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The horrible legacy of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster explained in prize-winning new book

‘A horror story’: history of Chernobyl nuclear disaster wins Baillie Gifford prize, Guardian, 14 Nov 18
Ukrainian author Serhii Plokhy, who grew up downstream from the damaged reactor, wins £30,000 prize for Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy. 
A Harvard history professor’s “haunting” account of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which delves into the “heartbreaking stories of heroism” from the people who helped to prevent the whole of Europe from becoming uninhabitable, has won the £30,000 Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction.

Serhii Plokhy’s Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy opens as a radiation alarm goes off in a power plant in Sweden, and as staff begin to suspect a Soviet accident. It goes on to lay out what led to the worst nuclear disaster in history, telling the stories of the firefighters, scientists, soldiers, engineers and policemen who worked to extinguish the nuclear inferno in Chernobyl on 26 April 1986. ……

“It is a horror story – of political cynicism and scientific ignorance – in which the world was saved only by heroism and luck … It’s a kind of biblical book – haunting. And it has terrifying lessons for the world,” said the chair of judges, Fiammetta Rocco, the Economist’s culture correspondent. “At the core of it there are heartbreaking stories of heroism – of the firemen, of the people who were sent to close the reactor doors, of doctors, of soldiers – the people on the roof of the reactor who were kicking off burning stuff that had fallen back on it after the explosion. The closer they are to the disaster, the more quickly they die.” …….

In an interview ahead of the Baillie Gifford awards ceremony, Plokhy stressed that “we have to be super careful with nuclear energy, because it was introduced into the world as the cleanest energy possible.

“Today, with global warming there is an attempt to bring it back as a solution to the problems we have with climate, and the lesson that I learned from looking at Chernobyl is that yes it is the cleanest energy as long as nothing happens. Once it happens, it is the dirtiest energy in the world,” he said……https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/14/a-horror-story-history-of-chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-wins-baillie-gifford-prize

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November 15, 2018 - Posted by | resources - print

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