chapter  12
16 Pages

Medical Aspects of the Accident at Chernobyl

Introduction ....................................................................................................................................195 Initial Accident Details ..................................................................................................................196 Expected Clinical Symptoms as a Function of Dose....................................................................198 Initial Medical Response ...............................................................................................................198 Acute Radiation Sickness ..............................................................................................................198 Therapy and Outcomes of Patients with ARS...............................................................................201 Follow-Up of the ARS Survivors ..................................................................................................203 Evaluation of People without ARS................................................................................................205 Cancer after the Chernobyl Accident ............................................................................................206 Principles of Organizational Decisions .........................................................................................206 Chernobyl Accident Lessons .........................................................................................................208 References ......................................................................................................................................209

The accident happened on April 26, 1986 in Unit 4 of a functional and active nuclear power plant at Chernobyl. The reactor core, cooling system, and building were destroyed in a steam explosion with a large radiation exposure occurring to plant personnel, recovery staff, and the public. Factors that influence the potential health effects in a nuclear power plant accident include the amount and type of environmental releases, either as an aerosol or as larger fragments of the reactor core. These releases result in external exposure by gamma and beta particles and to a lesser extent internal exposure from inhaled radionuclides. The radioactive materials that are emitted in the form of a cloud can be dispersed through a populated area resulting in short-term exposure of the public to the passing cloud, as well as short-and long-term internal exposure from inhaled and ingested radioactive materials.