Chornobyl Bibliography
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Annotated Chornobyl Bibliography
Walter Huda, PhD

This bibliography was compiled in April 1996 in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster. The publications have been subdivided into two categories: Technical (for the more scientifically minded who know the difference between a Roentgen, a rad, and a rem) and non-technical (for 99% of readers who most probably couldn't care one hoot about differentiating between the three R's). The items included in this bibliography are simply those actually known to the author, and all reside in his own collection. Please note that there no attempt has been made to include all (or the best) of the vast and rapidly growing literature in this field. All comments and added opinions are the sole responsibility of the Walter Huda. Some of the literature listed may not be readily available in your local bookstore or library; if all else fails and you desperately need to get access to a listed publication, please feel free to drop me a cybernote (address is at the end) and I'll try to oblige.

The author is a medical physicist who studied Physics at Oxford University, England and then went on to complete a PhD in Medical Physics at the Hammersmith Hospital, London. After working as a health physicist at Amersham International for five years, he moved to Winnipeg in Canada in the early 80's where he worked as a medical physicist at the Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. In 1990, he headed south to the Radiology department at the University of Florida where he is currently the director of Radiologic Physics. Born to Ukrainian parents, he attended "Ukie" Saturday school in Bradford, Yorkshire and is fluent in Ukrainian. He has visited Ukraine three times and given several talks on scientific talks in his best Ukrainian on topics ranging from Chornobyl to Medical Imaging.

Croall S and Sempler K. Nuclear Power for beginners. Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative Ltd. (London) 1978 pp 172.
If you REALLY want to learn about nuclear power, and don't have a PhD from the MIT in Nuclear Engineering, you could do worse than consult this little booklet. I have a definite bias to books like this which really make an effort to SIMPLIFY the apparently difficult without being overtly SIMPLISTIC!.

Hawkes N, Lean G, Leigh, McKie R, Pringle P and Wilson A. The worst accident in the world. Pan Books (London) 1986 pp 246.
Written by a team of journalists from the respectable Sunday journal the Observer {which I confess to reading religiously when I lived in the UK}, this is a cut and paste compilation of largely journalistic reports {speculations??} which abounded in the first weeks following the Chornobyl accident. I suspect it tells the reader a tad more about the nature of western journalism than the Chernobyl accident itself, which is not to imply the book is totally without merit. But if newspapers age very rapidly, what can one say about books of newspaper cuttings?.

Marples DR. Chernobyl and nuclear power in the USSR. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Edmonton) 1986 in association with Macmillan Press (London) pp 228.
Just about every other book on Chornobyl has David Marples writing their introduction which tells you something about the author; an academic tome written in a meticulous style. All of David Marples book on Chornobyl are worth reading if your interest is an academic one and you relish footnotes by the bucketful. DRM is THE authority on the of Chornobyl topic in North America, par none! He was even asked to go to the White House in 1986 to brief the Administration on Nuclear Power in the USSR at that time; an honor (?) which speaks for itself. Dr Marples is also the author of a book entitled The Social Impact of Chernobyl published in 1988.

Mould RF Chernobyl: The Real Story. Pergamon Press (Oxford) pp 255.
This one was tricky to categorize; the author is a British medical physicist who seems to have traveled to Chornobyl at the end of 1986 and managed to publish his "holiday snaps". The multitude of rather interesting pictures made me put this in the non-technical section. Don't believe the title about this being the real story, even of the first 18 months as the book blurb claims - I suspect that there was a little more to this one than this author tries to make out in this booklet!

Haynes V and Bojcun M. The Chernobyl Disaster: The true story of a catastrophe - an unanswerable indictment of nuclear power. The Hogarth Press (London) 1988 pp 233.
Both authors are children of Ukrainian Displaced Persons (DPs) after World War II who grew up in the West and were heavily involved in various forms of political activism; despite their admitted weaknesses in the applied sciences, they managed to produce a highly respectable tome which IMHO is well worth reading. Politics is emphasized (naturally and rightly) which is a major strength of the book. Note however, my probable (?) bias as I reviewed several sections of this book prior to its publication!.

I Shcherbak. Chernobyl: A Documentary Story. (Translated from Ukrainian by Ian Press) Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Edmonton) 1989 pp 168.
The author of this book is currently the Ukrainian ambassador to the US after serving in a similar capacity in Israel having made his move to politics through the "green" movement in Ukraine. A well written journalistic style book based on interviews with those involved with the Chornobyl disaster and which gives an detailed view as to how the accident was viewed from within Ukraine. Also available in Ukrainian "Chornobyl" published by Dnipro publishing (Kyiv) 1989 pp 223.

