What Russia Is Stirring Up at Chernobyl

By Adriana Petryna, past Member (2003–04) and Visitor (2006) in the School of Social Science:

"The Russian military’s capture of the Chernobyl nuclear facility in northern Ukraine last week led to heightened levels of both radioactivity and confusion. Since the infamous 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, which sent nuclear materials as high as five miles into the atmosphere and likely condemned far more people than the United Nations’ projected long-term death toll of 4,000, the plant has been radioactive. It’s defunct. Why would the Russian military want it?

Maybe Russian forces overtook the facility for the sake of convenience—after all, it’s along the route from Russian ally Belarus to Kyiv, ​​the Ukrainian capital, which is now under assault. Or maybe, as Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed, the military wanted to protect the plant’s infrastructure, preventing any staging of a 'nuclear provocation.' Or maybe, as a Russian security source told Reuters, it was a warning to NATO.

Whatever the Russian army’s reasoning, the implication for Ukrainians is clear: the potential for a repeat of the disaster, which they have spent three decades and considerable resources trying to prevent."

Read more at The Atlantic.