People’s Opinions Matter

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Business model

Business model innovation is an iterative and potentially circular process[1]

A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value,[2] in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. The process of business model construction and modification is also called business model innovation and forms a part of business strategy.[1]

In theory and practice, the term business model is used for a broad range of informal and formal descriptions to represent core aspects of a business, including purpose, business process, target customers, offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, sourcing, trading practices, and operational processes and policies including culture.



The literature has provided very diverse interpretations and definitions of a business model. A systematic review and analysis of manager responses to a survey defines business models as the design of organizational structures to enact a commercial opportunity.[3] Further extensions to this design logic emphasize the use of narrative or coherence in business model descriptions as mechanisms by which entrepreneurs create extraordinarily successful growth firms.[4]

Business models are used to describe and classify businesses, especially in an entrepreneurial setting, but they are also used by managers inside companies to explore possibilities for future development. Well-known business models can operate as “recipes” for creative managers.[5] Business models are also referred to in some instances within the context of accounting for purposes of public reporting.


Over the years, business models have become much more sophisticated. The bait and hook business model (also referred to as the “razor and blades business model” or the “tied products business model”) was introduced in the early 20th century. This involves offering a basic product at a very low cost, often at a loss (the “bait”), then charging compensatory recurring amounts for refills or associated products or services (the “hook”). Examples include: razor (bait) and blades (hook); cell phones (bait) and air time (hook); computer printers (bait) and ink cartridge refills (hook); and cameras (bait) and prints (hook). A variant of this model was employed by Adobe, a software developer that gave away its document reader free of charge but charged several hundred dollars for its document writer.

In the 1950s, new business models came from McDonald’s Restaurants and Toyota. In the 1960s, the innovators were Wal-Mart and Hypermarkets. The 1970s saw new business models from FedEx and Toys R Us; the 1980s from Blockbuster, Home Depot, Intel, and Dell Computer; the 1990s from Southwest Airlines, Netflix, eBay,, and Starbucks.

Today, the type of business models might depend on how technology is used. For example, entrepreneurs on the internet have also created entirely new models that depend entirely on existing or emergent technology. Using technology, businesses can reach a large number of customers with minimal costs. In addition, the rise of outsourcing and globalization has meant that business models must also account for strategic sourcing, complex supply chains and moves to collaborative, relational contracting structures.[6]

Theoretical and empirical insights[edit]

Design logic and narrative coherence[edit]

Design logic views the business model as an outcome of creating new organizational structures or changing existing structures to pursue a new opportunity. Gerry George and Adam Bock (2011) conducted a comprehensive literature review and surveyed managers to understand how they perceived the components of a business model.[3] In that analysis these authors show that there is a design logic behind how entrepreneurs and managers perceive and explain their business model. In further extensions to the design logic, George and Bock (2012) use case studies and the IBM survey data on business models in large companies, to describe how CEOs and entrepreneurs create narratives or stories in a coherent manner to move the business from one opportunity to another.[4] They also show that when the narrative is incoherent or the components of the story are misaligned, that these businesses tend to fail. They recommend ways in which the entrepreneur or CEO can create strong narratives for change.

Complementarities between partnering firms[edit]

Berglund and Sandström (2013) argued that business models should be understood from an open systems perspective as opposed to being a firm-internal concern. Since innovating firms do not have executive control over their surrounding network, business model innovation tends to require soft power tactics with the goal of aligning heterogeneous interests.[7] As a result, open business models are created as firms increasingly rely on partners and suppliers to provide new activities that are outside their competence base.[8] In a study of collaborative research and external sourcing of technology, Hummel et al. (2010) similarly found that in deciding on business partners, it is important to make sure that both parties’ business models are complementary.[9] For example, they found that it was important to identify the value drivers of potential partners by analyzing their business models, and that it is beneficial to find partner firms that understand key aspects of one’s own firm’s business model.[10]

The University of Tennessee conducted research into highly collaborative business relationships. Researchers codified their research into a sourcing business model known as Vested (also referred to as Vested Outsourcing). Vested is a hybrid sourcing business model in which buyers and suppliers in an outsourcing or business relationship focus on shared values and goals to create an arrangement that is highly collaborative and mutually beneficial to each.[11]


From about 2012, some research and experimentation has theorized about a so-called “liquid business model”.[12][13]

Shift from pipes to platforms[edit]

Sangeet Paul Choudary (2013) distinguishes between two broad families of business models in an article in Wired magazine.[14] Choudary contrasts pipes (linear business models) with platforms (networked business models). In the case of pipes, firms create goods and services, push them out and sell them to customers. Value is produced upstream and consumed downstream. There is a linear flow, much like water flowing through a pipe. Unlike pipes, platforms do not just create and push stuff out. They allow users to create and consume value.

