Created: 12/1/1987

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The Chernobyl' Accident: Social and Political Implications



The Chernobyl' Accident: Social and Political Implications

The Chernobyl" Accident: Social und Political Implications ' .

Scoperesearch paper focuses on Ihe societal and political implicaUom of tbe

C and uoder General Secretary

[miaa of lhc Chernobyl- accident on


he readereel for how various strata of Soviet society reacted to inis near-catastrophic eventeriod of leadership-induced social icrmcni

| PWUtHKi. popular reaction to the event, and the effect on popular auuudes toward the Soviet bureaucracy and leadership. It provides

mmmm The current study provideson crisis decisionnuking under Gorbachev but does not deal in depth with the imptkaiioos for the Soviet nudear program. Tbese mac* have been treated oomprchensivcly io the Dl Research Paper The Soviei Nuclear Power Program Afitr the Chernobyl' Accident.' i>


esearch Piper* So-net jVurJMr

PowerChernobyl- Acddent



Orrtmbrt IMT


The Chernobyl' Accident: Social and Political Implications



ft/a' lo Ml upon

explosion of the Chernobyl' nuclear reactor in6erious problem for Gorbachev's efforts to portray the new leadershipeasonable and accountable government. The accident led to theof nuclear eneigy policyignificant public issue. Moscow's delay in reporting the accident to its people and neighbors left it open to charges of disregard lor public health and eroded confidence in the regime. The psychologtcnt consequences of (he Chernobyl' accident are likely to be long term and not limited to the immediately affected geographic areas.

Sovietcontrail to their counterparts in thenotuccessful campaign against the development of nuclear power, but antinuclear sentiment is growing in the aftermath of the Chernobyl' accident. Some members of the elite with policy influence havo much less confidence in the safety of the Soviet nuclear system. Even ordinary dliaens apparently worry thai the regimes determination to rely more heavily on nuclear power will increase pressure on the nuclear sector to place growth above safety. They are reluetam to trust official assurances that safety alterations have been made and that existing safety rules will be enforced.

Regime claims that radiation fallout from Chernobyl' will not add significamly to the normal incidence of cancer have not silenced rumors and anxiety about healtharge segment of the population living in the European section of the USSR apparently believes it is in danger from radiation and continues to link genetic abtwrmalitics. cancers, and poor health in general to the accident. These concerns are probably greatest among0 evacuees and more0 lecoverymainly militaryall of whom are non-Russians.

We have evidence of considerable fear of contaminated food aod water that is likely to continue. The effects of this fear were still being fell in themarkets this past summer, and Moscow probably is concerned lhat this apprehension could result in workers' resistance lo transfers to ihe Chernobyl' region, an inability to sell products from the region, and increased demand for medical services

; Chernobyl- also had an adverse impact on the regime's credibility.ear after the accident, Soviei citirens continue to criticize lop official* for initially concealing the Chernobyl' accident, and some think the regime's response to the disaster exposed the insincerity of Gorbachev's openness (gfasnosi) policy

The regime brought many of these problemi on itself by initiallyits traditional secrecy. ImmcdUtely after the aceidenl, anwas imr>oscd until international pressure forced afollowedropaganda counterattack. Gorbachevsilent untilay. almost three weeks nflcr lhcto minimize his rxrsonal resr*nsibtlity and to watt for bissain control of the

Once Gorbachev got involved, however, he exploited the Initial public relations setback to push his own reform agenda. By dcnvmstraling that suppressing mformation about domestic problems can backfire, thegave added impetus to his drive for openness in the Soviet media.article* in Pravda. for example, pointed outack of complete in-formation had encouraged harmful rumors, aod supporters of Gorbachev's policy criticized the domeslic media's early silence.

Gorbachev also used tbe accident to eliminate some Brezhnev holdovers. He retired three elderly members of the Central Committee who were rumored to share some blame for Ihe disaster. In addition, several ministry-level officials in tbc nuclear industry were fired, six Chernobyl' plant managers received jail sentences, andarty officials were expelled from the party either fo* contributing to the accident or for being inattentive to the evacuees* needs.

By laying the blame on local authorities, attacking the West for exploiting the disaster, and pressing forward with domestic reform, Gorbachev has so far largely avoided rsersonal accountability C

^Gorbachev favored prompt publication ofbut met resUunce in the Politburo. However, this story conceivably was pot out by his supporters to exonerate bim *i

The costs to regime credibility were especially serious in ihe Ukraine, Belorussia, and the Baltic. Dissatisfaction with tbc regime's handling of the Chernobyl* aceidenl exacerbated longstanding popular frustrations in these regions:

The nuclear radioactive contamination of Ukrainian and Bclorussian territory and the dislocation of Ukrainian and Belorussian rxopledissatisfaction with the Soviet policy of placing nuclear plants near populated centers and strengthened the enWronmentalist lobby lo the Ukraine.

Chernobyl' sparked demonstralions in the Bailie, where ecoloay-scnsiiive issues had already provoked anti-Russian demonstrations and Moscow's callup of reservists to clean up Chernobyl' was rjerceived as ethnic discrimination

The new consciousness about environmental issues spurred by Chernobyl' has contributedlimate of public activssm that could contest Moscow's plans for nuclear power expansion in the nest decade. Sceneembers ofUkrainian Academy of Sciencesetition opposing the completion oft Cherisooyl' because the project leaders had failed lo adjust iheir plans lo ihe new posuccident conditions. Reportedly, the petition was about to be made public when Moscow decided lo shelve the expansion plans for the nuclear plant, conceivably in response to Ihe arguments advanced by the Ukrainian group and possibly other public opposition.

Local Soviet press accounts indicate that concern about the safety of the rudest industry is particularly high in areas with Chernobyl'-typelike Kursk, Leningrad. Smolensk, Ignalina, and Chernobyl' itself.ions against ibc Ignalina and Leningrad nuclear plants were held in6 as well as this year, andvidence thai twoprojects have been recently shelved because of public reaction. Even though there have been greater efforts to reassure the public and perhaps some rethinking of the strategy for siting nuclear power plants, XZ S3

public's apprehension about the regime's commitment io make the necessary safety mocliiVations remains well -founded, i

Despite the fact that ministries responsible for nucleat industry have beenormal mandate to achieve more stringent safety standards, there is no indication that public resentment will compel changes in the direction of Soviet nuclear power policy. Tbe major bureaucracies resent public pressure and there are some signs of backtracking on gtasnoii:

Despite Moscow's avowed opcsirieu policy, the7 legal follourup of the accident was conducted in secret, probably in an effort lo avoidtechnical testimony that addressed reactor design flaws.

In the springoviet reporters complained thai tbe authorities were still tightly controlling information oneaving (be public largely in the dark.

official Soviet report presented lo Ihe International Atomicgency al the6 meeting in Vienna, and made widely

avsiubiu to the West, was never released io the Soviet general public.

Soviet leaders probably hope that the consequences of Overnobyl' will fade from public view. Continued publicity poses difficulties because long-term environmental and health consequence* will require further allocations of resources, which Moscow appears unwilling toebate about Ibe


and safety of nuclear plants is troublesomeegime formally committed to nuclear energy and tbe economic benefits of building nudear plants near highly populated areas. I

In an era of continued reform policies, another nuclear mishap,omparatively minor one, couldacklash against nuclear energy that would be harder to ignore and might hasten the process of retiring the Chernobyl'-type (RBMK) reactor:

The democratization campaign unveiled by Gorbachev. Yakovlev. and other senior leaders presupposes more sensitivity to public opinion.

Legislation presented at the7 Supreme Soviet oo public referendum* on local issues may give theechanism to express their concerns.

Public groups have been ablexert pressure on other environment-related issues through mass demonstrations.

Some critics of current nuclear policy, including prominent journalists, probably can be more influential under glasnosi.

In addition, the Gorbachev regime hasumber of broader policy statements designed to curb pollution and improve health and appears willing to provide resources to support these policies. Inhe CPSU Central Committeeweeping resolution on ecology aimed at improving safety in the workplace and the qualily of air andonth later, itrash program to improve the medical system. The new Law on the Restructuring of Public Health stresses major reforms in the area of health through prevention and. given the growing concern with pollution and industrial safety, may be implemented more rapidly than usual. >

Accommodation to popular frustrationanger for the regime and could make the situation worse by exciting expectations. The population will be more attentive to future regime per (oftnance in the areas of nuclear safety, public health, and ecology. There is increased discussion of these -issues in the Intellectual community, and social initiative groups are taking tbe issues to the street. These concerns are not likely to evaporate. As public dissatisfaction becomes more evident, the Chernobyl' accident mayocal point around which disgruntled citizens can organize, and Moscow may discover that Chemobyrontinuing irritantotential for social and ethnic tensions for years to come.




Regime Handling of the Chernobyl' Crisis


and Decoota mi nation

of Relocation

Shoulder the Burden of Dcoonlamination

of Information


Up Scapegoau

Cosu of Chernobyl'

to Regime Credibility and Reputation


Over Food and Water

on Health Care Syslem

in the Republics


and the Ukraine



for Regime Policy

and tbe Gtosnoit Debate 28

Energy Policy

Anftlhfr Niifirat AiVTilrnf'


ivivvU nvviuv'ii

Tbe Chernobyl' Accident: Social and Political Implication*.

llaadsiag of IW eheraoayt* Crist*

Tbe accident al lhc Chernobyl' nuclear power plant on the morning of6 let offsequence or events the Kremlin and Soviet populace ire Mill grappling with. Tbe belief in the safety of Sown nuclear design had been widely iharcd among Soviet nuclear apccialists, and most Mparts believed lhat an accident like the one al Chernobyl' could never happen, leaving them ill prepared lo coperisis of such magnitude'

The government commission thai investigated ihe accident concluded lhat the world's worst nuclear accident was causedungled test ateactor, but Soviei media and reporting both indicaic lhat more basic problems wiih reactor safely were also partly to blame The lop leaders were is/ermedthz acodcat aimtooltad membersovernment com mm ion were on Ihe sceneew hours, but they apparently failed ioigh priority lo prompt evacuation or the release of accurate information that could have atemmcd rumors or facilitated more rapid public health precautions, like those taken in Poland.

Tbe delay and uncertainty thatJ lhc regimc'i initial response can be captained in part by ibe magnitude of the Chernobyl disaster, which would have been difficult for any government to

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nuclearThe leadership quickly recovered from this brief pe'tod of hesitation and effectively responded to cooirot (he radiation release, to evacuate andersons, to decontaminate most of theenvirons tulhdenily to permit workers toibe recovery operalions, and to reduce the public rctaiaoas outage. The break ia Gorbachev's political momentum appears to have been temporary, aad. by laying ihe blame on local authorities, Gorbachev has avoided any personal aooountabtlily.

Faruaattea af Dectatt-aaaahaag Bed**

Meacow ofhcUU were al tbe scene of ibe accident ithin hours after the explosion occurred, according to nuclear physicist Doris Scroeoov. the Sovietto the International Alomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors. Seaacae* told IAEA-board members in Ute May thai Gorbachev and other memben of tbe top leadership learned of tbe accident at Chernobyl" early ia tbe nwralng ofroup within the Politburo under the direction of NikoUy Ryzhkov. chairman of the USSRf Ministers, was formed to deal with tbe accident. Inpecial government commission headed by Boris Shchcrbina. deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, was formed that moralag to investigate lhc causes of thehis cetnmitsaoe immediately took over direction of lhc emergency response and recovery effort.

