The 1986 explosion at the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl was a human as well as environmental catastrophe, and this thorough account of the accident examines its causes, the response of the Soviet government, and the tragic aftermath of a horror that still lives on.
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Grade 6 Up-There are two stories in this book. One describes the tremendous human tragedy faced by those exposed to the high levels of radioactive material from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power-plant accident in what is now the Ukraine. In moving detail, Cheney provides firsthand accounts of how individuals living near the plant had their lives forever altered, and the frightening job of fighting the reactor fire and then encasing the highly radioactive remains. The author also outlines how the former Soviet government failed to protect its people and, initially, lied to the world about the accident. If that were all that is presented, the book would be worth recommending. Unfortunately, the other story, the technical details of what happened, is a disaster in its own right. The description of what led up to the explosion inside the reactor is totally confusing. Moreover, there are no diagrams illustrating how Chernobyl operated or an explanation of how its design differs from reactors in the West. Some of the details are erroneous or misleading. Even worse, the author makes an unsubstantiated and irresponsible claim that several thousand Americans died because of wind-borne radiation from Chernobyl and then-out of the blue-asserts that Lyme disease may be a mutation caused by radiation leaks from the Millstone nuclear power plant in Connecticut. Clearly, this author should stay away from science and, regrettably, librarians should likewise avoid this book.
Alan Newman, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. Cheney has produced a truly frightening book in his suspenseful account of the worst man-made disaster of all time, giving thorough explanations of the mechanics of Soviet nuclear power plants and the immediate and long-term effects of radiation poisoning. It also features a sobering discussion of current problems and the potential for similar "accidents" occurring at other nuclear power plants in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Cheney, who conducted research in Russia and in the Ukraine, delivers his information in a concise, understandable, and generally well-balanced manner. It is only when he describes the Soviet authorities' inept treatment of survivors and evacuees, the suppression of information about the event, and the attempted cover-up that he allows his indignation to surface: "It was the kind of day when you're supposed to play outside. . . . So that's just what the kids did. They played in grass laced with plutonium. They played in sand mixed with radioactive graphite. They jumped in piles of radioactive foam and raced through the radioactive breeze. They picked radioactive flowers and stuck them in their radioactive hair." A bibliography is appended, and the text is illustrated with black-and-white photographs. Chris Sherman
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Book Description New Discovery, 1993. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11002718305X
Book Description New Discovery, 1993. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX002718305X