Alex Moazed, founder and CEO of Applico, defines a platform as a business model that creates value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups usually consumers and producers of a given value.[15] As a result of digital transformation, it is the predominant business model of the 21st century.

In an op-ed on MarketWatch,[16] Choudary, Van Alstyne and Parker further explain how business models are moving from pipes to platforms, leading to disruption of entire industries.


There are three elements to a successful platform business model.[17] The Toolbox creates connection by making it easy for others to plug into the platform. This infrastructure enables interactions between participants. The Magnet creates pull that attracts participants to the platform. For transaction platforms, both producers and consumers must be present to achieve critical mass. The Matchmaker fosters the flow of value by making connections between producers and consumers. Data is at the heart of successful matchmaking, and distinguishes platforms from other business models.

Chen (2009) stated that the business model has to take into account the capabilities of Web 2.0, such as collective intelligence, network effects, user-generated content, and the possibility of self-improving systems. He suggested that the service industry such as the airline, traffic, transportation, hotel, restaurant, information and communications technology and online gaming industries will be able to benefit in adopting business models that take into account the characteristics of Web 2.0. He also emphasized that Business Model 2.0 has to take into account not just the technology effect of Web 2.0 but also the networking effect. He gave the example of the success story of Amazon in making huge revenues each year by developing an open platform that supports a community of companies that re-use Amazon’s on-demand commerce services.[18][need quotation to verify]


Malone et al.[19] found that some business models, as defined by them, indeed performed better than others in a dataset consisting of the largest U.S. firms, in the period 1998 through 2002, while they did not prove whether the existence of a business model mattered.

In the healthcare space, and in particular in companies that leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence, the design of business models is particularly challenging as there are a multitude of value creation mechanisms and a multitude of possible stakeholders. An emerging categorization has identified seven archetypes.[20]

In the context of the Software-Cluster, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a business model wizard[21] for software companies has been developed. It supports the design and analysis of software business models. The tool’s underlying concept and data were published in various[citation needed] scientific publications.

The concept of a business model has been incorporated into certain accounting standards. For example, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) utilizes an “entity’s business model for managing the financial assets” as a criterion for determining whether such assets should be measured at amortized cost or at fair value in its financial instruments accounting standard, IFRS 9.[22][23][24][25] In their 2013 proposal for accounting for financial instruments, the Financial Accounting Standards Board also proposed a similar use of business model for classifying financial instruments.[26] The concept of business model has also been introduced into the accounting of deferred taxes under International Financial Reporting Standards with 2010 amendments to IAS 12 addressing deferred taxes related to investment property.[27][28][29]

Both IASB and FASB have proposed using the concept of business model in the context of reporting a lessor’s lease income and lease expense within their joint project on accounting for leases.[30][31][32][33][34] In its 2016 lease accounting model, IFRS 16, the IASB chose not to include a criterion of “stand alone utility” in its lease definition because “entities might reach different conclusions for contracts that contain the same rights of use, depending on differences between customers’ resources or suppliers’ business models.”[35] The concept has also been proposed as an approach for determining the measurement and classification when accounting for insurance contracts.[36][37] As a result of the increasing prominence the concept of business model has received in the context of financial reporting, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), which advises the European Union on endorsement of financial reporting standards, commenced a project on the “Role of the Business Model in Financial Reporting” in 2011.[38]


Business model design generally refers to the activity of designing a company’s business model. It is part of the business development and business strategy process and involves design methods. Massa and Tucci (2014)[39] highlighted the difference between crafting a new business model when none is in place, as it is often the case with academic spinoffs and high technology entrepreneurship, and changing an existing business model, such as when the tooling company Hilti shifted from selling its tools to a leasing model. They suggested that the differences are so profound (for example, lack of resource in the former case and inertia and conflicts with existing configurations and organisational structures in the latter) that it could be worthwhile to adopt different terms for the two. They suggest business model design to refer to the process of crafting a business model when none is in place and business model reconfiguration for process of changing an existing business model, also highlighting that the two process are not mutually exclusive, meaning reconfiguration may involve steps which parallel those of designing a business model.

