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Atomic Energy and the Arrogance of Man: Revisiting the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

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On Campus Humanities

Fri, 22 Mar 2019

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

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MARIA DE MOLINA 2
F001

Calle de María de Molina, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain

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On the morning of April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine. Dozens died of radiation poisoning, fallout contaminated half the continent, and thousands fell ill.
This lecture will draw on new sources to lay bare the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry, tracing the disaster to the authoritarian character of Communist party rule, the regime's control of scientific information, and its emphasis on economic development over all else. Today, the risk of another Chernobyl, claims Plokhii, looms in the mismanagement of nuclear power in the developing world.

Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History and the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. Author of several well received books, including, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union (2014), The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine (2015) and Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation (New York, 2017). His most recent book, Chernobyl: A History of Tragedy won the UK Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction in November 2018.



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MARIA DE MOLINA 2
F001

Calle de María de Molina, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain