Chernobyl: Assessment of Radiological and Health Impacts

2002 Update of Chernobyl: Ten Years On

The international radiological protection community performed a major status review of the situation around the damaged Chernobyl reactor on the 10-year anniversary of the accident. Since then, studies of the accident site and the contaminated territories continue to be undertaken, which have yielded new scientific results and highlighted important social and health aspects. This report is a complete update of the NEA's earlier publication, Chernobyl: Ten Years On. In particular, it offers the reader the most recent information on the significant new experience gained in the areas of emergency management, long-term environmental behaviour of radioactive materials and health effects.

Publications and reports
Table of contents

The full text is available in a single file


Executive summary

Chapter I. The site and accident sequence

  • The site
  • The RBMK-1000 reactor
  • Events leading to the accident
  • The accident
  • The graphite fire

Chapter II. The release, dispersion, deposition and behaviour of radionuclides

  • The source term
    • Atmospheric releases
    • Chemical and physical forms
  • Dispersion and deposition
    • Within the former Soviet Union
    • Outside the former Soviet Union
    • Behaviour of deposited radionuclides

Chapter III. Reactions of national authorities

  • Within the former Soviet Union
  • Outside the former Soviet Union
  • More recent decisions

Chapter IV. Dose estimates

  • The liquidators
  • The evacuees from the 30-km zone
    • Doses to the thyroid gland
    • Whole-body doses
  • People living in the contaminated areas
    • Doses to the thyroid gland
    • Whole-body doses
  • Populations outside the former Soviet Union

Chapter V. Health impact

  • Radiation-induced health effects
    • Acute health effects
  • Late health effects
    • Thyroid cancer
    • Other late health effects
  • Other studies
  • Psychological and social health effects
    • Within the former Soviet Union
    • Outside the former Soviet Union

Chapter VI. Agricultural and environmental impacts

  • Agricultural impact
    • Within the former Soviet Union
    • Within Europe
  • Environmental impact
    • Forests
    • Water bodies
  • Sixteen years later

Chapter VII. Potential residual risks

  • The Sarcophagus
  • Radioactive waste storage sites

Chapter VIII. Shutdown of the Chernobyl plant

  • Preparation of the definitive dismantling of the Chernobyl power plant
    • Storage of used fuel
    • Treatment of liquid effluents
    • Treatment of solid wastes
  • The Sarcophagus
  • Sarcophagus database
  • The social consequences

Chapter IX. Lessons learnt

  • Operational aspects
  • Scientific and technical aspects
  • The INEX programme
  • Psycho-sociological programmes
    • ETHOS project
    • Other studies

Explanation of terms

List of acronyms