A moment-by-moment account of the events that immediately preceded and followed the devastating explosion of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl describes what has happened to the survivors and the neighboring countryside since the disaster. 40,000 first printing.
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A dispassionate yet mesmerizing survey of atomic-electric power in the Soviet Union, whose centerpiece is the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl. While Read (On the Third Day, 1991, etc.) never says as much, his detailed, human-scale account could serve as an allegory for the concurrent chain reaction that resulted in the USSR's meltdown. Drawing on previously classified data and on testimony from participating principals, Read recalls Moscow's post-WW II drive to showcase Communist physics through a network of nuclear generating stations. Moving on to the construction of the Chernobyl complex, he documents how material shortages, technical incompetence, bureaucratic snafus, Communist Party interference, and allied constraints ensured the facility's eventual failure. Although operator errors contributed to the accident, Read leaves little doubt that design deficiencies were primarily responsible. Moreover, he reports, after the explosion, the immediate instinct of most apparatchiks was to cover up the fact that the country and its vaunted scientific establishment were neither ready, willing, nor able to respond effectively to a nuclear emergency: Since Soviet reactors were deemed perfectly safe, for example, no evacuation plans had been drawn up. The official death toll was put at 31, while scapegoats were quickly identified and imprisoned. By contrast, Read cites estimates that Chernobyl ulimately could claim more lives than the Soviets lost in WW II, and he notes that fallout has made large areas of Belorussia, Russia, and the Ukraine uninhabitable, perhaps for thousands of years. Partisans on both sides of the nuclear/environmental issue may take exception to the author's agenda-free narrative: Read allows the story and his sources to speak for themselves, eschewing any hint as to whether he believes atomic power to be a blessing or a bane. A top-notch take on a man-made catastrophe and its chilling consequences. (For a look at Chernobyl's aftermath by the plant's former chief engineer, see Grigori Medvedev's No Breathing Room, p. 207.) (Sixteen pages of photos, three maps--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Read's taut, riveting probe of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion and its aftermath reveals the full magnitude of the disaster as perhaps no other book has done. The English journalist ( Alive ) spent months in Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine in 1991 interviewing scores of survivors, officials and scientists. Focusing on the human side of the catastrophe, he gives a blow-by-blow account of the accident, complete with reconstructed dialogue, then explores the Soviet cover-up and Western experts' efforts to estimate the effects of a disaster that may ultimately claim more victims than WW II, suggests Read. Instead of acknowledging reactor design flaws and poor safeguards, Soviet officials brought scapegoats to trial, in what Read likens to Stalin's show trials. Drawing on interviews and on newly declassified Soviet medical records, he assesses the plight of residents in the far-flung contaminated zone and discloses that most of the 600,000 cleanup and rescue personnel suffered severe damage to their immune systems. Photos. 50,000 first printing.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descrizione libro Random House, 1993. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0679408193
Descrizione libro Random House, 1993. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0679408193
Descrizione libro Random House, 1993. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110679408193