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close this bookThe Long Road to Recovery: Community Responses to Industrial Disaster (UNU, 1996, 307 pages)
close this folder7 The Chernobyl disasters Its effect on Belarus and Ukraine
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsThe accident and its immediate aftermath
View the documentThe affected community
Open this folder and view contentsRegeneration and recovery
Open this folder and view contentsTowards a model for nuclear and industrial accidents
View the documentSummary
View the documentSuggestions for a general model of recovery from industrial accidents
View the documentAcknowledgement
View the documentChronology
View the documentNotes
View the documentReferences
View the documentMedia sources



25-26 April. Safety test takes place at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine.

26 April (1.38 a.m.). An explosion destroys the fourth reactor.

27 April (2.00 p.m.). Evacuation of Pripyat begins.

28 April. Tass announces the accident to the world.

29 April. First news item is published in the Soviet press.

1 May. May Day celebrations take place as planned in Kiev, Minsk, and other cities.

2 May. Politburo members Ryzhkov and Ligachev visit Chernobyl. A 30 kilometre zone around the reactor is designated for evacuation.

10 May. The fourth reactor is "capped" with sand and boron, and leakages of radiation end.

May-June. Military reservists brought to Chernobyl to lead the clean-up operation.

August. The Soviet Report on the causes of the accident is presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

December. A concrete roof ("sarcophagus") is completed over the fourth reactor.


July. Chernobyl director and five plant operators are found guilty of gross negligence at a trial held mostly in camera in the town of Chernobyl.


February. The first maps highlighting radiation fallout from Chernobyl are published in the Soviet press.


April. On the fifth anniversary of Chernobyl there are mass demonstrations in Kiev and Minsk. The world press focuses on the event, highlighting new evacuations, alleged sicknesses in contaminated zones, and the continuing operation of Soviet RBMK reactors, including those at Chernobyl.


March. The Ukrainian government reports that cracks have appeared in the sarcophagus. An international competition is to be held for a design for a replacement roof.