Mai Oca.hief of the chemical troops of lhc USSR Defense Mm ut r,ecorated Hero of Sovtet Union for his work at Chernobyl', told PeWa in6 lhai helammoned toGeneral Staff headquarter* ia ihe carry moraiag boars and ordered by General Staff Chief Sergey

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and Poor Uetign of Iht CIobyl' I'laiti

The rcpori or*Ine investigation presented lo ihe Cenieal Committee of ihe CPSU Stressed ihta-ridtm was eausidillion" chain of tventi. but Western expert! maintain that an aceidenl was posttble because eddangeroui deilgn charactertiitei that make the RBMK-rapklie-moderaltdvulnerable to aecidentimany of iheir deficiencies cannot quickly and cheaply be remedied, the RBMK will continue lo be considerably list lafe than other type realtors, and planned safety enhancements will not rail' theie reactors to Wtttern safety standards. 1

Construction of Soviet nuclear plants has been ham-pered by Inefficient design burtaueraeiti. bottlenecks tn eemponem manufacturing, and onrrambtliona yian-ntng that resulted in some subttamlard construction The chief design engineer for the ventilation lyitem of ihe Kursk and Chernobyl' nuclear power Italians40ood txatnplr id industry's use af Inferior components. The Chernobyl' and Kursksystems were built from ungahanlied sheet steel to reduce cost. Simitar problems withand workmanship halted work protects at the Rostov nuiUor plant In. Indicating llun Ihese conditions are widespread in ihe Industry

On the eve of theripyai' rrsideat. In an article publnhed by the Ukrainian literary weekly literalurna Uijilna. aitempted to draw aiientionroblems at Chernobyl's unitundeeshortages of skilled labor.materiali. unsafend unrealistic building protrums. Further revelations of precarlcm, safety conditions prevailing at the planteport from the trial of those responsible for Ihe accldrm at Chernobyl'. Al ihe July trial the technical eammlllion of experts charged the expert mens that commenced before ihe acetdrntontinuationeries of similar and unsuccessful reiearch projectear mlihapimilar experimentS. The Soviet!apanese visitor this September that the experiment wai Initially proposed at ihe Leningrad and tekutsk nuclear power planis but was refuted. It wot then done al the Chernobyl'plant.,

Soviet Account of Accident to the IAEA in Henna

I he official Soviet venlon of ihe accident, aslo Ike International Atomic Energy Agency IIAEAI in Vienna ams largely accepted in the Weil. Based on the conclusions of ihe Soviet Government ctnmmlistan Investigating theIhe world's worn nuclear accident was causedungled attempt toinor part of ihe lafety system off ihe Chernobyl' nuclear power plant. The experimentcheme to use the rotational inertia of the turbogenerators toelectricity lone-half minute gapthe loss af normal power and the beginning of auxiliary power supply in the etrnl af the loss of normal supplies of eleetrtilty. The operators were

under pressure lo carry out the test, linee another

opportu-ity would not prlienl Itself until the next


According to the Soviet eeeouni at the IAEA meet' ing. tht experiment was neve uffictotly approved and was noi executed according to plan. The operators allowed ihe reactor toighlyesult of delibreately disabling tome safely systemseries of delayi and mishaps. When the exp-rlment began, the rate tf coollng-waier flow decreased, leading to Incrtailng water temperature In Ihe core and Increased tltam formation. Becauseeilgn characteristic of tht Chernabyl'-lype reactors, ihe Increased steam conttnl in tht coreower increase that euitkly ran out af control. The power excursion ruptured fuel channels, and the pressure af the escaping iieom blew opart ikecore and caused severe damage to the reactor building. Eyewitnesses rrportoud expiO-lion and seeing sparks and burning chunks flying high Into the nlghi sky abovetours onpril. The burning chunks fill hack onto thtf surrounding bulldlngi and itarttd several fires.

Akhromcyc* imlefense Sergey Sokolov lo gohernobyl* ind Uke charge of tbe chemical Hoops (here. Within minutes of his meeting with these officials and less than two hours after the accident occurred. Pikalov alerted the mobilized military units

io Kiev. He and the Aral brigade ol chemical iroopt arrived In Kiev Jail overour* ofier Ihe explosion aad. toon alter, act up hcadqoarien in the diy of Chernobyl'. IS kilometer* from ihe burning reactor. By the eveamg ofpril the chemical troop* acre conducting radiological reconnaissance and contlnu-ou* monitoring of radiation level* and weaiher data in Ihe area surrounding ibe devastated Chernobyl* plant. According io General Pikalov. ihe health altualion in Pripyai' bad sharply deteriorated ihrough the night ofh. and0 hours onpril the planning toersons from rripyat' had begun.

Pikalov'i account confirms Bori* Sbcherblna't SUte-Bteat atay prcas conference lhat at and other member* of the commmloi were on tbe scene literallyew boars'* of the explosion. This scenario strongly suggests thai the leadership had the Informa-lion channels ii needed lo evaluate tbe situation, despite the pen:stern Soviei line (hat "internaldifficulties" had been the cause of ihe initialealing with tbe disaster, ll abo luggests that, while the decuionmaker* began lo react to the trisli by at least the alWoooo ofh. ufeguardlng the population was not iheir first priority.

F-aeuatloo aw DeeciataaslaaUoa

Tbe Soviets initially respooded lo the accidcat as if ilocal emergency ocrihried tof the Cberaobyf' nuclear power plant. Even after it was known that high levels of radioactivity were present, the accident was handled al firstite emergency. Thousand* of plant worken and their familial la the city ofocated onlyilometer* from the stricken plant, were neither informed aboul lhcnor instructed to take precaution* against raduv lionacsatlon was Initiatedoon after the accident. Apparently there were no olf-iiteevacuation plans, and additional evacuation within thekilometer corrtamloation zone continued for two weeks.illion people Irving In Kiev, located lessilometer* south of tha reactor, were not warned publicly about iha hazard until nine days later

. af Pripyat'

lu al evacuation of the eiiy of Pripyat' look placei alter the Initial release of radiation.

Whatknow of pnpyat'i evacuation It based entirety on Soviet rnrospretlvt acteunti. stare no television pictures or photographt of Prlpyot' fust before or ofier the dramatic evacuation have been released. *

In later months, the press described the exodus at an orderly and efficientaravan of moreusrt mostly from Kiev, got under wary on Sunday afternoon, carrying the tcmmipropieine that stretched for almostilometres Theoperation took lets lhan three hours, ashort lime lo move to many people.

Despite ihli Impressive achievement, firsthandaf local officials directly Involved In ike evacuation pericture of dltorranliaiion.tprrulatloa there were no evacuation plans for am event tweh as the one unfolding at Chernobyl'. The Soviet press details how cdficlali hastily decided on where lo movearge number of people: how to assemble Ihe transportation: and what resources io tap lo shelter, feed, and provide medical services for such ts large number of evacueet One Kiev Obkom official sold lhat shortly before the rvacuoJloa ait Information group composed tsf oblast party officiali. militiamen, and voluntary pollerear from house to house Informing the resident! af the evacuation. The people were given less than an hour's advance warning, and no additional Information wax provided for fear ofanic.

visited the Chernobyl'tile, the etnrrem Chernobyl' plant director told that after the accident people reacted veryecauie they had no previous emergency exercises about whal to do after an accideni and stressed the need forublic education program for people living around nuclear plants.

official figure on ihe number of people eventually evacuated from Ihe Ukraine and flcloruttia. bui ihe loeal number or those who left the area ia probably muck hit tier In addition,hildren were evacuated fromndiom poinu A'toruttia lo Pioneer camp* and summer rcsortt

Initially, confusion teemed to reign among ibe offi Ctata on the apOt. who teemed totally unprepared to dealaiaalrophc of iueh mainitude.ater erToci to captain the delay in Ihe evacuation ofrcaidium member of ihe USSR Academy of Scicncct and the firsi deputy director of the prestigious Kuichatov Atomic Energy Institute,S visiting nuclear delegation ihai it waa an appropriate precaution taken to protect tbc people becauic the radioactivead traveled over tbe likely evacuation route. Information released at the trial of ihe Chernobyl' plant managers this July, however, revealed that no effort was made byctab lo check Ibc radiation levels in ihc city inined iatc afitrmaih and thai the nuclear plant had no off-site measuring capabilities CourtalsothaiaialT ai ibe plant was ordered by plant ofiiciiis to keepQuiet about radiation Ictb and that ihey reported to their superiors lower levels of radiation than actually measured. As noted, ihe first comprehensive readings of radiation levels in Pripyai" were made on ihe evening ofpril by the chemical troop* who arrived earlier that day.esult, schools and shorn tinycd open onoril and residents went about their buiincu as usual

The Soviets responded lelatively quickly loteams to surrounding areas to screenAccording to the vice president ofof Medical Sciences, there werecare personnel involved, grouped into(cams, mostly from the Ukraiiuan sndmedicaliih support frommedical teams. Nevertheless, there -ereof medical personnel, med equipment.

fC esult, (he evacuee* were forced to wait

o.'i, periods of limee processed at relocation centers, where ihey receiver'a

shower, and clean clothing.

ra Contain Caianrepke

Wkm the Pripyat"firemenhe fire nr ih* aaaeseur power fiat oil, mtnutet afteradiaoeilre (loud, ihey did mot know the fall extent af the aetident. Tht thiefVD directorate. MaJ. Gem. V. At. Komlyehuk lold liters lurna Ukralna in May lhal the menage alerting ihe firemen Indicated only lhal there was afire In iheen the firemen arrived on ihe scene of ihe burning reaelor. within mlnuies of ihe accident, ihey found that Ihe roof over the control room was burning and part of It had already collapied. Fires hod broken oat al different levels af iheoot high structure housing ike reactor and were threatening to tpreod to the other reactor. The firemen hadpecieJ equipment txetpt for the face mask, breathing apparatus, and heavy heae reliuam rmter clothing uondardiremen't uniform i

The firsi shift of firefighim fought for twoalf noun before rttnforcemtnli came from nearby towns. Col. Lfsidd P. Telyatnikov. the planis fire chief and ihe only survivor of the traup af firefighters who first scaled the eoof to put out ihe fire, tald that they worked unlll thry weakened and collapsed from rodiallon exposure burns, although at ihat time he thought ii was from pkyilcal exhaustion Many of the firemen hadnhal dote of radiation by the nme ihe fire was extinguished1 hours. All six firemen working alomgnde Irlyoimkov died, giving

their Uvet to contain afire thai, left unchecked, could

'Spread the nuclear d> miter lo ihe other reactors

in the Chernobyl'plant

ml Forces units from ihe three miliiary districts in ihe Immediate vicinity of iheKiev Military Districtbe nctorusstan MD. and tbc Carpathian* key role in ibe evacuation. Military personnel performed irafhe control, provided eaiensrve medical support, assisted withand food distribution Curiously. Ibe Soviet civil defence, which is responsible for rescue and recovery fiom peacetime disasters in addition to its wartime icipomlbility. did not playmajor role In ihe

