The Truth About Chernobyl

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The Truth About Chernobyl is a 1991 book by Grigori Medvedev. Medvedev served as deputy chief engineer at the No. 1 reactor unit of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the 1970s. At the time of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, Medvedev was deputy director of the main industrial department in the Soviet Ministry of Energy dealing with the construction of nuclear power stations. Since Medvedev knew the Chernobyl plant well, he was sent back as a special investigator immediately after the 1986 catastrophe.

In his book, Medvedev provides extensive first-hand testimony, based on many interviews, describing minute by minute precisely what was and was not done both before and after the explosion. It has been described[who?] as a tragic tale of pervasive, institutionalized, bureaucratic incompetence leading up to the accident; and heroic, heartbreaking sacrifice among those who had to deal with the emergency afterwards.[1]

The book is the single prime source for much of the actions of the operators, managers, firemen and others who are the actors in the Chernobyl disaster. It is, for example, the prime source for the article Individual involvement in the Chernobyl disaster. The book is written not in a documentary style but in a very personal style, often speaking in the first person. While it includes extensive direct quotes from some of those who survived the disaster, it does not include references beyond a bare seven footnotes.

In 1991 it was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Science and technology.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Truth About Chernobyl. Grigori Medvedev. New York: Basic Books, 1991

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