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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

National Security

#chernobyl #soviet #nuclear #classified

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster

Adam Higginbotham

2019

Link

2019-06-17

"Any [nuclear] accident, no mater how minor, was regarded as a state secret, policed by the KGB. And even as the USSR's nuclear industry began to gather momentum in the 1960's, the clandestine impulse persisted....As one of the 12 founding members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, since 1957, the USSR had been obliged to report any accident that took place within its borders, but of the dozens of dangerous incidents that occurred in Soviet nuclear facilities over the decades that followed, not one was ever mentioned. For almost 30 years, both the Soviet Public and the world at large were encouraged to believe the USSR operated the safest nuclear industry in the world." - Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster (2019)

I suppose the most respectful thing is to agree to this record of safety and simply accept Russian subjects are immune to the harms of ionizing radiation. And if you look into America, you'll find similar. But if you were to believe humans not immune to potential harms of secret radiation releases, you'd have to either factor state's impulse for secrecy into your assessment of the safety of nuclear power, or force states to be more open.

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