In ihe evacuation, umay have uatiUcn-(ioAallr aggravated the potentially dangerous hcalih situation, while others indicated that protection ol" in citizens was nol always ibe lop priority. Foi example;

la the Pripyat' countryside, where anotherlived, callle and bonea from ibc Hatefarms surrounding ibe city.ay after ibe city waaPeople followed in buses aboutour,to the Kiev Oblast deputy chairmanihe animals were moved 6mwere needed to load0 head

indicate test people from some ninges located

1itarrigters from (be oily of Pripyai* were not

moveday.ays after ihe accident.

kilometer evacuation'rone, csiablnhed within the dratours after the accident, was chosen because il encompaitod (he general population living around the reactor and did not necessarily correspond to the actual areas of Ugh radioactivity. Legator admitted io Western scaeoiittt thai later radiation calculationseed to adjust the rone to make il correspond more closely lo lhc actual diitribution of radiation Eleven villages in Pcsesskiy Rayon Inmany of Ihc Pripyat' people were initiallyforced to reevaoaaie after radiation levels were reassessed to be unsafe Later. Moscow rVrwr entreated local officials for rushing to resettle ihese villages Inside ihe zone to give an appearance of normalcy without proper consideration for Ihe safely of the inhabitants

Despite conlinaing concerns ansesi*.scientist a. noevacuations were

confidential report intended for Gorbachevthai some inhabitants of the Chernobyl' region were actually resettled la contaminated areas outside the JO kilometer zone. The report was aa anempt by Soviet scientists to alert Gorbachev to iheir discovery lhal the prevailing wind deposited radioactive parit-dea from the radioactive plume In an irregular pattern. According to Ihe tourcc. isolated hoi snots could be foundulorneters lo the east of the power plant where many Inhabitants of the Chernobyl' region were resettled (sec figure I)

they consid-

econd evacuation, bovKi authorities did not exercise ihis option, probably because Ihey wanted to avoid further dislocaiiont. While some selectivebeyondkHomeler tone wai observed (tear Gomel' aad Chernigoverision io expand ihe evacuation rone toilometers would hive displaced an0 civilians inBelmutita alone,ime when the designated receiving areas were overflowing wilb Chernobyl' evacuees


Moreover, lhc Soviets did no preventive evacuation, with the exception of the extensive evacuation of children In the broaderor example, although Mogilev Oblast inilometeriest of Chernobyl', received sufficientI-ooi from heavy rains onadpril to prompt officials to close many wells, icripe and remove layers of contaminated soil, and ban sale and consumption of local milk and meal and vegetables, only the children were evacuated. Tens or thousands of people in Ibe coc laminated villages were nol evacuated andminimal information about ibe dangers of radiation, aoctxding to Ibe layor. chief physician.

The evacuation of the nearby town of Chernobyl'a population ofnly after (adaalaoo kvctsay. Delaying ibc evacuiioo Untilallowed May Day festtivilie* lo take placeas well as in Kiev, as If

busesrucks lhal came loay were the same buses lhal came

tf.IviUh Ik*

kinetrttnm icachtn and, while chiMnn1tvarailnl -li* iSeii moilitn to -nation

from Kievtailici to evacuate Pripyai'. They hid been decent! mi ruled and returned in Kio in lime for lhc two-day May Day celebration them After Ihc fealivitio* wore over, ihe buses returned to Chr*ra>byriooootinuewithihee*aeuition.


newspaper irtlcloi have admitted numctoui foul-ups. suggesting the evacuation was for less orderly than the media Aril repotted An initial attempt lo keep records wai quickly abandoned, and liter it was difficult for families to find each other because they were scattered to ihe farfluni vitiates in thearea. One Soviei documentary called rtightmarishhere children becamefrom their parents and families were divided. For weeks some people did sue know where family members were or bow long they would have to stay io Iheir newome csrVcuU enmplsioed in ibe press thai ihey could not always tell the parents where Iheir children were gent because some cantos were refusingske Ihc children from ibe Chcrao-brTarua,

Some individuls were even left behind ia theAeeordtng loSoviet account, two elderly woman were discovered in iheir house ia Pripyai' iwg months later, apparently living on whai was left in ihe house They reportedly stayed because they did not wanl lo abandon Iheir domestic animib. which were not evacuated

Tbe dispersion of Ihe Chernobyl' evacuees spread fear and rumorsipple effect far beyond the borders of Ihe Ukraine and Belorussia to oreas as far away as Siberia. KirghUiya. Uzbekistan, and the BalticMany people resented the Chernobyl' refugees became they took scarce housing from local families and factories were compelled to lake workers for whomo iobt. An engineer from the Chernobyl' plant spoke of the callousness andhe encountered while lookingob after reseltlemeni. Jokes circulating In the Siberian city ofa large number of evacuees werethe resentment local people fdi toward Ihc refugee* who exacerbated ibe chronk bousini shortage there For eaimple. "Ob,art meat was taken from you' Do not worry, the leseiller*ighrate."

Many in ihe general papulafeared tbebecause of ibe widespread belief lhalwas cMUgiout and (hii ihe evacuees couldhealthy population In Eatoni*.rumorlhal ibe normal death rate rose In Tallinn*rri.a| of iflOO Ukrainian and Bclonusianan elderly

couple who arrived by train Irons Kievarly May having trouble getting their Moscow relatives to take them in, even after ihey were checkedosimeter at theetter from one Chernobyl' displaced person, which appeared In Ihe press, perhaps best summarizes Ihc feelings of tbc evacuated population: "In an instant, we lost oururriends, surroundings, oui whole microworld.*

Rtttrriu, SKomlict th,* tml'm,'aar.e, Tbe recovery force it Chernobyl' consisted of ten* of thousands of people Moat were military reservists and regular miliiary and civil defense troop* Despiie lee high public profile lhal ihe Soviet modi* acoxesoettbc Chernobyl' veJuoiecrs. evidence f*

Jiodieaie*ieseVprcsd callup of aaffJkaau reservistseood of twoonths provided tbe main work force ia Ihc crmUnunated

In addition ioene recoverybeen caponed to relaiivdy high levels ofAccording Io their owa statement, thepermitted the worken lo be exposed iocourt lent manccording ioguideline* for permissiblercm dose Is aprecoriate only for *number of people and, preferably,nuclear officials told a

visiting Ihe zone In7 that0 persons were still working in the zone, half of them military personnel More recent guidelines indicate that these men are now being limitedotal dote of 5internationally acceptedtransfered.'

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resta* i

afahM hptr ta* i

A Soviet reporter who wrote live unusually calid articles to the Estonian Komsomol ntwipjpei Soattr llaal described the treatment of letetviits fiom Fsio nil ii tl brutal and theii working eondiiions ai danter* out and harsh. The articles stated lhat several workers became lick from high levels of radialion. and lome menosed themselves lo high levels lo receive an early discharge (tee figure il'

According to an accounttockholm daily, some Estonianiitc'cd decontamination ciuiir. in the Utainc byribeublesigh-ranking military oAVaal in Estomi. who has since been arrested. (Reportedly, thii tame ofltcial etwaei-ed twice that lo escape duly in Afghanistan.)ihe claim that be has been arretted and executed has been denied by TASS. be had already been pubbctyhe Soviei media for abuse of oflxe

Haodllatg of Information

The Kremlin's silence of almost three days ember-raised ihe Soviet leadersime whea they warn just begirmrng to proclaim Gorbachev's new policy of openness. The ofucial Soviei newi agency TASS made lhc first brief announcement0 hours,pril, and only after angry demands forfrom Sweden, lhc first country lo announce fallout detected from ihe stricken Chernobyl' plant In many ways. Moscow's initial response to the Chernobyl' nuclear accident waihat In Ihe KAL ihootdowa in 1WJ. when an information black-oui was imposed aetil internalwosI pressurerudging admission of the event, followed by acounterattack

. somelime eaity in themet resistance from all Politburo membeis eieept KGB

In the initial period after tbe eiplosion. there were indict lions thai dilTereaces among lop Soviet leaders about how much information lo provide ibe public may have contributed to delays and missiew l

^^orbacbi s< illy in thelet chief Cbebtikov and Russian premier Vorotnikov, in his attempt to persuade the Politbuio to release infer ma lion qaackty. Oosc GorbachevMoscow party boss Borisdefensive aboui Ibe initial delay. Party Secretary Dobryniri gave the impresaior

that ihe Politburo had pee* divided over how much lo reveal and lhat Gorbachev was overruled when he recommended prompt airing of Ibe newt C

It is possible that rumors of tension within the leadership were orchestrated to mini mi ie Gorbachev's personal responsibility. Reportedly,iiainiaa party boas VUeUmirfal Politburocontacted Gorbachevoar of the accident risking for instructions and wa directed to say nothing. In public, al least, Soviet othcials have justified the delay on grounds thai il wu necessary to avoid public alarm. Thus, for eiample. tbe deputy director of the Institute of Power Engineering. Ivan Ya. YemePyanov. who was later fired for hisrole in the RBMK reactor design, told the Italian Communist Party paper Unita la lata May lhat it was not in the public interest to release criticallo the people. He (old ihe Interviewer the regime opted for le'ecuie release of iaferrnaboo loide of peine because "we could not cause terror in Kiev."

This logic wai apparently prevalent among thosescene Some local oflVialt. tacfa as theat the Pripyat' hospital, were alerted losituation soon after the eiplosion. whenbegan to receive the tl-sl casualties fromthe

health officers began monitoring (be radialion levels al ihe hospital but failed to inform ihe ciiy pnpula-ttoo. Pripyat" residents appearingoviet docu-menify said these same hearth officers even denied that an accident had occurred when Questioned by some citizens.

The O'il Defease Rett im Chernobyl'

The Chernobyl'accident provided ihe firstio study the performance of the Soviet civilwhen confrontedarge-scaleThe civil defense program, aunder military control. I, responsibleand recovery from peacetime disastersto Its wartime responsibilities. On theSoviet unclassified

tht program, we cxpettjd civil defense naffs and military civil defense urUtS toeading role In tht evacuation and cleanup of Chernobyl: These staffs and units, however, did not respond as we had anticipated. Although military dvll defense units were active throughout the cleanup effort, theyeared to perform support functions, while chemical defense staffs, MVD uniu, and various pany and governmental organizations played (ht key roles. CMI defense uniu assisted In decontaminating,traffic, coordinating logistics, and monitoring radiation levels: we do nol think, however, that they were Involved In the evacuation. More surprising Is the lack of visibilily of civilian dvll defense staffs at Ihe plant and In surrounding rayons. Although some dvll defense personnel assisted In the cleanup, the staffs did not participate on the whole

The fad that civil defense did notrominent role was reflected in Soviet media coverage of lhc aeddem. We expected the Soviets to use the accident as an opportunity to stress tht Importance of the program to the general population The press has made few references to the actions of the dvll defense forces. One article published tn7 revealed public crltldsm of Ihe local dvit defense authorities

foe their part tn the response. At the same lime, civil defense has not received outright criticism from the Itadtrshlp and civil defense personnel have not been publicly charted with criminal action. Although we think thai the replacement of ihe Chief af ihe USSR Civil Defenseew months after the accident was pari of Gorbachev's plans to revitalise Me Mints-try of Defense, the timing, as noted, was reportedly related to displeasure with the performance of civil defense forces In the cleanup.