Economic consideration[edit]

Al-Debei and Avison (2010) consider value finance as one of the main dimensions of BM which depicts information related to costing, pricing methods, and revenue structure. Stewart and Zhao (2000) defined the business model as a statement of how a firm will make money and sustain its profit stream over time.[40]

Component consideration[edit]

Osterwalder et al. (2005) consider the Business Model as the blueprint of how a company does business.[41] Slywotzky (1996) regards the business model as the totality of how a company selects its customers, defines and differentiates it offerings, defines the tasks it will perform itself and those it will outsource, configures its resources, goes to market, creates utility for customers and captures profits.[42]

Strategic outcome[edit]

Mayo and Brown (1999) considered the business model as the design of key interdependent systems that create and sustain a competitive business.[43] Casadesus-Masanell and Ricart (2011) explain a business model as a set of choices (policy, assets and governance) and consequences (flexible and rigid) and underline the importance of considering how it interacts with models of other players in the industry instead of thinking of it in isolation.[44]

Definitions of design or development[edit]

Zott and Amit (2009) consider business model design from the perspectives of design themes and design content. Design themes refer to the system’s dominant value creation drivers and design content examines in greater detail the activities to be performed, the linking and sequencing of the activities and who will perform the activities.[45]

Design themes emphasis[edit]

Environment-Strategy-Structure-Operations (ESSO) Business Model Development

Developing a Framework for Business Model Development with an emphasis on Design Themes, Lim (2010) proposed the Environment-Strategy-Structure-Operations (ESSO) Business Model Development which takes into consideration the alignment of the organization’s strategy with the organization’s structure, operations, and the environmental factors in achieving competitive advantage in varying combination of cost, quality, time, flexibility, innovation and affective.[46]

Design content emphasis[edit]

Business model design includes the modeling and description of a company’s:

A business model design template can facilitate the process of designing and describing a company’s business model.

Daas et al. (2012) developed a decision support system (DSS) for business model design. In their study a decision support system (DSS) is developed to help SaaS in this process, based on a design approach consisting of a design process that is guided by various design methods.[47]


In the early history of business models it was very typical to define business model types such as bricks-and-mortar or e-broker. However, these types usually describe only one aspect of the business (most often the revenue model). Therefore, more recent literature on business models concentrate on describing a business model as a whole, instead of only the most visible aspects.

The following examples provide an overview for various business model types that have been in discussion since the invention of term business model:

Business model by which a company integrates both offline (bricks) and online (clicks) presences. One example of the bricks-and-clicks model is when a chain of stores allows the user to order products online, but lets them pick up their order at a local store.

Business system, organization or association typically composed of relatively large numbers of businesses, tradespersons or professionals in the same or related fields of endeavor, which pools resources, shares information or provides other benefits for their members. For example, a science park or high-tech campus provides shared resources (e.g. cleanrooms and other lab facilities) to the firms located on its premises, and in addition seeks to create an innovation community among these firms and their employees.[48]

The removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: “cutting out the middleman”. Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which had some type of intermediate (such as a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet.

Direct selling is marketing and selling products to consumers directly, away from a fixed retail location. Sales are typically made through party plan, one-to-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements. A text book definition is: “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.”[49]

  • Distribution business models, various
  • Fee in, free out

Business model which works by charging the first client a fee for a service, while offering that service free of charge to subsequent clients.

Franchising is the practice of using another firm’s successful business model. For the franchisor, the franchise is an alternative to building ‘chain stores’ to distribute goods and avoid investment and liability over a chain. The franchisor’s success is the success of the franchisees. The franchisee is said to have a greater incentive than a direct employee because he or she has a direct stake in the business.

