclear energy but does not have the mechanisms to manage it safely, it is in danger of allowing disasters to occur. This is precisely the danger that the Soviet Union faced and the people of Ukraine suffered the consequences.
Nuclear energy is the paradox of energy policy around the globe. It is a double-edged sword. On paper, nuclear energy would appear to be the safest, most environmentally friendly and politically supported energy source there is. For all of its supporters there inevitably exists its detractors and for good reason. The Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters are proof that accidents can and do happen. What one hopes is that proper safety mechanisms have been implemented in the last twenty-years to insure that those two accidents are the last ones to make the front-page news.
Appendix A Glossary of Nuclear Terms. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1997. Web.
Aspects. International Atomic Energy Agency, 1997. Web.
Bullock, Jane, Haddow, George, Coppala, Damon and Yeletaysi, Sarp. Introduction to Homeland Security. Elsevier, Burlington, MA, 2009.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Infinity Ward, Inc., 2009. Web.
CENTROSPAS. EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. Web.
Chemical Accidents (Seveso II) - Prevention, Preparedness and Response. European Commission, 2009. Web.
Chernobyl Accident. World Nuclear Association, 2009. Web.
The Chernobyl accident UNSCEAR's assessments of the radiation effects. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2009. Web.
Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2006. Web.
Chernobyl Shelter Fund: Creating a Safer Environment. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2000. Web.
Despite Mutations, Chernobyl Wildlife Is Thriving. National Geographic, 2006. Web.
Emergency Preparedness and Response. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009. Web.
EMERCOM: Russia’s Emergency Response Team. Federation of American Scientists, 1995. Web.
Flixborough (Nypro UK) Explosion 1st June 1974. Health and Safety Executive, 2008. Web.
Gorbachev, Mikhail. Memoirs. Doubleday, New York, New York, 1995.
GOSAKVASPAS. EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. Web.
Guriev, Sergei and Rachinsky, Andrei. The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives (2005): Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 131-150. JSTOR. N Web.
Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Health Care Programmes. World Health Organization, 2006. Web.
INES - The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale User’s Manual. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2009. Web.
Mission Statement. International Nuclear Safety Center, 2009. Web.
Ministry for Extraordinary Situations [EMERCOM]. GlobalSecurity.org, 2009. Web.
McMurry, John and Fay, Robert. Chemistry. Pearson Prentice Hall, Saddle River, NJ, 2008.
Mission. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009. Web.
MEDICC Review: Health and Medical News of Cuba, In the Eye of the Storm: Disaster Management Lessons from Cuba. MEDICC, 2009. Web.
National Emergency Management Centre (NEMS). EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. Web.
The Nuclear Dilemma and Lessons from Chernobyl. Federation of American Scientists, 2008. Web.
Nuclear Safety: Concerns With the Continuing Operation of Soviet-Designed Nuclear Power Reactors. Government Accountability Office, 2000. Web.
Nuclear Safety Aspects. International Atomic Energy Agency, 1997. Web.
Operations of unit ‘Centrospas’. EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. Web.
Our History. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009. Web.
Дневник сайта. Pripyat, 2005. Web.
The RBMK: The Chernobyl-Type Soviet Nuclear Power Plant. United States Department of Energy, 1995. Web.
Russian President Says Modernization Is Needed. The New York Times, 2009. Web.
Seveso II Directive [96/82/EC]. European Union, 2009. Web.
Strategic Plan: Fiscal Year 2000 – Fiscal Year 2005 (NUREG-1614, Volume 2, Part 1). United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009. Web.
Specific Areas. EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. Web.
Soviet Nuclear Power Plant Designs. International Nuclear Safety Center, 1995. Web.
Suny, Grigor Ronald. The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 1998.
Sylves, Richard. Disaster Policy & Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security. CQ Press, Washington, DC, 2008.

[[#_ftnref|[1]]] INES - The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale User’s Manual. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2009. Web. http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/INES-2009_web.pdf
[[#_ftnref|[2]]] The RBMK: The Chernobyl-Type Soviet Nuclear Power Plant. United States Department of Energy, 1995. http://www.insc.anl.gov/neisb/neisb4/NEISB_1.1.html#NEISB_1.1.9
[[#_ftnref|[3]]] Soviet Nuclear Power Plant Designs. International Nuclear Safety Center, 1995. http://www.insc.anl.gov/neisb/neisb4/NEISB_1.1.html
[[#_ftnref|[4]]] Mission Statement. International Nuclear Safety Center, 2009. http://www.insc.anl.gov
[[#_ftnref|[5]]] Nuclear Safety: Concerns With the Continuing Operation of Soviet-Designed Nuclear Power Reactors. Government Accountability Office, 2000. http://www.gao.gov/products/RCED-00-97
[[#_ftnref|[6]]] Nuclear Safety Aspects. International Atomic Energy Agency, 1997. http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull383/lederman.html
[[#_ftnref|[7]]] The Nuclear Dilemma and Lessons from Chernobyl. Federation of American Scientists, 2008. http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/nukes/fuelcycle/chernobyllessons.html
[[#_ftnref|[8]]] Gorbachev, Mikhail. Memoirs, p. 193
[[#_ftnref|[9]]] Sylves, Richard. Disaster Policy & Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, pp. 61, 85
[[#_ftnref|[10]]] Дневник сайта. Pripyat, 2005. http://pripyat.com
[[#_ftnref|[11]]] Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Infinity Ward, Inc., 2009. http://www.callofduty.com/hub
