Latest Issue

After the Fallout

Chernobyl is the Dante's Inferno of modern Europe. But for thousands in the Ukraine it is a continuing source of livelihood. To shut down the nuclear power station would mean economic ruin-but what is the price of keeping it open? David Lascelles reports from the exclusion zone

By David Lascelles   December 1995

A group of us were standing less than a hundred feet from the remains of Chernobyl’s shattered Number 4 reactor. We were deep inside the sarcophagus which now houses it. All was dark and quiet except for the occasional beep of a geiger counter. With the help of a torchbeam, we could see a long tunnel sloping away before us, with pipes and wires leading to the monitoring devices which had been installed right under the reactor itself. According to our dosemeters, the radiation was within acceptable levels.

Most people regard Chernobyl as a deathly inferno. But it also belongs…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect