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Nuclear Reading Assignments (
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Nuclear Reading Assignments for Honors Chemistry

Read both of the following articles and finish the Nuclear Aftershocks video:

Chernobyl Anniversary: How the Disaster Unfolded (also look at the pictures!)

Lessons from Chernobyl for Japan (also carefully look at three Multimedia links on left of page)

Also, read at least two articles from the following:

Note: The articles below have been selected to represent varying points of view. Please critically evaluate the source of the information and fact-check as necessary. You are strongly encouraged to read articles from multiple perspectives.

Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly:  It wasn't just people, animals and trees that were affected by radiation exposure at Chernobyl, but also the decomposers: insects, microbes, and fungi.  Very interesting!

Fixing America’s Nuclear Waste Storage Problem:  The spent-fuel pools at our reactors, containing thousands of tons of poorly protected but highly radioactive waste, are a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Is Coal Ash More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste?

Three-Mile Island Accident

Chernobyl’s Hot Mess, the “Elephant’s Foot”, is Still Lethal (really interesting!!)

Wishing Upon an Atom in a Tiny French Village

Shearon Harris' Safety Record

Radioactive tritium leaks found at 48 US nuke sites (also carefully explore Interactives)

What is Acute Radiation Poisoning?

Bat Killings by Wind Energy Turbines Continue from Scientific American

Videos (Optional):

View Inside Chernobyl's Nuclear Reactor, 25 Years After (short clip)

Frontline: Nuclear Aftershocks (watched in-class)

NOVA: Back to Chernobyl

Inside Chernobyl’s Sarcophagus  (very interesting and recommended)  

Half-Lives: Chernobyl's Nuclear Legacy

Understanding the Fukushima Daiichi Accident

Zero Hour: Disaster at Chernobyl (Discovery Channel)

More fascinating articles (Optional):

The Workings of an Ancient Nuclear Reactor:  Two billion years ago parts of an African uranium deposit spontaneously underwent nuclear fission. The details of this remarkable phenomenon are just now becoming clear

What if I Took a Swim in a Spent Fuel Rod Pool?  Silly, but factual article about what would happen if you went swimming in a spent nuclear fuel pool

Therac-25: The Therac-25 was a radiation therapy machine which, due to a programming error, gave massive overdoses to some patients

The Chicago Pile: The Chicago Pile was the first man-made nuclear reactor

Goiania Accident: A scavenger discovers a glowing radioactive source from an abandoned hospital and uses it to make jewelry and face paint; a city is contaminated and several people die

Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko:  A former KGB officer is lethally poisoned after ingesting Polonium-210 in his tea (...why do you think they used an alpha-emitter rather than something stronger?)

Criticality Accidents: Over 60 criticality accidents have occurred since research began on nuclear reactions. See in particular Louis Stolin , who was killed after the “demon core” he was working with went supercritical. The very same core killed another scientist less than a year prior.

“Staff ‘Overwhelmed’ at Nuclear Plant, but U.S. Won’t Shut It”:  NY Times article about Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts

Explosion Hits Nuclear Power Station In Northwest France:  NPR report 2/9/2017

After Chernobyl, They Refused to Leave:  CNN article