We have not yet been ableesolve the various explanations for the limited dvll defense partldpa-llon. One theory Is thai dvll defense personnel may have made serious errors In the Initial stage of the Occident, thereby reauiring the military to takecontrol. The Immediate Invalvtmertt of General Pikalov and the lack of crltldsm In the press, howev- r. does not support thisecond theory is thai dvll defense forces may not have been Involved more because other assets were more readilyCivil defense forces have responded to other peacetime disasters, but the scope of the Chernobyl' accident may have been beyond reasonableof peacetime adlvtty by iht dvll defensehird theory Is that our expectations may have been inflated by Incorrectly interpreting Soviet dvllwriting as describing the current civil defense mission Instead of long-term, not yet realisedt

Anotriti of ihe crrff trfenieU

nhamlnt SOVA rapt wai madeeep Kiev, uritfa It*population, completely in the dartApril, travel was cut off to the city for US anddiplomats

population cad

radUlion-rnonitoring equipment was confiscated by the KGB from Kiev area institutes and laboratories.

Hid) in

J immediately after the accident was announced, administratorsInstitute of Cybernetics, where the sourcecolleague* from posting radiation levelssuch information wasuchonly reinforced public concern, andand other equipment were returnedtwo weeks

A deliberate ibow of normalcy prevailedicher ballkiy. who art* not an ardciu caponefll of ftainotl at Ihli lune The republic central newspaper onpiil carried only the brief TASSon the accident. Not even iiidimentary infoema-lion about the accident and the potential health hazard* wai nude availableiev resident! until several days laier. The Ukrainian Health Mlnitter Analoliy Komanenku gave thepublic health warning* to the citiiens of ibe republic on imoreeek after the accident In Besorutsit such warning* were provided even later.

Some aoutces suggest that fuller information on the accident was at-.lablc to local party and fovei nrnent officials, despite the initial reassuring lone of ihe media Forormer Russian jouinaliltestern interviewer thai bis editorial officea steady flow of alarming reports oa the second day of ibe accident bai was lorbaddea to print ihe information. Consequently, the office released only the official TASS reports.

Praoariada Counterattack

Oocc ihe Soviets realized tbey could not conceal lhc accident, theyublic relations effort thate imprint of Gorbachev's glainast policy. In addition toarge amount of information about the Chernobyl" accident. Moscow employed several otber tactics designed to minimize itsfor what happened, restore popular confidence in tbe legime, regain credibility abroad, and shift blame to ibe West for exploiting Soviei problems Tbe authorities have

Alleged lhat ihe icactor safetythe Chernobyl' accident- -have been more common and serious in the West.

Depvctrd the mishapailureandful of people rather than of the system and highlighted tbe courage and self-iicrifice of ihe Soviet people In dealing with it (see figure )|

Denounced Western media for making cotitkal capital from Soviet misfortune and used Ibe nuclear mishap lo push Soviei arms control proposals (see figure *i-

Played down in media accounts the long-term health risks aad emphasized progress iaand recovery operations

tilm a. illIWWi'm

toiitrj ith nefrotiirr of Ike Win uodtr iV cWIM Vrrodlaikm h

Tht i'ri" itell oui 'tfoailnt otr Other'I miliar-

law 'V ike npa readcrliaikm "nd -OMtSoiiH Muhooi,AMrateaar.1'

to Wcsiern observers ibe compassionate, humane face ol iSoviet Governmentragic accident and to promote himselfecurrent theme has been Ihat lhc aceidenl demonstrates the need for removal of the endear -capons from Europeonflia could unleash the radiationof dozens of C r byl's. He also used the occasion to announce an extension of (he Soviei nuclear test moratorium

OOrrlsg Up Scapegoats

To minimize its responsibility for what happened, the regime blamed lower level officials for mishandling the situation in ordernsulate lop leaders from criticism. Minister for Power and Electrification Ana-tolly Mayorcts, the official directly responsible for ihe power plant, was sharply reprimanded Several other senior off-nils were fired outright for (hear ittcompc-leni performance, including Ihe Chairman of the State Committee for Safely In Ihc Nuclear Power Induitry. Yevgenly Kulov, for "falling lo ensure compliance with safelyeveral local functionaries were also removed for being inatieniivthe needs of (he evacuees (see table)

Meanwhile, plant ofliciab have been tried fot their involvement. At the Chernobyl' trill in Julyinitially open to international press and subsequently

conducied behind closedformer director of the Chernobyl' nuclear plant, Victor Dryvkhsnov, his chief and deputy chiefFomin and Ansioiiythree less teniaewereof safety regulations vioialioos thai led to loss of life They received tenteoecs ia labor camps, ranging from two toears.urther admonition lo bureaucrats that they will be bead accountable for Iheir actions, the regime tcportedly plans to bring to trial the people maponiibtc for the design flaws In the reactor

The easing out6 of three Central Committee members, rumored to share some blame for tbe accident, suggcau Gorbachev also used lhc nuclear disaster to eliminate scene eiderty holdovers from the Brezhnev era:

President of the USSR Academy of Sciences Ana-toliyreportedlyart in thelthough be was well above retirement age and rumors about his prospective retirement circulated for some time, be publicly criticized his own perforrtnancc and busied that mistakes he made regarding Chernobyl' helped prom pi his retirement.

ycir-old Minuter for Medium Machine Building Yefim Slavskiy. whose oeganiialion is responsible fot ibe military nuclear program and fot handling nuclear fuel for civilian reactors, also retired ineveral months after bis first deputy was Sled because of tbc accident.

Deputy Defense Minister responsible for civilAlehsandrorganizationwas ill equipped to deal with theretired sometime during6

Despite Gorbachev's interest in using tbe accident against the old guard, one up Brezhnev protege-Ukrainian party leader Vladimirso far managed lo survive, despite rurnon ibatwanted to useaOtcrnobyr against hlin

bcherbitskiy was able to escape blame for ihe accident, and we have no evidence that



Political Fallout From Chernobyl' (continued)

of the evacuation hai been laid al hie doorstep

j be was treating Gorbachev'siastrwetaon* to keep Quiet after thecameable, at insurance againstby the General Secretary to force himc_

bitskiy had refused to sign an approval for activating tbe Chernobyl' nuclear plant at ill completion,instead that tbe permit be signed by Mos* cow. Thb maneuvering may have helped Shcherbits-kiy avoid blame for theorbachev could still bsc the aocadeni as oae poictill of indkt-mcot. should he decide to move atainsi Shchcrbitskry or other officials linked to Chernobyl', bat thiiprogressively lesi likely as more time passes.

The Costt ol Chernobyl'

In termi of domestic public opinion, the regime clearlyrice for tbe accident. (Ia handling of the event, ai least initially,redibility gap for tbe leadcnhip and has heightened publicabout the safety of nudear power, public health, and the eavtroranaeoL It also gave new impetus lo environmental groups, highlighting the strong eovi-ronmentilut bent of intellectuab who consulrowing lobby. Meacow's callup of mostly non-Russian ir ir. .mi lo cleaa up Chernobyl' iparked some nationalist dissent. Although the economicIs expected be only abort term, the cost of cleaning up and safely modifications will have a

minor advene effect on Gorbaehev'i economiceffort nnd will make it harder Tor the regime to deliver on iu promises of better health care, more homing, and safer work conditions.

Dararge to Retime CridlblHly andthe abort term, Moscow's failure to discloseabout the Chernobyl' nuclear accident tothousands of whom have been (fleetedway, exacerbated feare, createdandumor mill churning. Ain September that

she was outraged at tbe authorities foi withholding timely information and accused officials ofpostponing public announcement of the disaster until after tbe May Day celebration to show happy Kievatts dancing In theoke circulating in tbe city some time later shows that public opinion reined this citizen's feelings toward Ihe authorities: "On May Day, tbe faces of demonstrators in Kiev wereesidents also cite the international annual bicyclewas permiiied to take place through the city streets one day after the May Day celebration, despite the possible health hazards and withdrawals of some foreignan example of leadershipadiologist in Kiev sent hts wife and children to Moscow because he believed the authorities would Issue false radiation levels.

Soviet citizens received no immediate initructioos on how to protect themselves against radiation, bul neighboring countries such as Poland and Finland were warning iheir people- Residents of Kiev and Other Soviet citizens found thb particularlyMany in Kiev heard lhat Poland, for example, bad dispensed iodine pills for children undern its northwestern provinces to protect themhe Kievans reportedly resorted lo their own version of anand vodkato

A Documentary Film

One of ihe most extraordinary example! afglasnost policy lo dale came from iwo Soviet journalists aulgnedover iht accident at: Lev Nlkolayev and Altkiandr Kruto* reported on the accident almost from ihe very beginning and subsequentlyocumentary film from Ihe daily coverage of the immediate aftermath calledhe film, which was shown to Soviet eltliens on ihe first anniversary af the accident, captures In honest and unsparing detail the "unthlnk-able" catastrophe.

The documentary opensanoramic shotelicopter of Ihe destroyed reactor: the red glow from Ihe burning graphite Is slllt clearly visible on the morning afh of April. In one of ihe sequences, the film shows the clinic at Pripyat', which received the first casualties suffering from radiation sickness and burns. The commentator asks the chief -physician why he did not warn ihe people of Pripyat'. "It was not my tphere ofhe doctorripyat'health worker Ii seen telling thelhai local officials covered up ihe accident and turned away people who offered their assistance, saying that nothing had happened. She alio said thai the "management" had emergency plans available, yet. they did not even tell us lo close ihe windows and doors, and allowed our children go to school.'


citizens in Kiev heard aboui the disaster. Many ciiy icsidcnis said that tbey realized that something toy serious occurred at Chernobyl' when families of party members suddenly left fornpril.

I party members were the first to be

resentments were probably further fueled by rumors that ihe oarty elite was taking specialtl

J Ukrainian pany boss Shcherbliskiy had ordered Ihe evacuation of members ol the ruling strata and iheir families before any of ihe ordinary

Faced with the initial information blackout, some Soviei citizens lurned to Western radiobroadcasts, oihen relied on connections to party and government


official* who had more complete information orcontacts with foreigner* to tell (hem whu

Gorbachev's subsequent, openness and domestic te-fonn measures have deflected public attention from Crtcrnobyl'onsiderable extent, and the heavy play given to alleged foreign overreaction to the catastrophe had some success in shifting public anger to the West. Many citizens accepted Soviei propthat the West was responsible for the panic and hysteria surrounding Chernobyl' and lhat thepresented less public danger than the Three Mile Island accident or the Bhopal toxic gat leak: that killed moreersons

Although many Soviet citizen* noi directly aflected by the nccident appear to have accepted thexpUtaattort, those in the affected regions continue to fault top officials for initially concealing theaccident, and tome ihtnk the regime's response to tbe disaster showed tbe insincerity of thetrongly worded indictment of ineompe. tence, which appeared in the7 monthly Yunoti-In the form of public letters, accused local oaksaU at Pripyat' and Kie-of criminal irresponribtl-ity tor their role in ihe coveriip. The fifeonid Tcryalnikov. who risked hit life pulling out the fire at Ihe plant oo ihe night of (he explosion, was quoted by Ihe Soviet magazine Smena as saying he was ashamed

of local Communist party officials who failed to use their power to protect the population after the disaster.

