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November Document of the Month

Fallout from the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 26 April 1986

On 26 April 1986, the No 4 nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in the former USSR exploded, expelling large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere. The resulting fire took more than a week to extinguish, significantly exacerbating the accident’s environmental impact. While the fallout was concentrated most heavily in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, radioactive contamination was detected across Europe and further afield. Information on the severity of the accident was initially difficult to obtain, with the Soviet government slow to release details. Ireland’s embassy in Moscow proved to be a vital conduit for information over the following weeks and months while the Irish government also worked closely with its partners in the European Community to devise a common strategy for dealing with Chernobyl’s impact on Europe’s agriculture and trade relations.

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Telex copy requesting information on the explosion at the Chernobyl power plant, 29 April 1986

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Nuclear Energy Board statement, 12 May 1986

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Policy steering note extract, 28 May 1986

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Invitation to a seminar in response to public concerns about radiation

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