It’s incredible how unprofessional and lazy the NYTimes Magazine reporting is. Here is today’s example:
The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 has often been described as the worst nuclear disaster in history. But there are records of several larger and more destructive catastrophes. In “The Age of Radiance,” a history of the nuclear era, Craig Nelson cites a 1957 plutonium-plant accident in the Ural Mountains that irradiated an area 14 times as large as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. There are other examples, too, but these accidents weren’t publicized, because they took place in the U.S.S.R. during the secretive era before glasnost. So what makes Chernobyl history’s worst? It’s the fact that we all know about it.
Five minutes with Google would have informed the idiot who wrote this piece that the Kyshtym contamination ranks as Level 6 at the International Nuclear Event Scale while Chernobyl and Fukushima rank as Level 7 for the reason that Chernobyl and Fukushima occurred in much more densely populated areas. Chelyabinsk-40 had been purposefully built in the middle of nowhere (which in Russia means to the East of the Urals Mountains) and didn’t even have a name of its own because it’s not a real city. It’s a plant with an artificially created settlement that serviced people who worked there. A real, living city was not wiped out of existence at Chelyabinsk-40.
Fukushima is not mentioned here at all as if it were completely non-existent. Chernobyl had, indeed, been “described as the worst nuclear disaster in history” in the past but then Fukushima happened and changed that. Gosh, it’s like, go do a simple search of nuclear catastrophes, and you will be enlightened.