November 21, 2006 11:53pm CST
Chernobyl’ Accident, accident at the Chernobyl’ nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that produced a plume of radioactive debris that drifted over parts of the western USSR, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. The accident, which occurred on April 26, 1986, was the worst nuclear power accident in history. Large areas of the Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Russian republics of the USSR were contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of roughly 200,000 people. The accident raised concerns about the safety of the Soviet nuclear power industry, slowing its expansion for a number of years, while forcing the Soviet government to become less secretive. The now independent countries of Ukraine and Belarus have been burdened with continuing and substantial costs for decontamination and health care because of the Chernobyl’ accident.
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