R. K. Chesser, B. E. Rodgers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is considered to be the worst nuclear accident in history. At 1.24 a.m. on 26 April 1986, a large explosion and fire occurred at reactor four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, releasing massive amounts of nuclear fuel into the surrounding environment. Radiation releases from the accident continued for about 10 days, and the fallout spread from Chernobyl to the surrounding territories and across the globe. Following the Chernobyl accident, about 350 000 residents of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were evacuated and resettled in other areas of the Former Soviet Union. Sixty-four human deaths have been attributed to acute radiation sickness resulting from the accident, and estimates of ultimate excess cancer deaths are estimated to be 4000-9335, predominantly in workers who assisted with the cleanup of the Chernobyl power plant. The heaviest amount of radiation was released into the first two plumes that killed about 400 ha of pine forest and likely eliminated resident wildlife populations in a 2. ×. 10. km area west of the reactor. Only about 1% of the radiation originally released still remains due to the rapid decay of most isotopes. Although there are reports of some genetic damage in organisms living in the contaminated habitats, there is no evidence of mutations that have been transferred to progeny. Evaluations in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident led to numerous refinements to reactor operations and designs as well as methods to protect human populations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Toxicology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780123864543
ISBN (Print)9780123864550
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Ecotoxicology
  • Fukushima Daiichi (Japan)
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Radiation toxicology
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Radiocesium
  • Three Mile Island


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