Some Soviei intellectuals were angry wiih the regime for failing to be honest. However, ihey blamed the lechnocrais tor ihe accident, believing that tbe tradi-I'roaal arrogant altitude of nuclearwillingness lo take ritk* for the sake of scientific progress at the expense of thebeen the root cause of ihe Chernobyl' disaster. Some ordinary ciiizeni share ibis poini of view with lhc intdlectuals. Because tbey believe that this altitude is pervasive among Ihe Soviet technocrats, the public is reluctantccept the regime's assurances ihai tbe safety of the Soviei nuclear plants has been improved in ibe aftermath of Chernobyl'

Health Problems

Despite Gorbachev's success in overcoming the initial embanaismcni and, even to some extent, turning the issue to hit favor, there hare been real long-term human costs, particularly in.the affected region. The chaotic nature of the evacuationumber of the evacuees and stirred fear and resentment among the general population, thus broadening the psychological impact of the accident. The handling of the evacuation has contributed to public anxiety about healthhich the regime ha* been unable to allay fully. Moscow's concern thai public fears will have serious economic consequences includingance to traosfetl of workert to tbe region, inability lo *ell products from the region, and increased demand for medical services by fearful people have already been borne out

Although Ibe final human toll from the effects of radiation will be difficult for scientists to predict, many ofvacuee* fromkilometer zone have been exposed to sufficiently high levels or radiation to increase their risk or long-term health problems. The regime apparently acknowledged this lad when it Named local party leaders and miniiiry officials ai the recent trial or Chernobyl' planlfor failing to properly protect the population from the effects of radialion fallout and for delaying Ihe evacuation ,

As fxeoccutniion with ibe massive evacuationhai turned to ihe impact of Chernobyl'long-lerm health of the general populace.estimates claim that over theould be responsible for up iocancer deaths in the Soviet Union.have publiclyuch lowerhave assured iheir citizens that ihefrom Chernobyl' will not significantly addnormal incidence of cancer. Although mostWestern estimates agree wilh Ihe Sovietpublic remains skeptical, and anxiety overpersists. In an open teller toesident offathered tbe slow evacuation from iheblamed the authorities for jeopardizing

Given the psyche-logical reaction to the disaster of many SovieU who probably have not sufferedhealth effecu of radialion, the accident's full impact on social attitudes has been out of proportion to the actual risk. Despite evidence to thearge segment of the Soviet population believes there will be dire health consequences from the accident and continues to link iu poor health to the Chernobyl* radialion fallout

Articles ia the Soviet press Indicate that anxiety about radiation fallout has not completely subsided in the general population, and the rumor mill is stiltInb, letters to Ihe Belorusiian daily Sovetskaya Betorutstyo eritlcired the behavior of the authorities following the accident for failure io inform the population aboul the risk to which they were exposed, and demanded to know why children were not evacuated from towns in Bclorussia just withinkilometer zone Ft

Tbe psychological consequences of the Chernobyl' accident are likely lo be long term, for tbe public will continue io link even unrelated cancers, geneticand other illnesses to the disaster:

A year after Ihe accident, doctors from the new Center for Radialion Medicine in Kiev reported ihai much of ihe population is atTected by aof radiophobia. am. hat many of those who

Rumor Mill

In the absence of factual Information, some Western reporters estimated the Immediate death toll In Ihe thousands, with thouiandi more soon to follow. They alio speculated lhai the water supplies servingillion people In Kiev were contaminated. Stories filtering bach Into ihe USSR via Westernwere matched by those spread by ihe Soviet ellliensood example Is the well-publicised storyormer Soviet dissident who lived In Kiev at the lime of the nudear accident. Ne Insisted lhat Soviet authorities covered up the deaths in Kiev hospitals of0 persons from the town of Pripyat' who died thonly after the accident from radiation sickness. Rumors circulated lhat:

took part in ihe cleanup show clinical changes described as situation neurosis unconnected with radiation.

Kiev physicians hare come up against theconsequences of Ihe Chernobyl" accident. Kiev radio announced on7 lhat, in the span of several days, more0 cityrequested eompleie medical checkups at Kiev's clinics.

a famous Soviet

athlete recently pressured the RSFSR sportsto transfer his daughter, an Olympicfrom Kiev, to another city. Shehild who was sick, and she believed that her son would not gel better at long as they remained in Kiev in the "indialion-polluted atmosphere."

Kiev was being evaluated to Moscow, and all the roads leading from Chernobyl' were clogged wiih refugees fleeing ihe explosion.

The streets of Chernobyl' were full of deadnd animal

There was no food or water In ihe Ukraine.

Many people died before ihey could be evacuated and had been thrown into common graves and buried by bulldozers.

as far away as Leningrad worried aboui whooping cough and diphtheria among the children last winter because they feared thai their resiitance may have been lowered due to the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl'.

A doctor told CZ

ho was diagnosed asalignant brain tumor in Augusther cancer might be related to the effects of radiation fromTheunlikely, even though there are fast-growing brainihai trained professionals may be subject to the same over reaction.

Local officials appear lo be aware of tbe public mistrust but have been unable to stem ii. In on interview with Western journalists last December. Ukrainian Health Minister Romanenko said some people In tbe Chernobyl'-Kiev area arc askinglood test everyays, "three times more often thanThe blood test measures changes in the bone due to radiationlthoughhorilies brush aside such public concern as rumor and ignorance, they admit that,ear later, the population remains skeptical and refuses to beby officials. Romanenko expressedress conference on Chernobyl* tint anniversary, saying that many silll continue to stay indoors as much as possible, refuse lo open windows, and avoid eating many foods, despite assurances that there is noeed for such precautions

Responding to continued popular anxiciy andPravdanhe formation of special centers in Kiev and Chernigov Oblasts as well as tbc major health care centers in the city of Kiev to handle the quesiioni about health risks from radiation. The creation of such centers eight months after ihe accident indicated regime recognition that public trust hat eroded

Mcncow is sensitive to ihe credibility gap cteated by public anxiety about health issue* and has tried to counter by vigilant monitoring of information released lo Ihe public. Although Moscow haiithin the first three months of thefor public doubt remain. When the

Etiimotei af Chernobyl's Impact oa Health

Accordingraft reportS Government task force presentedeeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission IIVRC,he release of radiation from theand fire may cause upancer deaths In Europe0 additional unanticipated cancer deaths In the Soviet Union during the nextears. The interagency government task force, chaired by Harold R. Denton of the NRC. also estimated that the accident may eventually cause mental retardation in upewborn babies In the Soviet Union. These were infants born of women who were pregnant at the time of the accident ond who lived withinilometers of the nuclear reactor. NRC officials told thai the figures represent the US Government's best atstssmem at that lime of the long-term health toll from Ihe disaster.

A more recent unofficial study0 may die of cancer In the next SO years, most of them outside the Soviei Union. According to our experts, thb study does noi use reliable or complete data, but may further contribute to public uncertainty in the USSR ond Westernhe Soviets are estimating an Increaseancer deaths over the next SO years in the Soviet Union or lesserceni Of the natural death rale

Tii. informnte* I, from ihray

Soviet weekly journal feedelya disclosed in its7 edition the death of ihe filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko from radiation exposure received whiteocumentaryhronicle of Difficulthe regime reactedeonid ll'in. rice president or the USSR Medical Academy.

* SSocicrSe die*in. in .hi. cAcil! ICJI. Tfcr re*-me maintain

o iddit desthi from Ihe* -he.

oflKial ekaia loll -is pal ai ll. and Ihat orJyembers of lhc initial coso of plan -criers and Amen Sad radiation uclam

iW.IkeMwrw.of CettlvnlaotOm;

he Ukrainian republic newspaper thaisufferedatal illness before hitin fllminc cleanup operations between May andI'in also denied Nedelya's sialement that some of Sbevchenko's cameramen ate now in the hospital with radialion

Clearly. Moscow is concerned that icvclitloni such as Ihe Almmaker's death will reinforce luipKien amonif the0 that the regime Is not being candid in Its Iter intent of the health risks. Tear is probably high among the families of the lens of thousands of military and civilian personnel who were ordered to the rone fee deconuminalion work and the evacuees. Health problems among the rcservtsu. most of whom are non- Russians, could increase social tension and anti-Russian sentiments.'*

Amtiety Ortr Food and Water. In additiononcerns about overall health risks, there it evidence that considerable fear of contaminated food and water is likely to continue. The effects of Ihis concern were slill being fell in lhc farmers' markeu as recently as this rammer. According to ibe USSR Ministry of Health, all produce on sale until7 hadtamp certifying the product bad passed inspect ion'for tadistioo. Shoppers reportedly continue lo suspiciously question the vendors about Ibe origin of Ihe food and frequently askee tbe vendor's passport to be certain tbe produce was grown outside tbe Cheinobyi' region.


Fear of rod in lion-coo laminated food was not limited to Ihe affected regions. People reportedly avoided eating meal and drinking milk as far away asA resident of the city traveling abroad said, although meat was abundant in Leningrad during the summereople were afraid to buy it.powdered milk became scarce because people were buying it instead of fresh melt The source alto reported il was necessary lo call in totdiertearby military division to bulcber livestockeningrad meat factory because the workers refused

ov'II owl nr Ihr mniiui


tSm(ii> ot iht optiatktial or ihr iltitvii (Son. TTn> ctmt lion iiuoithotii ihcSovitiUkraine.

b-Im unit, rjlonli. KiitMnn. iU11

Chrenobyl'Am KoJkkoi Markrti

Tkt official banning of anything grown In Iht Cherna-byl'ttglon hai given way torumort thai Chrrnobyl't Ir/odioltd ttgttable gardens and orthardi product applet and tomaioei ed unusual ilit Many pokes capture the cllltens'continued /ears and tkeptlelim regarding official reassurances ol the safety af the fooa they tat Otut particularlyake making ihe rotnmdi It it good Illustration: An old worrtamot cow collective form market shouts. "Applet from Chernobyl', ttptdti fromisitor asks her aghatl. "Who would buy tueh applet!"She replies, "They are verybuy them for their wivet. 4t

Br locust ian kolkhoi markets were alto affected. Shoppers reportedly avoided buying plums from Be-lorusiia. fearing the fruit came from the Ukraine

j II perttmotal of'i taken this May in southern Btlormsiiatodtaatitre matter

jnolllnessts have been repotted Insince the accident

J the maittve banning afmoil Importani paihwoy ofhering groundthe overall level of exposureactor of



Wattr Snpptltl

The marthy portion of folti 'ye regionofwhich received the highest level of radioactive contamination. Isa/or agricultural area, but It contain, the headwaters of Pripyat' River, which Rows Into ihe Kiev Reservoir. The reservoir, also supplied by ihe Dnepr River provides water to someillion people

The Soviei report to the International Atomic Energy Agency In6 conceded that high levels ofre expected to be relatively perslittnt In the marshes af Belorussia and the UkraltIn ihe next few years. As long as the radioactivity remains in the marsh's plants and soil, the waiefsupplles are iu danger of contamination

To protect water reuturcts against contamination, in6 the Sovieti began to Install nonover-flow dams, filtering dikesillpecial material lo prevent the possibility of radionuclide! being washed imo the river la hazardous quantities. Pravda said at the end of6kllemeur network of such barriers had beta built arourul ihe Chernobyl' nuclear power plant wain suppliesost a!illion rubles

Dnepr hm been resumed, and coniinued reports con-ft fined that Ihc water in the Kiev Reservoir remains safe

Straia aa Health Care Syttem.esource* diverted lo irealernobyl'-related medicalaie likely to further strain the Soviet health are delivery system and intensify public care even before Chernobyl" was Inadequate to deal wuh many medical problems associated with contemporary irsdottriil society and bas beets the

object of recent criticism from lop leaders, including Gorbachev.

