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Chilling tales of blasts, fallout and meltdowns

Atoms and Ashes recounts six accidents in detail, the first three connected to 'atoms for war' (bomb-making) and the last three connected to 'atoms for peace' (energy production)


ATOMS AND ASHES: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters; Author: Serhii Plokhy; Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company; Price: $30; Pages: 345

Jennifer Szalai | NYT
On October 8, 1957, a Soviet newspaper reported that residents of Cheliabinsk, a city near the Ural Mountains, had spotted an “intensive luminescence, sometimes changing to pale pink and pale blue,” along the horizon. Cheliabinsk was located too far south to have had much experience with the aurora borealis, but the newspaper told its readers they happened to be seeing just that — a rare and gorgeous treat. “The Northern Lights,” the article concluded, “will remain visible in the Southern Ural latitudes.”

What readers were seeing would indeed remain visible, but the rest of the sentence was a lie. Those

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First Published: May 29 2022 | 11:45 PM IST

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