Chernobyl Nuclear Accident: 25 Years Later

The 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster, the explosion in 1986 of a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, comes at a time of international concern.

What's the Latest Development?

The 25th anniversary of the horrible explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine comes at a time when the world's attention is already turned to the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. "In some ways, the connection between the two accidents may yield the biggest benefits for Chernobyl," says Nature's news editor Mark Peplow. "For a brief window of time, the world has again focused attention on the largely overlooked work there. The renewed interest may spur nations to chip in the cash needed to complete the clean-up of the site, and to carry out health studies that have languished for want of proper coordination and funding."

What's the Big Idea?

Is nuclear power worth the risk? Yes, say statisticians who reference the health effects of obesity and smoking. No, say environmentalists who take the view that danger inherent in nuclear power production makes it a bad idea. The planet is in the midst of the biggest energy revolution since the 17th century and as alternatives are sought to fossil fuels, the future of nuclear power will likely be determined in the years ahead. While Fukushima and the Chernobyl anniversary may taint the public's immediate perception of nuclear power's future, scientific research of the disasters is necessary to help us guard against future accidents. 

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