The medical costs of monitoring and treallng as manyfficial Sovietraduiion effects will burden the health careeam of Srivict phytici* nt visiting the United Suit* ia7 tokf an twdence of Americanthat ihc medical cost of treating tbc Chernobyl" victims and screening ihe population has reachedillion dollars (sec

The accident eipoxed widespread shortages in medical supplies and equipment To nil the gap. the Soviets have been relying heavily on Western medical eguip-ment. Much of this Weitern medical technology will be used in ihc new Kiev Center on Radiation ErTect on Humans

eported that rumors ciiculaiedeevacuation of area children, ind bottled water stocks were wiped out all ictoss the region at people stocked up for the perceived emergency


new water supply pipeline was being constructed for the irhabitants- ef Kiev. Although Kiev's caisiing water supply from tbe Dnepr River was found to be safe from coma mi aa lion, concern by the government regarding the possibility ef residual eon lamination led u> the constructionlternative water source from tbe Desna River L

Jihn assessment was not made public for fear ofurther bout of panic among the local rsopulatlon. Since then. Ihe waler supply from the

litis new AII-Union Scientific Center forof the USSR Academy ofin Kiev- has set up an all-unionmonitor ihe radii lion effects and cancerinvacuees aad other peoplesupervision csposed lo radiation, bul by earlyit bad not yetocated enough moneyout the program

"t Mil ot lhc ro-tmmcni nun million. laM a

Werirrn nrwipafw aa Jt Aprilthaiiht fwapM wfc* -etc ia iht coMtnirMtlm riwt art undo avKlleal iiipcrvlMot and

thr ml mflibti ofhtofre was

provided hy Iht UkrawatB MlaMcr of ttenfth ihl< Srptaattor

inonJu ihanti ICC.COO

lot* of hcalih profusion*o permanentreated shortages in this sexto* in the Ukraine aadccording to ihe Kiev Oblut officiab.

Opposition la Ihe Republic*

The most signlflcani long-term cost of tbe *ccidcoi may be the exacerbation of longstanding tensions and resent menu among Ihe non 'Russian minorities. This is particularly true in western non-Russian republics of tbeBaltic, Belorussia. and tbe Ukraine.

ttilailoa amnion*if-

in hk if iktrine


u^aw 1 is nol clear which organization is handling fEc program, what data the Soviets have collected, or what ihey are planning to do. This suggests that. he program has little direction from Soviei leadership, end that the prospects for adoQtmte long-term care for Ibe Soviet citizens who were pel at risk by tbe unclearUkrainians andnot guaranteed

The cost of tbe nuclearikely to be reflected not only in impaired health of evacuees but also in poorer health care provided to areas losing health care personnelesult of the exodus of people from the Chernobyl' area. Although the initial transfer of Ukrainian and Belorussian medical teams to deal with Chernobyl'-idaled patients hadhort-lerm impact on the health delivery systems, the

The Bailie. Moscow's rrsiuUitioning of food, housing, and summer places for lhc Chernobyl' evacuees and the conscription of reservists for decontainination aroused great resentment among ethnic nationals In the Baltic republic* and led to aciive protests:

stonian conscripts, who were sent to help decontaminate the Chernobyl* JO kilometer rone,ork storspage when they were told ia6 that their tour had been extended from two to six months ernonalratioa was held in Tallinn in support of the work stoppage and to protest the forcible use of nulitar? reservists for deconu ruination work.

oviet military bas* in Latorua over perceived elhnic discrimination ia the consenpooo of non-Russians for military duty al Chernobyl'.

In Larvia and Estonia, where ethnic publico* cons lit uieare majority, aureus reportedly protested the resettlement of Ukrainian andChernobyl' refugees because they viewed these Slavic "immigrants" as further evidence of Moscow's desire lo dilute llaltic nationalities.

thuan i- -I'd active demon-

strations in6 against Ihe construction there of another reactor similar to the one ai Chernobyl'.

^workers went on strike for three days in an optics factory inemanding thai food in the cafeterias he checked for radioactivity and that wages be raised.

The widely held belief that many Baltic conscripts were sent to Chernobyl' against tbeir will is bolstered byof sotdien being shot by the Soviets for refusing to do decontamination work. Even If untrue, the rumors still merit attention as aa Indication of tbe intense fear felt by those engaged In the cleanup of Chernobyl' and Ute degree of opposition to the regime's handling of the crisis. For example:

The Chairman of the Estonian Refugees Committee of Solidarity in Sweden reported thatstonians were executed in6 for refusing to take part in decontamination.

Jhis employees reported thatoviet soldiers had been executed for trying lo nm away from ibe decontamination file.

re had been

resentment among tbe Estonians over ihe use of reservists for this activity, but was told that it was not true that people had been shot.

Jtelerw'tia and ihe Ukraine. The accident does not appear to have fueled as much am (regime or aoti-Rtsssian protest in the Ukraine or Bclorussia as it did in the Baltic, but some groups have expressed strong dissatisfaction with the regime regarding Cbemobyr:


ported ihat chemical plant workers In thai cityildown strike Inver mandatory pay deduction for the Chernobyl' Aid Fund. Thereportedly shouted that they were in no less danger (from chemical contamination In this case) than ihe people of Chernobyl'.

Citing unidentified Sovietesternreported hundreds of residents in Kiev used the first anniversary of the the accidentublic demonstration to demand compensation forthey had allegedly suffered. *

Some Chrbtian believers In Ihe Ukraine expressed fear over the nudear conUmination ofear-old UkralnUn town of Cbemobyr, viewing tbeevent in religiousidelyrumor, repc-rtedly started by Ukrainian Baptists, reached Ihe West through tamltdoi sources, linking tbe events at Cbemobyl' to the apocalyptic taletar by tbe same namewhich heralds the cad of the world in tbe Book of Revelation, j

Ukrainian officii Is are probably concerned with the religious dimension because of the coniiouingwith the Protestant sects and the outlawed Ukrainian Catholic Church.'*eligiouswith Chernobyl', people have been flockingmallilometersofa schoolgirl reportedlyision of the Virgin Mary on the anniversary of the Chernobyl' nuclear disaster. According to an7 aiticle in Uieraiurnaya gazcta, moreeople converged on the village in ihe first month afier the sighting. Since then, authorities have kicked up the church where the vision reportedly appeared in an effort to discourage visitors. Despite ihai, the paper revealed thai00 faithful vhu the site dally, andoviet journal-is! covering ihe story admitted seeing the vision (see figure 6)

" ChmabyT iti banded0nurdotn and hai cUMtdHen. tarnaa important plan in Ihehiiloikal coojeiousncu

" Mateo* dbeftrrd tetoHltily la Ihe tdirMoa aauc whin tl

.lb-rd Mother Tata, lhc Nabet Ind Romta Catholic

nun. so visit Iha ChcnobvT irea talihe reawratrd So tclaarity nutlon.aatioi of hat rtqurtt woaVJ 'tsetttot

ilinllienritIn Iht Oltkitl itlttwSt toward icHtTOt teti-iu ia

ih. So-lts Unio.


evidence of popular dcnkotislrationt and protest in ihe Ukraine and Bclorussia ii generally lacking, the accidcni fueled strong criticism among iniellcctuali, who were already upiel aboul the itiing ofany nuclear reactors in the region.ecentonference sponsored by the lilcraiy journal Oruihfakrainian writer and poel Vladi-mii Yavoronkiy implicitly blamed Moscow by Minghit people paid Ihe price for ibe act idem it Chei rtobyl"ead dice of Ukrainianiniand from which the people haveThe Bcloiuttian writer Ales'hatlrong proponent of more openneit and public conuol over the nuclear power deciiioni. told an audienceilm fetiivat in Derlin lhai a

egawatt nuclear plant under coniiructlon near Mlmk had been convertedheimeekciric plant because of public protest The large Muni nuclear heat and power plant,cheduled lor completionspan-cvlarly tenotix puM*because il is situated dote to ibe eiiyopulationillion Legato* confirmedhat ihe Minak nuclear plant hai been shelved because of public

Chernobyl" ha* even been invoked by lhc Russian nationalbt group Pamyai' as pan of iu anti-Semitic arsenal to "cleanse" Jewish Influence from the Soviet Union. Thoy blamed the accident on the Zionists. Such scntimenu show CTiernobyl'a continuingto inflame ethnic and social tensions that hinder Gorbachev's efforts to unite public opinion behind bis domestic reform program.

Anttnuetear Senrintcut

The accident has further raised public consciousness about emrironmenUl issues that have receivedmedia attention under Gorbachevconcerns have contributedlimate of public activism lhat could contest Moscow's plans fornuclear power expansion in the next decade. The Ukraine, fortill scheduled tothe number of planu inromone of. each with multiple uniu. Many of these will be built near citiesillion or more, including Kiev. Khmelniiskiy.Odessa. RovDO, and Zaporozhye

Concern among sdentbts aboul the impact of nuclear plants in the Ukraine existed even beforeeek before tbe accident, tbe president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Boris Paton, publicly calledeview on siting and distribution of reactors In the republic and reconiincnded the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences coordinateprotection programs in tbe republic. Since the accident, Paton has expressed hb view that large industrial complexes should be held accountable for ecological disasters and ihet Ihey should be icquired to maintain stringent safety measures ensuring "absolute reliability" of their technology.

On the first anniversary of the Chernobyl' accident, Vitally Churruk, head of the Radiological Ecological Center al Ihe Institute of Nuclear Research of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, criticized tbe Soviei nticiear industry in the English language weekly Moscow News toe continuing to base their decisions on where to build ntiekar plants mostly on logbtiealroads, laboraterfully considering public safety or the environment. Chumak's concern aboul sitingnuclear power siaiions close together near heavily

populated areas had been rabed by Soviet scientists as earlynhe popular literary weekly Uwaturnaya gmeu, published an article by the Ukrainian poet Bom Oieynik. specificallythe planners and designers of Chernobyl' for not heeding tbe warnings of scientists and economists and siting the giant nuclear power plantiver flowingajor water supply reservoir andlood plain of the Polesye region. Moreestern press account reported that an uncAcial club called Svetlitca was gathering signatures in Kiev protesting the presence of nuclear power planu in hesarilypopu-latcd areas. Another example was provided byr

Ja petition,carculaiing in Moscow, calling for thedown the Chernobyl* nuclear plant, hailingof otber nuclear plants, and changing the policy of siting nuclear planu near Urge citiea.tbe petitioners are particularly dblurbed wiih the consti uction now in progress on ihe nuclear power plant inopular and widely used resort area.

