Articles

The global impact of the Chernobyl reactor accident

Science  16 Dec 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4885, pp. 1513-1519
DOI: 10.1126/science.3201240

Abstract

Radioactive material was deposited throughout the Northern Hemisphere as a result of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station on 26 April 1986. On the basis of a large amount of environmental data and new integrated dose assessment and risk models, the collective dose commitment to the approximately 3 billion inhabitants is calculated to be 930,000 person-gray, with 97% in the western Soviet Union and Europe. The best estimates for the lifetime expectation of fatal radiogenic cancer would increase the risk from 0 to 0.02% in Europe and 0 to 0.003% in the Northern Hemisphere. By means of an integration of the environmental data, it is estimated that approximately 100 petabecquerels of cesium-137 (1 PBq = 10(15) Bq) were released during and subsequent to the accident.