  • Sourcing business model

Sourcing Business Models are a systems-based approach to structuring supplier relationships. A sourcing business model is a type of business model that is applied to business relationships where more than one party needs to work with another party to be successful. There are seven sourcing business models that range from the transactional to investment-based. The seven models are: Basic Provider, Approved Provider, Preferred Provider, Performance-Based/Managed Services Model, Vested outsourcing Business Model, Shared Services Model, and Equity Partnership Model. Sourcing business models are targeted for procurement professionals who seek a modern approach to achieve the best fit between buyers and suppliers. Sourcing business model theory is based on a collaborative research effort by the University of Tennessee (UT), the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG)[1], the Center for Outsourcing Research and Education (CORE)[2], and the International Association for Contracts and Commercial Management (IACCM). This research formed the basis for the 2016 book, Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy: Harnessing the Potential of Sourcing Business Models in Modern Procurement.[50]

Business model that works by offering basic Web services, or a basic downloadable digital product, for free, while charging a premium for advanced or special features.[51]

A non-profit or for-profit business model which does not depend on set prices for its goods, but instead asks customers to pay what they feel the product or service is worth to them.[52][53][54] It is often used as a promotional tactic,[55] but can also be the regular method of doing business. It is a variation on the gift economy and cross-subsidization, in that it depends on reciprocity and trust to succeed.
Pay what you want” (PWYW) is sometimes used synonymously, but “pay what you can” is often more oriented to charity or socially oriented uses, based more on ability to pay, while “pay what you want” is often more broadly oriented to perceived value in combination with willingness and ability to pay.

Value Added Reseller is a model where a business makes something which is resold by other businesses but with modifications which add value to the original product or service. These modifications or additions are mostly industry specific in nature and are essential for the distribution. Businesses going for a VAR model have to develop a VAR network. It is one of the latest collaborative business models which can help in faster development cycles and is adopted by many Technology companies especially software.

Other examples of business models are:


Although Webvan failed in its goal of disintermediating the North American supermarket industry, several supermarket chains (like Safeway Inc.) have launched their own delivery services to target the niche market to which Webvan catered.
Example of Business Model Canvas.

Technology centric communities have defined “frameworks” for business modeling. These frameworks attempt to define a rigorous approach to defining business value streams. It is not clear, however, to what extent such frameworks are actually important for business planning. Business model frameworks represent the core aspect of any company; they involve “the totality of how a company selects its customers defines and differentiates its offerings, defines the tasks it will perform itself and those it will outsource, configures its resource, goes to market, creates utility for customers, and captures profits”.[56] A business framework involves internal factors (market analysis; products/services promotion; development of trust; social influence and knowledge sharing) and external factors (competitors and technological aspects).[57]

A review on business model frameworks can be found in Krumeich et al. (2012).[58] In the following some frameworks are introduced.

Business reference model is a reference model, concentrating on the architectural aspects of the core business of an enterprise, service organization or government agency.

Technique developed by IBM to model and analyze an enterprise. It is a logical representation or map of business components or “building blocks” and can be depicted on a single page. It can be used to analyze the alignment of enterprise strategy with the organization’s capabilities and investments, identify redundant or overlapping business capabilities, etc.

Business model used in strategic management and services marketing that treats service provision as an industrial process, subject to industrial optimization procedures

Developed by A. Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Alan Smith, and 470 practitioners from 45 countries, the business model canvas[2][59] is one of the most used frameworks for describing the elements of business models.

The OGSM is developed by Marc van Eck and Ellen van Zanten of Business Openers into the ‘Business plan on 1 page’. Translated in several languages all over the world. #1 Management book in The Netherlands in 2015. The foundation of Business plan on 1 page is the OGSM. Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures (dashboard and actions).

Related concepts[edit]

The process of business model design is part of business strategy. Business model design and innovation refer to the way a firm (or a network of firms) defines its business logic at the strategic level.

In contrast, firms implement their business model at the operational level, through their business operations. This refers to their process-level activities, capabilities, functions and infrastructure (for example, their business processes and business process modeling), their organizational structures (e.g. organigrams, workflows, human resources) and systems (e.g. information technology architecture, production lines).

The brand is a consequence of the business model and has a symbiotic relationship with it, because the business model determines the brand promise, and the brand equity becomes a feature of the model. Managing this is a task of integrated marketing.

