THE GREAT CHERNOBYL ACCELERATION
In April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded and sent upwards of 50 million curies into the surrounding environment. Working through archives, Brown encountered many contradictory accounts of the disaster and its effects. Realizing that though people and archives lie, trees probably don’t, she turned to scientists—biologists, foresters, physicians and physicists—to help her understand the ecology of the greater Chernobyl territories and the health effects that ensured. She learned working in the swampy territory around the blown plant that radioactive contaminants saturated local eco-systems long before the Chernobyl accident and continued long after the 1986 event. Brown argues that to call Chernobyl an “accident” is to sweep aside the continuum of radiation exposure that saturated environments in the northern hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century. Instead of a one-off accident, Brown argues that Chernobyl was a point of acceleration on a timeline of radioactive contamination that continues to this day.
This event is part of the MIT Seminar on Environmental and Agricultural History sponsored by the History Faculty and the Program in Science, Technology and Society. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org