In the Caucasus, where tbe republic elites are not enthusiastic about nuclear energy, the Chernobyl' accident revived hopes among proponents of small-scale hydroelectric power planu (OESl Such planu powered ibe Soviet Union in the reconstructionut in the last IS years bave been oversbad-owed by Urge thermal planu. According io recent press reports, Georgia, which has foughtuclear plant on Iulso arguing strongly for more small-scale oydroelectric plants. These reports confirm the republic's commitment to pursue this option. Thb October,rmenians demoo-straicd In Yerevan for tbe closure of tbe nuclear power planthemical factory ibat they say has polluted ihe area forears

While Sovietcontrast to iheir counter-paru in thenotajor protest against the development of nudear power, antinuctcarrowing as noted by tho Armenian demonstration and the formation of the Svetliza group. Nuclear energy has abo become moreublic issue after the regime's attempts io minimize

the effects of tlte nuclear accident Local Soviet press indicate! that concern is partieuUrly high in areas wilh Chernobyl'-type reaclora (RBMKs) lika harsh. Lenin(rad. Smolensk, and Ignalina in Lithuania The Letuagtad nuclear plant is located in Scunovyy Bar.i'.unitorthwest of Leningrad, near Estonia, and rcaJdentr of both Leningrad and Eatonia are worried about the safety of the plant. Recently, an unofficial environmental group, formed in opposition to Ihe nuclear plant in Sosoovyy Bor, has asked loeningrad coordinating organization for various environmental groups- The citizens of Soanovyy Bor may have already won cert ran coraccsaions from iheir city executive party committee {toelipoitorn) regard-ing the ecologyroject. According loromise was extracted from ciiy oflvciaU lo consider public opinion and environ menial factors ia future city planning


empltatli has been placed on reaelor safely insince the Chernobyl' accident, probably asof public concern. However, Soviet citizensreluctant to trust oficiil asm ra noesalterations in the other Soviet ntscsearbeen made or that existing safety rules willThey worryreater demandlo make up tbe loss caused by Chernobyl'pressure on the nuclear sector toabove safety. Throughout the rummerofficials found it necessary lo assure Ihethe repairs on alleactors have not been waived toihor.lalls and lhal extensile safetycarried out etveaacsncrapbiie nuclearthe one in

While il Is unlikely that public opinion will alter the Soviet commitment to nuclear power, debate on the locaiion and aafcty in the nuclear industry should continue lo grow, particularly in the presentof greater openness. For example, inomeembers of lhc Ukrainian Academy of Sciencesetition rspesraing ibc enmptetioa oft Chernobyl' Reportedly, the petitionabout lo be published by Uirraiurmara garria when Moscow decided to shelve the expansion plans, conceivably in pariesponse lo public opposidon.

Environment*lists have also successfullythe coniiruciion of new nuclear powerNovember, the head of the governmeni com mlthe accident. Valeriy Legasov, loldpress lhal public pressure caused theof Ihe Minsk and Odessapowerother reporting indicates the Soviets haveplans to operate the Gorkiy atweacar plantsame


While tbe most serious costs have been loIhe need to divert state funds Intotbe disaster may result in some readjustmentsInitiatives for social programs,housing and health care, and may undermineregime's ability to deliver on ll*

Moscow announced in6otalillion rubles were budgeted for directIn housing and short-term subsidies for the Chernobyl' victims. The rest of the cleanup opcxa-tionthe damaged fourth reactor,the remaining reactors and plantand protecting tbc water snd soil frominitially projected toerceni of GNPut Gorbachev loldC-

Jin December lhal this estimate was looA Soviet engineer attached to the Chernobyl* government investigation commission estimated ibe cost of cleanup io betUHn rubles, or iraorterceni of GNPe>.'

The evacuation bas aggraveled housing shortage* ia somearge number of ihose who were evacuatedies far away from tbe republic, such as Frunze in Klrghiziya. stayed there. Housing was built for them and ihey were integrated into the work



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Jot Research Paper



Incident, In Stmt' Nuclear Power Planli

In Soviet nuclear power planu were rarely discussed before Chernobyl: The Soviets have consit-tently denied that such accidents had occurred. In part, thisroblem of the Soviei definitionuclear accident, which is SO narrow that even ihe Chernobyl'accident may not qualify. However, the Soviels do report 'incidents Involving ihe nuclear plants"he International Atomic Energy Agency. Some of Ihe Incidents reported Include:

A teak of prltnary-coollnt waier through the pressurt-veisel-heai flange seal Inf ihe Kola nuclear reactor

Damage to one of iht main circulation pumps Inf South Ukraine nuclear plant

Corrosion-erosion damage caused steam-generator tubes io leak Inf Novovoronezh nuclear power plant

Corrosion-erosion damage suffered by the reactor vessel at Kolskaya nuclear power plant

Shutdown of Kalinin'secause ofof pilot-operated relief valve of ihe pressuriserS.

A primary coolant leakteam generator at Ihe Rovno nuclear power planthich damaged Ihe units's sieam generator and shut down the plant.

Reportedly ihese Incidents did not Involve the reactor core nor caused any radiation domage.

There have been more serious accidents at Soviet nuclear power planu. accordingyotr Neporosh-nyy. tht former Minister of Power andincluding an explosionadialion leak. He saidS Congressman7 that one accident

upturingoolant line, and another an expiation that spread radioactive sieam to other parti of the unit.

Other sources have reported fires and other accidents at plant facilities:


me Armenian nuclear power plant.

* taa series of fictional short stories, which appeared In the6 monthly Journal Nm-bul reportedly were based on the personal experience of GrigortJenior engineeroviet nuclearauthor describes slipshod safely practices, dangerous cleanup techniques,eactor power surge, similar io the one that actually happened at ihe Chernobyl' plant,in several deaths fa


Medvedev admonished ihe planners against placing Ihe Chernobyl'plant near Kiev moreecade ago.

Onotsuurticbcskaya Industriyaistccidenis In Soviet nuclear and conventional plants that happened1hey were all caused by plant operator error, according to ihe paper, it did not say how many accidents of the lotal took placeudear plant and how manyonventional plant, or list other nonoperator-caused accidents.

Soviet sources tayersons hive been completely and permanently rehoused (seen addition, many fled on their own fromneartw cilies such as Kiev. Chernigov, and GomefT

amlidoi letterTrom the Ukraine, which appeared in the Paris emigre paper

Russkayapun the number of those who left

Kiev on tbeir own. Housing assigned to the

Chernobyl refugees have added to Ihe chronicin Kiev. Chernigov, and other cilies. The former Premier Aleksandr Lyashko said that upward0 apartments will be needed lo be replaced in tbe city of Kiev alone


r 1


U or near KW. many In Aunty- bulll iiilUmnai III/ ihf on/ dtflttidln-laxed

The sudden Ion ol* hundreds ol thousands of people from ihe itTectedepercussions in semccs andieulturil Ubot force. Kiev Oblast pan* boat Revenko lut December raid Ihc area faces serious shortage* of speclsliiu for scale farms, schools, stores, sad hostauls because anost of tbe people -So lefi the area afici the accident have not retained and may never return. In addition, peopte aie apparently reluctantork in Iberone where Chernobyl' nuclear plant now in operation The new director of ihe plant and othereriled concern about shortages ofow at about half the prcacd-dent11-

Moscow cued part of the pinch on its coffers by forcing ihe population lo bear some of lhc costs of ihe cleanup. Deoon lamination duty wai an linedpossiblebe military, whose wage cosu ire less because civilian cleanup workers received double wages. The regime also defrayed costs through so-called volunUry contilbulloni madepecialAid Fund.illion rubles, collected from tbc deduction of one day's wages from every Soviei worker, offset about one-fourth of IL* lowest official estimate but. as noted, coil -as probably much higher. Many Soviet citlrxm tcaV

hat Ihc contributions were mandatory and were demanded even fromelderly people en meager pensions. Whale many Sovicu potiiNy evenanio help, lhco eonvpubery nature of the eoetrie^tions probably ge-crstcd some


Other involuntary costs irnprascd by Ihc government were also unpopular. Tbe cosl for ibe apartmentspresumablyemporary basis, from various enterprises ind local tovtcis in differentto house Ihe evacuees was mostly borne by ihese enterprises. Some of tbe cost foi the evacuation of luge numbers of children and uieii mothers to Pioneer camps and vacation resorts wis borne by virioui tride unMni and local Soviets, bui lhc greatest cost wai shouldeied by individual families.the Soviet Union. narenU had to find alternate summer places fot Iheir children and ways to finance them. Many regular planned vacations In Soviet resorts were canceled. The black Sea coast wis reportedly completely closed to all bul, Chcrnobyl'-irca evacuees

Implications for Regime Policy

Gorbachev's drive foe increased open erilicism of shortcomings in Soviet society and hb announcement of domestic reform, tloinoii. and deittocratitaiion bas already begun to divert domestic and foreign attention from Chernobyl'. Despite this, however, theaccident continues to pose several longer term


announced the evacuationrom Belorusita's Gomel' Oblast and ihefrom the Ukraine. Reportedly, ihousandi more left the nearby cities on their own. By the end of the summerl was clear lhat mosi of Ihe evacuated population would not be returning for ihe wlrte- and more permanent resettlement was needed. Bclorussia0 families In hastily constructed prefabricated houses In Gomel's northern rayons.

The Ukraine resettled upward ofeople In Ihe S6 new villages built fust ouitlde of ihe SO-kttomeier tone. Many evacuees are Sllll living In very crowded conditions, however. Act prdlng to Kiev Oblastthere are plansuildomespartments lo alleviate ihe crowding.

The new homes have modern facilities, orefurnished, andreat Improvement over the overwhelming majority of ihe housing stock left behind In the Chernobyl' countryside, according lo local officials. Sllll, some evacuee* refused lo resettle there. Local officials say ll is because of theof Ihe area, but ihe real reason for their reluctance may be the nearness of the new setllementt to the contamination zone.

vacuees from the Ukraine have been permitted lo return to iwo of Ihe decontaminated villages in the zone. Further north of the site In litlorusila. the inhabitantsgone back to Iheir dwellings. The rest have been permanently reseltled elsewhere with their possessions and livestock.

Plant operators have beenpartments In Kiev and Chernigov andpartments In other rayons and towns of Kiev Oblast.nline operators at ihe recentlyhuttle between Kiev and Zelenyypartly completed setthe banks of Ihe Dnepra two-week

Inlans for the constructionew city called Slavutlch were advanced by ihe Central Committee of the Communist Party. Slavutlch will be located in Oterntgov Oblast and will0 power engineers and plant operators at Its completion In two years, according to Soviet press (see figure IL

The public's cOTlldence in tbe nuclear system ha* been shaken, and there it ikeptictsni about the leadcfihrps'i commitment to guarantee safety. The growing popuUr resentment and concern about enrironmental rjrotcctioo and individual safety isthe regime toigher priority to these issues, putting pressure on the nuclear ministries andand ultimately on national resources.

CVrnobyl' and the Gins east Debate Gorbachev successfully exploited adverse Western publicity to the accident lo extend his domestic glasnostwas only in its infancy when the nccideni occurred. The disaster spurred Gorbachev's move to open up discussion of social and

economic problems c

Gorbachev hoped Chernobyl' would shake upestablishment so that it will henceforthhis demand for mote openness and honestyparty communications. The initialdebacle strengthened the argumeatmedia openness in discussing domesticSeveral articles in Pravda. foroutock of complete informationharmful rumors. Supporters ofglasnost policy, like tbe noted journalistcriticiied thes earlvas costing the regime credibililj


bnchrv'the precise means ihat can protect Use part* from errors in politics ire openness, criticism, and Mlf-criticism. "The price of these errors is known to all ofe added, which no doubt in larie part, applied to the Chernobyl* information coverup.

