Chernobyl and the War

The worst nuclear disaster occurred on 26 April 1986 in Ukraine, then one of the 15 Soviet republics, when Reactor No. 4 of this nuclear power plant on the border of Belarus exploded, contaminating up to three quarters of Europe, especially Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

The reactor released a huge amount of radioactive particles and gases into the sky. In total, 400 times more radioactivity than in the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Within 48 hours of the Chernobyl accident, bombers were dispatched from Moscow to disperse radioactive clouds heading toward the Soviet capital. Thus, Belarusian land in particular was inundated with radioactive rain for about ten hours. In total, 23% of Belarus’ territory was contaminated. The rain contaminated and permanently doomed the inhabitants of the affected regions. The number of victims of the consequences of the accident numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

Thirty-six years later, the fear of nuclear catastrophe returned when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was seized by the Russian military on February 25, 2022.

According to Timothy A. Mousseau, a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina, a direct release of radioactive material into the vaults could have released many more particles into the environment than in 1986. This would be an ecological disaster of global proportions.

The war in Ukraine reopens the discussion about the danger of indecisiveness of democratic countries in the face of growing authoritarianism in Eastern Europe because of their own energy dependence – today we are already talking about a global nuclear threat because of the current military situation in Ukraine.

We call on political, social, business, scientific, cultural, and sporting communities to unite to find a way to immediately end hostilities in Ukraine, and thus prevent a potential nuclear catastrophe.