From Chernobyl to Fukushima: the impact of the accidents on the French nuclear discourse

K. Kalmbach

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


The French debate on the impact of Chernobyl, which started in the direct aftermath of the accident in May 1986, is at the forefront not a debate about the impact of Chernobyl in Eastern Europe, it is about the impact of this accident in France. In the French case we find two separate discourses on Chernobyl. There is, on the one hand, the dis¬course on the impact of Chernobyl in France, which dominates public perception. On the other hand, there is the discourse on the impact of the accident in the most affected areas in Eastern Europe. These two discourses are, for several reasons, tightly interwoven; so tightly that it is sometimes hard to separate them. Evaluating the accident’s impact, particularly regarding the health effects of low-level radiation in one area, directly implies a statement about the situation in the other area when comparing the doses of radiation caused by the fallout. Addition¬ally, several French scientists have been involved in the evaluation of the sanitary situation in the areas around Chernobyl through interna¬tional organisations like the IAEA or international cooperative projects like the Chernobyl Forum or Cooperation for Rehabilitation (CORE). Therefore, the discourses on health effects in France and in Eastern Europe also intermingle on a personal level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of Disaster. Social and Cultural Approaches to Fukushima and Chernobyl
EditorsThomas Bohn (et al.)
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherEB Verlag
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)978-3-86893-166-2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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