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By Piers Paul Read

On twenty sixth April 1986 the nuclear reactor of the fourth unit of the V.I. Lenin power-station at Chernobyl exploded. It was once a disaster of ancient proportions - many thousands suffered, and endured to undergo, from the results. To chronicle this catastrophe and its aftermath, Piers Paul learn interviewed the engineers and operators who have been carrying out the fateful attempt at the evening of twenty fifth April; he talked to the director of the power-station, serving a ten-year sentence for negligence; and he went to the hitherto top-secret institutes as soon as run through Beria's Ministry for Medium computer construction - the Kurchatov Institute, Moscow's sanatorium No 6, and the once-closed urban of Obninsk. during this account, learn takes benefit of the declassification of nuclear info within the former Soviet Union and the loosening of tongues that the failure of the coup in 1991. He additionally received entry to the trial transcripts, the protocol of the hitherto mystery scientific fee, and different exclusive experiences. the result's not just the tale of the disaster, but in addition a parable approximately totalitarianism and its cave in.

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However, a relatively low whole-body dose measured in rems can accompany a high localized dose to, say, a child’s thyroid measured in rads. 2. Below 100 rems, though there may be some blood changes and slight nausea, the dangers are mainly stochastic – that is, it is the probability of the effect occurring rather than its severity that varies with the size of the dose. A small dose for a larger number of people could lead to the same number of casualties as a large dose for a small number of people.

Dollezhal, he said, merely designed reactors, and his colleague Koryakin was an economist; how could either of them feel qualified to pronounce on nuclear technology? The suggestion that had been made by Dollezhal, and also by the nuclear physicist Academician Per Kapitsa, was dismissed by Alexandrov as absurd. Alexandrov’s reaction was not just the expression of an old man’s pride. The dispute between the academicians reflected differences between party leaders about how the development of the Soviet energy industry should proceed.

Stalin heeded his warning, deciding that the Soviet Union too must develop a nuclear bomb. The scientist he chose to supervise the project was Igor Kurchatov, who in the 1930s, at the Leningrad Physical Technical Institute, had been the first Soviet physicist to achieve nuclear fission. Although not yet forty when Stalin summoned him to Moscow, Kurchatov had grown a long black beard while recovering from pneumonia in Kazan. Besides his talents as a physicist, Kurchatov had other qualities that appealed to Stalin.

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