Europe and Chernobyl: Contested Localisations of the Accident’s Environmental, Political, Social and Cultural Impact

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Was Chernobyl an accident in a European nuclear power plant? As
simple as this question might seem, every trivial answer of ‘yes’ or ‘no’
implies far-reaching statements: on the geo-political boundaries of Europe
as well as on nuclear issues. First, this question touches upon the issue of
Ukraine’s integration into the European Union – a highly politicised issue
that triggered a civil war in this country in 2013. Second, an answer to the
question of Chernobyl’s ‘Europeanness’ touches upon crucial nuclear political
debates and includes statements on reactor safety, nuclear emergency plans
and science diplomacy. The changing discursive localisation of the accident’s
environmental, political, social and cultural impact as inside or outside Europe
thus points to two historical transformations that took place over the last 30
years: the changes within Europe and the changes within nuclear politics.
In bringing together these two discourses and pointing out their partial
interconnectedness, this chapter sheds light on how changing definitions
of ‘Europeanness’ and changing boundaries of ‘nuclearity’ have co-shaped
the coming to terms with the Chernobyl accident, in particular regarding
the allocation of responsibilities and the formulations of ‘lessons learned’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Environment and the European Public Sphere
Subtitle of host publicationPerceptions, Actors, Policies
EditorsChristian Wenkel, Eric Bussière, Anahita Grisoni, Hélène Miard-Delacroix
PublisherWhite Horse Press
Chapter3
Pages54-69
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-1-912186-14-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Chernobyl
  • Europe
  • Public sphere

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