Piers Paul Reed. Ablaze: The story of the heroes and victims of Chornobyl. Random House (1993) pp 363.
The author also wrote the Book "Alive" about the survivors of an air crash in the Andes mountains; but if you think this clearly disqualifies him from writing about Chornobyl, you are DEAD WRONG. I would rate this as one of the very best non-technical books on the disaster that I've read. The man bends over backward to tell the whole story as honestly as it is possible to do. Overall, a most refreshing change from the advocacy peddled by most authors I've encountered. If you are going to read only one book, I'd recommend you give this one topmost consideration.

Medvedev G. The aftermath of Chernobyl: No breathing room. Basic Books, A division of Harper Collins (1993) pp 213 with a special new introduction by David Marples.
An account of the former chief engineer at Chernobyl against the "system"; Medvedev is also the author of The Truth About Chernobyl which was also published by Basic Books in 1991.

Yaroshinskaya A. Chernobyl: The forbidden truth. University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln) 1995 pp 136.
An Introduction by David Marples and a Forward by John Gofman is a bit of a mixed recommendation - DRM is an acknowledged expert on Chornobyl whereas the scientific establishment and John Gofman do not exactly see "eye to eye" on the question of radiation risks. The text is an account of the author's struggle against Soviet officialdom who attempted to suppress bad news and shift blame to lowly operators. An investigative journalist, Alla Yaroshinskaya comes from Zhitomir, an area affected radioactive fall out from the Chornobyl disaster.

Cheney GA. Journey to Chernobyl: Encounters in a radioactive zone. Academy Chicago Publishers (1995) pp 191.
One of the blurb's on the back suggests that Glenn Cheney's observations about life in the former Soviet Union in the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster are vivid, insightful and thought provoking. Alex Kuzma of the Children of Chornobyl Relief Foundation also has good vibes about this tome which gives one a flavor of what's contained in this publication.

International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group. Summary Report on the Post-Accident Review on the Chernobyl Accident. Safety Series No. 75-INSAG-1. (International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna) 1986 pp 106.
The IAEA is (rightly) viewed as a pro-nuclear entity. This is by no means any kind of disqualification of their literature, but a gentle reminder of just where it is that they come from.

Chernobyl: Response of Medical Physics Departments in the UK. The Institute of Physical Sciences in Medicine Report No. 50 (London) 1986 pp 99.
I once read that when President Eisenhower was asked what his Vice-President (Nixon) actually "did", his answer was that given a couple of weeks to think about it, he'd be sure to think of something. I similarly feel that given enough time to answer the question as to why this book was published, I'm sure I'd manage to come up with an answer that would probably sound plausible. Lets just agree that the market for this material may be somewhat limited. 'Nuff said!

Medical Aspects of the disaster at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station (In Russian). Proceedings of a conference held in Kyiv 11-13 May 1988. Zdorovia/Health Publishing House (Kyiv) 1988 pp 232.
As I don't actually read Russian, and find my Ukrainian is not adequate to permit me to digest this material in whole, I'll simply provide the ISBN number for anyone who really want to track this one down 5-311-00575-0.

Report on the Assessment Mission to the Areas Affected by the Chernobyl Disaster, USSR. League of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.(1990) pp 19.
Probably the shabbiest report from any outfit that I've come across for a long, long, time. But in the words of Bo Didley, You Can't Judge a Book by Looking at its Cover! And Amen to that!

Medvedev Z. The Legacy of Chernobyl. WW Norton & Co. (New York) 1990 pp 352.
Zhores Medvedev, together with his twin brother's Roy Medvedev, are well known in the West for numerous books on all aspects of Soviet life including TD Lysenko, Stalin's Purges, Khrushchev {a real hilarious/serious classic}, Solzhenytsin, Andropov etc. The scientific quality of Zhores' writings is very creditable and I personally would listen very carefully to any arguments presented by this author without necessarily agreeing with everything he writes or says. The Medvedev brothers always seem to me to be extremely well connected and write with an impressive authority. In the words of Roy, however, history will (surely) judge the validity of the conclusions drawn here by Zhores about why the accident happened and what will be its ultimate legacy.

The International Chernobyl Project: Technical Report. Assessment of Radiological Consequences and Evaluation of Protective Measures. Report by an International Advisory Committee. ISBN 92-0-129191-4 (International Atomic Energy Commission, Vienna) 1991 pp 405 +.
Published under the auspices of the IAEA, a total of four separate publications were issued including maps of contamination, proceedings of an international conference and a (readable!) overview. All of these publications may be viewed as the unofficial response of the international nuclear energy "lobby" to the Chornobyl disaster.