[[#_ftnref|[12]]] Sylves, Richard. Disaster Policy & Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, p. 21
[[#_ftnref|[13]]] MEDICC Review: Health and Medical News of Cuba, In the Eye of the Storm: Disaster Management Lessons from Cuba. MEDICC, 2009. http://www.medicc.org/resources/documents/medicc-review-disaster-management.pdf
[[#_ftnref|[14]]] Sylves, Richard. Disaster Policy & Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, p. 21
[[#_ftnref|[15]]] Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2006. http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdf
[[#_ftnref|[16]]] Sylves, Richard. Disaster Policy & Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, p. 21
[[#_ftnref|[17]]] Ibid, p. 23
[[#_ftnref|[18]]] The Nuclear Dilemma and Lessons from Chernobyl. Federation of American Scientists, 2008. http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/nukes/fuelcycle/chernobyllessons.html
[[#_ftnref|[19]]] Bullock, Jane, Haddow, George, Coppala, Damon and Yeletaysi, Sarp. Introduction to Homeland Security, p. 324
[[#_ftnref|[20]]] Our History. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009. http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/history.html#nrctoday
[[#_ftnref|[21]]] Strategic Plan: Fiscal Year 2000 – Fiscal Year 2005 (NUREG-1614, Volume 2, Part 1). United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1614/v2/part1/
[[#_ftnref|[22]]] Emergency Preparedness and Response. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009. http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/emerg-preparedness.html
[[#_ftnref|[23]]] Sylves, Richard. Disaster Policy & Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, p. 23
[[#_ftnref|[24]]] The Nuclear Dilemma and Lessons from Chernobyl. Federation of American Scientists, 2008. http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/nukes/fuelcycle/chernobyllessons.html
[[#_ftnref|[25]]] Ibid.
[[#_ftnref|[26]]] Sylves, Richard. Disaster Policy & Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, p. 24
[[#_ftnref|[27]]] Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2006. http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdf
[[#_ftnref|[28]]] McMurry, John and Fay, Robert. Chemistry, p. 926.
[[#_ftnref|[29]]] Ibid.
[[#_ftnref|[30]]] Ibid.
[[#_ftnref|[31]]] Appendix A Glossary of Nuclear Terms. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1997. http://www.lbl.gov/abc/wallchart/glossary/glossary.html
[[#_ftnref|[32]]] McMurry, John and Fay, Robert. Chemistry, p. 923
[[#_ftnref|[33]]] Despite Mutations, Chernobyl Wildlife Is Thriving. National Geographic, 2006. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0426_060426_chernobyl.html
[[#_ftnref|[34]]] The Nuclear Dilemma and Lessons from Chernobyl. Federation of American Scientists, 2008. http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/nukes/fuelcycle/chernobyllessons.html
[[#_ftnref|[35]]] Ibid.
[[#_ftnref|[36]]] Chernobyl Shelter Fund: Creating a Safer Environment. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2000. http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/Chernobyl-15/shelter-fund.pdf
[[#_ftnref|[37]]] Ibid.
[[#_ftnref|[38]]] Ibid.
[[#_ftnref|[39]]] Chernobyl Accident. World Nuclear Association, 2009. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html
[[#_ftnref|[40]]] Chernobyl Shelter Fund: Creating a Safer Environment. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2000. http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/Chernobyl-15/shelter-fund.pdf
[[#_ftnref|[41]]] Chernobyl Accident. World Nuclear Association, 2009. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html
[[#_ftnref|[42]]] Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Health Care Programmes. World Health Organization, 2006. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2006/9241594179_eng.pdf
[[#_ftnref|[43]]] The Chernobyl accident UNSCEAR's assessments of the radiation effects. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2009. http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html
[[#_ftnref|[44]]] Chemical Accidents (Seveso II) - Prevention, Preparedness and Response. European Commission, 2009. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/seveso/index.htm
[[#_ftnref|[45]]] Flixborough (Nypro UK) Explosion 1st June 1974. Health and Safety Executive, 2008. http://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/sragtech/caseflixboroug74.htm
[[#_ftnref|[46]]] Seveso II Directive [96/82/EC]. European Union, 2009. http://mahbsrv.jrc.ec.europa.eu/Framework-Seveso2-LEG-EN.html#Article1
[[#_ftnref|[47]]] Suny, Grigor Ronald. The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States, p. 489
[[#_ftnref|[48]]] Russian President Says Modernization Is Needed. The New York Times, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/world/europe/13medvedev.html?scp=2&sq=Medvedev&st=cse
[[#_ftnref|[49]]] EMERCOM: Russia’s Emergency Response Team. Federation of American Scientists, 1995. http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/agency/rusert.htm
[[#_ftnref|[50]]] Ministry for Extraordinary Situations [EMERCOM]. GlobalSecurity.org, 2009. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/emercom.htm
[[#_ftnref|[51]]] Specific Areas. EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. http://www.mchs.gov.ru/en/?SECTION_ID=361
[[#_ftnref|[52]]] Operations of unit ‘Centrospas’. EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. http://www.mchs.gov.ru/new/powers/index.php?SECTION_ID=636&bitrix_preview_site_template=blue&lang=eng&lang=rus&lang=eng
[[#_ftnref|[53]]] Ministry for Extraordinary Situations [EMERCOM]. GlobalSecurity.org, 2009. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/emercom.htm
[[#_ftnref|[54]]] National Emergency Management Centre (NEMS). EMERCOM of Russia, 2009. http://www.mchs.gov.ru/powers/?SECTION_ID=609
[[#_ftnref|[55]]] Guriev, Sergei and Rachinsky, Andrei. The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism, p. 131