Sincen several occasions the Soviet media have promptly reported on accidents causing loss of life and publicized punitive measures taken against the officials rwpcotib'e. Soviet mediaof the sinking of the Admiral Nakhlmovliner In6 because of gross uegli-gesice>-HipparentIythe firing of the responsible minister and rrosccuttoo of its captain and his deputytriking example. Other disasters, itiehollision of two passenger trains that killedersons because one of the engine drivers was asleep, the spectacular methane coal mine explosion in the Ukraine late last year, and the more recent one in Chaykino mine in Donetsk bave been reported ImrnedMiely

A year after the accident, hcnvcver, there are signs that the Sovieu are again being less direct about Chernobyl' and that the openness in the months following tbe accident may have found iu limits. Despite signs of popular concern, the regime has not taken steps to give the public moreay on these issues. The major bureaucracies are resisting public pressure, and there arc some signs of backtracking on glasnost:

Two Soviet jouraslisU complained this April In the Soviet weekly Moscow News that Information on Cliernobyr is being withheldncreasingly difficult to obtain, noting that Information reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency is not being given to the public.

The officii! Soviei report presented to the IAEA at the6 meeting in Vienna, and made widely available lo the West, was never released to Ihe Sovietpage summary ws*published In the November Issue of Momnayo Ent'0yo, and Elekirtchesktyt stamsll, both highly technical journalsimited distribution.

Despite pledges of cooperation at the outset, the Sovieu have been reluctant to share the research on radiation data they have collected since tbeaccording to the US Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In oddi-lion to the traditional reluctance of tbe Soviet Union to disclose information, the Sovieu may fear new data will disagree with the information they have already made public or will prove embarrassing if future casualties appear among those bang mom-tored. since they have claimed the benltb effect will be insignificant.

Tbe Moscow News article suites ts the traditional argument that public opinion has no role In tbe scientific and technical sphere is still being used to justify the restrictions. Mm in the affected bureau, cricks, and even somec-oers,ested interest in ensuring tbe coiHequences of Chernobyl' disappear from public view. They wouid tike toeal debate on the direction of the Soviet nuclear energy policy and on the location and safety of existing and future nuclear plants.ebate is, troublesomeegime formally committed lo nuclear energy and the economic benefits of building nuclear plants near highly populated areas. Moreover, continued publicity will leave the regime open to criticism ifnwilling lo allocate further resources to deal with long-term environmental and health consequences.

The news blackout during the threo-week trial of plan' crtuciab in July was further indication that authorities arc tightly controlling information on Chernobyl'. Shortly before the trial, Soviet Foreign Ministry officials described it as open and Indicated Western reporters could attend. On the second day of the proceedings, however, foreign reporters were barred from the courtroom, ind the trialbehind closed doors. The decision to conduct the trial In secret, possibly in an effort to avoid revealing technical testimony that addressed reactor design flaws, demonstrates Moscow's sensitivity to issues that cart feed the growing domestic concerns about the sa fety of the Soviet nuclear Industry

f official tuppecssioc of open discussion On Chernobyl' wai voiced at ihe April All-UnionPlenum by the Ukrainian poet Boris Oleynik. In hit speech, he ex.pres.ed his frust ration with the central press, saying he has been denied access lo the media to publish his reservations about the completion oft Chernobyl'. He told Utetaiurnaya gattto he repeatedly tried to speak out but was not permitted to do so. Another prominent Soviet literary figure, Yevgcoiy Ycvtushenko, told hvesttya there were attempts by unspecified ministries andto suppress the production of tbe Chernobyl' documentary, "Kolokoiecause the film was critical of nuclear technocrats.

Nuclear Energy Policy

VK: popular suppon for nudear power in iheroded further by Ibe Chernobyl' disaster, Moscow's formally stated nuclear energy goalsunchanged, despite signs of public anxiety. However, it is ailempting to be responsive on the safety issue, creating an internal tension in regime policy.

The nuclear energy bureaucrats remain firm in their determination to rely more heavily on nuclear power. Minister of atomic Energy NikoUy Lukonlnin7 thai Moscow's plans to double electricity output at nuclear power stationss compared with5 level, and more than treble tt5 remain unshaken. According to Androotk Pelros'yanU. the recently retired head of Ihe Stale Committee for Utilization of Atomic Energy, after the RBMKs already under construction arethe grapmie-modcrnted reactor will be phased out in the Soviet Union, and future construction ofplanu will be based oa -ater-cooled,reactors. This change has not gone far enough to satisfy those among the Soviet environmentalists who demanded the closing of all Chentobyl'-type reactors, bnt energy needs and high cost apparently rule out this option

The regime has meanwhile publicized new measures to ensure reactor safety.ew decree on nuclear safety by the USSR Council of Ministers in July. In the same month, the Politburoesolution for Ihe development of automated systems

ai nuclear power stations. What impact on safety these changes will have is not yet clear. The new decree designed to strengthen safety inspectionfor the Stale Commiiiec for Safely in the Alomic Energy Industry focuses jsrimarily on new nuclear power stations. And more rigorous operator trainingew hardware nsodificatMat proposed by the Ministry of Atomic Energy will do little to improve tbe existing RBMKs reactors and the earlier pressurized water reactorshich have sig. nifkant safety problems. Decommissioning orshutdowns of Ihese reactors may be the only safe solution, but not ooe that the Safety Commiiiec is now capable of raecuiing

Since tbe accident, the nuclear energy industry has undergone an eitensive reorganization designed, among other things, lo make it more responsive to ihe public concerns of safely. The reference at thetrial lo tbe secrecy of nuclear engineering is an implicit criticism of the induslry's wholly lechnocratic approach, which had traditionally given littleo social concerns. There is also renewed discussion on tbe siting of future nuclear planu in areas, stressing ecologyajor consideration. However, it is too early to judge what actual changes these measures will bring.

Another Nuclear Accident? Wesiern analysts agree that Ihe RBMKnearly half of the Soviet nuclear powerhave fundamental deficiencies that oo reasonable modification can eliminate andontinued safety hazard, remaining vulnerable to severeThe Soviet Union now has more experience and is belter prepared to dealuclear power plant accident than any other country in the world. Still, another nuclear catastrophe woulderious blow to Soviet nuclear policy and couldhigh-level politicalin ihe Central Committee and ministries responsible for

"enous tee-Sent In inciter CkrnQ-ayl'-type reactor -mid post ecosMortWc todtl tad politicalor ihetadmean iht tnd ofajor tctidot inWER rtaetorhue larvcfliesUom for Sowtl confidence in nudcai raw do-in because ihtreactor It titled so bo iht -orison* at thekk lac RBMKhelot Phased cut cvta before Chernobyl

Heartaniialian of the NkKietr ladaitry

Since ike Occident, ike nudear energy sector has undergone en eitenslve revrganiittion designed lo make Ii more rtsponsit to the concerns af safely. Currently. Ine ministries and Soviet organltatlons responsible for nuclear power In the USSR are oi follows: (a) Ihe Ministry of Atomic Energy (newly formed since6 and headed by Nlkolay Lukonin) assumed responsibility for operating all nuclear power plami. taking over some authority from olher ministnet: lb) the State Committee foe Safety In the Alomic tower Industry: Ic and d) tkt Ministry of Power and Electrification and the Slate Committee for the UtIIUatlon of Alomicwhich earlier controlled tomeplonii bui now have diminished authority; it) Ihe Ministry af Heavyand Transport Machine Buildingthe responsibilities af the now defuncttsf Power Machine Building and of Heavy and Transport Machine Building; If) ihe Ministry of Medium Machine Building-Igj and the Ministry ofwill follow up on the radiation risks.

Out of the previously existing bodies, Ihe Stale Committee for Safely In the Nudear Power Industry has undergone ihe mosi rignificant changes Itew director. Vadim Malyshev.arger number of fieldo conduct Inspections sincelis aid director. Yevgeniy V. Kulov. was fired The committee's power has been spelled out and Includes the authority to slop an operationiolation of regulations occurs. Whether thitwill be estrclsed Is still an open question

iucImi industry, which have beenandate to bring tbe Soviet reactors to more stungcm safety standards

A segment of the Sovietsome members of Ihe elite with some policymuch less confidence in the regime's capacity to guarantee ssfety. Another nuclear mishap,orn pari lively minor one, couldacklash

against nuclear energy and the regime that might be hard to Ignore. Another accident would probably provoke public demonstrations ot thr tort increasingly used by independent groupslatform for political and social issues

These dermotsstratiejos have already had tome effect oa regime policy and have sorrietimet la lea est aa anti-Russian cast. Tbe nakmt of tbe growingthe weD-organiied groups inwhichemonstration0 persons to successfully press for ibe closurehemical complet potlullng ibe environment In Klrishl, or ihe publk campaign in northern Georgia to hall the Trans-Caucasus railway plannedunnel through Ibe Caucasusserveodel. Theot likely tousiness-as-ustsal attitude the second time around, sad mayor charqrea in the nuclear industry would have to be considered



Certain factors point to the potential for public opinionsreater role on nudear power orations In the future

The dernocra tint ion campaign tsnvrikd byYakoviev, aad otber senior leaders pttaiip-potcs ntore sensitivity to public opinion ifo be taken scrioutly. Some informal environmental groups have apparently been able lo gel iheiron Ihe ballot in Leningrad, and Ibe new law on publk leview of legislation provides for discussion of the construction of newincluding nudear powerenvironmental issues

The views of tome of Use critics of rauclear power, like Borisull member ol the Central Committee, and some prominent journalistscarry more clout under glatnost andelter chance of keeping ihe pressure on the nuclear power industry.

Finally, the Gorbachev regime wouldepeal ol Ihe Chernobyl' disaster,n an accidentuch imailer scale, liven the efTori it hai put intoositive image

Although there bt no guirantce that public rescnimcnt will translate into polky change* on nuclearevidence now points in the oppositemay mean greater efforts to reassure ibc public and. perhaps, same rethinking of the strategy for siting nuclear pover plants

Chernobyl' hasegree of publicIn the regime's capacity lo guarantee personal security and 'is commitment to provide for the public well-being. Under the greater latitude of publicin ihe Gorbachev re in partitizenry isnational and regional authorities to solvesocietal problemi, aad there are signs or leadership support forigher priority to these issues. Chemobyr awakened public inierest In the safety of industrial facilities aad hightened public awareness of health and environmental issue* As noted, public demand lo address scsne of thesebas already led to specific action by thelike halting conn ructionydroelectric plant in Latvia this spring, after ibe public protested lu harmful impact on the environment

In addition, Ihe Gorbachev regime basumber of broader policy stile menu designed to curb pollution and Improve health, and Gorbachev arrears concerned about providing resource* to support these policies. In Julybe CPSU Central Coenmitieeweeping resolution on ecology aimed at safety in the workplace and improving the quality of air andonth later Ihe Committeea eraib programmprove tbe health care system. The new Law on tbe Restructuring of Public Health strestei major reforms in the area of public health through prevention and may be Implemented more rapidly lhan usual, given the growing concernpollution and industrial safety

Acorsnsnsodatson lo popular frustrationanger for lhc regime, however, and could mate the situation worse by e* citing espocts lions. Tbewill be more attentive to future regimein ibe area of nuclear safety, public health, and ecology.ncreased discussion of Ihese Issues ia the intellectual community, ind social initiative groups ire tiling issues to the streets These concerns are not likely lo evaporate. As public dissatisfaction grows, tbe Chernobyl' aceidenl mayocal point around which disgruntled dtlzena can organize, and Moscow may discover that Chernobyl" is airritantor social and ethnic tension* for yearsome


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