Chernousenko VM. Chernobyl: Insight from the Inside. Springer Verlag (1991) pp 367.
Volodymyr Chernousenko worked at time of publication at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR In the Preface, the author describes the numerous myths that he hoped that this book would help to dispel. The vantage view point is of a scientist invited in April 1986 to act as the scientific director of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences task force on Chornobyl. As he was there for most of the time under consideration, this book is one that cannot be ignored or dismissed.

US Council for Energy Awareness (USCEA) Chernobyl: Briefing book. 26 March 1991 (Washington, DC) pp 45.
The blurb states that "Fact sheets on the Chernobyl accident and its consequences, and the role of US and European companies and international organizations in improving the safety of Soviet and Eastern European nuclear energy plants" which gives a hint as to which lobby group was responsible for putting this document together.

Dankowych JA, Danylak O, Jaciw B, Lychacz B, Marples DR and Trojan. The Chornobyl Commission report. Chornobyl Commissions of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians and the Ukrainian Canadian Committee (April 1987) pp 36.
Issued to commemorate the first anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster, this document is primarily of historical interest as to how the disaster was viewed by the "intelligentsia" in North America.

Chadwick K and Gerber G (Editors). Treatment and Biological Dosimetry of Exposed Persons: Post Chernobyl Action. Commission of the European Communities, Radiation Protection Report EUR 12558 EN (Luxembourg) 1991 pp 205.
Related to medical consequences of radiation exposures with particular emphasis on: (i) making diagnosis with prognostic relevance; (ii) improvement of therapeutic means; & (iii) organizational and logistic support.

Selected abstracts of the Third World Congress of the Ukrainian Medical Association: Medical Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster, Health Physics Volume 61 (1991) 151-154.
Taken directly from the proceedings of the Congress in Kyiv in August 1990.

Carr F Jr, Kennedy RA and Mahaffey JA ChernoLit: Chernobyl Bibliographic Search, Pacific Northwest Laboratory Operated for the US Department of Energy by Battelle Memorial Institute PNL-7992 UC-402 March 1992.
(Contains 4,500 references concerning accident, including abstracts). A must for the serious researcher (NB there may well be more recent versions of this software).

Merwin SE and Balonov MI (Editors). The Chernobyl Papers Volume I. Doses to the Soviet Population and Early Health Effects Studies. Research Enterprises Publishing Segment (Richland, Washington) 1993 pp 439.
The volume covers topics such as the early medical response to the accident, clarifies the earlier meteorological data, and sheds light on the agricultural conditions following the accident as well as providing estimates of population doses. The editorial review board lists RL Kathren, WJ Bair, MC Eisenbud, JR Johnson, RV Osborne and RC Thompson; this will impress you if you work in the field of radiological protection but won't if you happen to dislike anything to do with the words "nuclear" or "radiation". The choice is all yours!

Sich AR, Borovoi AA and Rasmussen NC. The Chernobyl Accident Revisited: Source Term Analysis and Reconstruction of Events During the Active Phase. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Nuclear Engineering MITNE-306. January 1994. pp 411.
Heavy 'n esoteric stuff; Sich is a recent PhD graduate, Borovoi is from Ukraine and Rasmussen is a well known Nuclear Engineer.

Schull WJ. Effects of Atomic Radiation: A Half-Century of Studies from Hiroshima and Nagasaki Wiley-Liss (New York) 1995.
Although not directly related to Chornobyl, this is an excellent summary of what has been learnt from 50 years of investigation by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (now called the Radiation Effects Research Foundation); this study may offer a glimpse of the scientific and medical knowledge which may emerge over the next 50 years by studying those exposed to radiation from the Chornobyl accident.

Huda W. Medical Consequences of Chernobyl. Journal of Ukrainian Studies Volume 11 (Summer 1986) 35-52.
Written in the summer of 1986 when reliable information was very hard to come by, it will be of interest to see how the predictions made at that time stand up to historical scrutiny.

Huda W, Sourkes AM and Tracy BL. Chernobyl - The Radiological Impact on Canada. Journal of the Canadian Association of Radiologists Volume 39 (1998) 37-41
Although the doses to Canadians were in fact trivial, it was notable that radioactive fall out was detected over the whole of Canada for a period of about a month and actually resulted in "measurable" doses to the Canadian population.

Huda W and Kozak R. Medical (Radiation) Problems from Chernobyl. Health Physics Newsletter January 1992 22-23.
Focus of this article was on thyroid cancers, especially in children.

Walter Huda can be contacted at the
Department of Radiology,
Box 100374
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32610-0374
Phone: (352) 395 0293
FAX (352) 395 0279

Copyright 1995
Walter Huda
All Rights Reserved