Nuclear power after Chernobyl

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Science  08 May 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4802, pp. 673-679
DOI: 10.1126/science.3576192


The causes and progress of the accident at Chernobyl are described, and a comparison between the Chernobyl accident and the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power station is made. Significant similarities between Chernobyl and Three Mile Island include complacency of operators and industry, deliberate negation of safety systems, and a lack of understanding of their plant on the part of the operators, which shows the critical importance of the human element. The Chernobyl accident has implications for nuclear power in the United States; it will affect the research program of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, regulation of Department of Energy reactors, new reactor designs, and public attitudes.