The standard terminology and examples of business models do not apply to most nonprofit organizations, since their sources of income are generally not the same as the beneficiaries. The term ‘funding model’ is generally used instead.[60]

The model is defined by the organization’s vision, mission, and values, as well as sets of boundaries for the organization—what products or services it will deliver, what customers or markets it will target, and what supply and delivery channels it will use. While the business model includes high-level strategies and tactical direction for how the organization will implement the model, it also includes the annual goals that set the specific steps the organization intends to undertake in the next year and the measures for their expected accomplishment. Each of these is likely to be part of internal documentation that is available to the internal auditor.

Business model innovation[edit]

Business model innovation types[61]

When an organisation creates a new business model, the process is called business model innovation.[62][63] There is a range of reviews on the topic,[61][64][65] the latter of which defines business model innovation as the conceptualisation and implementation of new business models. This can comprise the development of entirely new business models, the diversification into additional business models, the acquisition of new business models, or the transformation from one business model to another (see figure on the right). The transformation can affect the entire business model or individual or a combination of its value proposition, value creation and deliver, and value capture elements, the interrelations between the elements, and the value network. The concept facilitates the analysis and planning of transformations from one business model to another.[65] Frequent and successful business model innovation can increase an organisation’s resilience to changes in its environment and if an organisation has the capability to do this, it can become a competitive advantage.[66]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • A. Afuah and C. Tucci, Internet Business Models and Strategies, Boston, McGraw Hill, 2003.
  • T. Burkhart, J. Krumeich, D. Werth, and P. Loos, Analyzing the Business Model Concept — A Comprehensive Classification of Literature, Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2011). Paper 12.
  • H. Chesbrough and R. S. Rosenbloom, The Role of the Business Model in capturing value from Innovation: Evidence from XEROX Corporation’s Technology Spinoff Companies., Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard Business School, 2002.
  • Dick Costolo, Business Models,
  • Marc Fetscherin and Gerhard Knolmayer, Focus Theme Articles: Business Models for Content Delivery: An Empirical Analysis of the Newspaper and Magazine Industry, International Journal on Media Management, Volume 6, Issue 1 & 2 September 2004, pages 4 – 11, September 2004.
  • George, G., Bock, AJ. Models of opportunity: How entrepreneurs design firms to achieve the unexpected. Cambridge University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-521-17084-0.
  • J. Gordijn, Value-based Requirements Engineering – Exploring Innovative e-Commerce Ideas, Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, 2002.
  • G. Hamel, Leading the revolution., Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 2000.
  • J. Linder and S. Cantrell, Changing Business Models: Surveying the Landscape, Accenture Institute for Strategic Change, 2000.
  • Lindgren, P. and Jørgensen, R., M.-S. Li, Y. Taran, K. F. Saghaug, “Towards a new generation of business model innovation model“, presented at the 12th International CINet Conference: Practicing innovation in times of discontinuity, Aarhus, Denmark, 10–13 September 2011
  • Long Range Planning, vol 43 April 2010, “Special Issue on Business Models,” includes 19 pieces by leading scholars on the nature of business models
  • S. Muegge. Business Model Discovery by Technology Entrepreneurs. Technology Innovation Management Review, April 2012, pp. 5–16.
  • S. Muegge, C. Haw, and Sir T. Matthews, Business Models for Entrepreneurs and Startups, Best of TIM Review, Book 2, Talent First Network, 2013.
  • Alex Osterwalder et al. Business Model Generation, Co-authored with Yves Pigneur, Alan Smith, and 470 practitioners from 45 countries, self-published, 2009
  • O. Peterovic and C. Kittl et al., Developing Business Models for eBusiness., International Conference on Electronic Commerce 2001, 2001.
  • Alt, Rainer; Zimmermann, Hans-Dieter: Introduction to Special Section – Business Models. In: Electronic Markets Anniversary Edition, Vol. 11 (2001), No. 1. link
  • Santiago Restrepo Barrera, Business model tool, Business life model, Colombia 2012,!business-life-model/c1o75 (Spanish)
  • Paul Timmers. Business Models for Electronic Markets, Electronic Markets, Vol 8 (1998) No 2, pp. 3 – 8.
  • Peter Weill and M. R. Vitale, Place to space: Migrating to eBusiness Models., Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 2001.
  • C. Zott, R. Amit, & L.Massa. ‘The Business Model: Theoretical Roots, Recent Developments, and Future Research’, WP-862, IESE, June, 2010 – revised September 2010 (PDF)
  • Magretta, J. (2002). Why Business Models Matter, Harvard Business Review, May: 86-92.
  • Govindarajan, V. and Trimble, C. (2011). The CEO’s role in business model reinvention. Harvard Business Review, January–February: 108-114.
  • van Zyl, Jay. (2011). Built to Thrive: using innovation to make your mark in a connected world. Chapter 7 Towards a universal service delivery platform. San Francisco.

