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Global Disaster Management: Nuclear

This research guide is a starting point for research into the management of global disasters. It supports Pitt classes and workshops like - Building Community Resilience to Global Hazards, as well as the Hazard SEES Team members and their research.


File:View of Chernobyl taken from Pripyat.JPG
View of Chernobyl power plant taken from the roof of a residential building in Pripyat, Ukraine. Photo Taken by Jason Minshull released into public domain.

A nuclear and radiation accident is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as "an event that has led to significant consequences to people, the environment or the facility." Examples include lethal effects to individuals, large radioactivity release to the environment, or reactor core melt." The prime example of a "major nuclear accident" is one in which a reactor core is damaged and significant amounts of radioactivity are released, such as in the Chernobyl Disaster in 1986.

File:Red Forest Hill.jpg

After the disaster, four square kilometers of pine forest directly downwind of the reactor turned reddish-brown and died, earning the name of the "Red Forest"  Radioactivity warning sign on a hill at the east end of Red Forest taken


Case Study: Fukushima Northeast Japan 2011

European contamination from Chernobyl disaster

Areas of Europe contaminated with Cs  
Country37–185 k Bq/m2185–555 kBq/m2555–1480 kBq/m2>1480 kBq/m2
km2% of countrykm2% of countrykm2% of countrykm2% of country
Belarus 29,900 14.4 10,200 4.9 4,200 2.0 2,200 1.1
Ukraine 37,200 6.2 3,200 0.53 900 0.15 600 0.1
Russia 49,800 0.29 5,700 0.03 2,100 0.01 300 0.002
Sweden 12,000 2.7
Finland 11,500 3.4
Austria 8,600 10.3
Norway 5,200 1.3
Bulgaria 4,800 4.3
Switzerland 1,300 3.1
Greece 1,200 0.91
Slovenia 300 1.5
Italy 300 0.1
Moldova 60 0.2
Totals162,160 km219,100 km27,200 km23,100 km2

File:Chernobyl radiation map 1996.svg

Chernobyl radiation map 1996 from CIA [public domain].

Federal Agencies


Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station. On the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. This image is a work of a US Dept of Energy and is in the public domain.

Emergency Response

Reporting System