External links[edit]

Bed and breakfast

For other uses, see Bed & Breakfast (disambiguation).
Breakfast at a B&B in Quebec City, Canada

A bed and breakfast (typically shortened to B&B or BnB) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfasts are often private family homes and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average.[1] In addition, a B&B usually has the hosts living in the house.

Bed and breakfast is also used to describe the level of catering included in a hotel’s room prices, as opposed to room only, half-board or full-board.



Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host’s kitchen.

B&Bs and guest houses may be operated as either a secondary source of income or a primary occupation. Often the owners themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms, but some bed and breakfasts hire staff for cleaning or cooking. Properties with hired professional management are uncommon (unlike inns or hotels) but may exist if the same owner operates multiple B&Bs.

Some B&Bs operate in a niche market. Floating bed and breakfasts are boats or houseboats which offer B&B accommodation; the CCGS Alexander Henry museum ship was one example. In some communities, former lighthouse keeper quarters have been turned into B&B rooms after the light has been automated or decommissioned.

International differences[edit]


In China expatriates have remodelled traditional structures in quiet picturesque rural areas and opened a few rustic boutique hotels with minimum amenities. Most patrons are tourists but they are growing in popularity among the Chinese.[2]


In Cuba, which opened up to tourism in the 1990s after the financial support of the Soviet Union ended, a form of B&B called casa particular (“private home”) became the main form of accommodation outside the tourist resorts. Not all casas particulares offer breakfast.


In Hungary, B&Bs are very popular. They usually are a small family-run hotel, have an intimate ambience and a pleasant atmosphere. It provides an affordable alternate for the hotels. In Hungarian the B&B is called “Panzió” or “Szálló”.


In India, the government is promoting the concept of bed & breakfast.[3] The government is doing this to increase tourism, especially keeping in view of the demand for hotels during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.[4] They have classified B&Bs in 2 categories – Gold B&Bs, and Silver B&Bs. All B&Bs must be approved by the Ministry of Tourism, who will then categorize it as Gold or Silver based upon a list of pre-defined criteria.[5]

Enormous growth in metro cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Pune, Bangalore and Mumbai have seen such rapid growth that people are rushing to these cities to find a respectable job for their respective trades, and operating or hosting a Bed & Breakfast is becoming a favourite option among them. Average B&B service providers are offering standard services and other accoutrements that westerners have come to expect when traveling abroad. The basics include: air-conditioner or air cooler, free food, and free wi-fi internet. Premium providers may offer extra services to justify the increased price. Some of these services include, but are not limited to: buildings with a lift/elevator, no surcharge electricity use for the duration of a customers stay, and free geyser usage. 50Mbit/s to 100Mbit/s leased internet line for guests, an intercom system, and security with IP cameras (which is mandatory by local state government and police department) that are monitored by security guards 24*7 rounds out the services provided to premium properties.
The cost to rent a room(s) at standard B&Bs are around $100 to $120 per person per month, and premium B&B packages start around $180 per person per month, but may increase if more services are provided[citation needed]


Registered Irish B&Bs are star rated by Fáilte Ireland. Generally, B&Bs in Ireland are family owned & run, with a small percentage being leased/managed but still with the personal service expected in this sector. Owners / Managers nearly always live on the premises. Breakfast can mean a cooked “Irish Fry” or continental style buffet.


In the patio of a guest house in Tamchy, Kyrgyzstan

The Israeli B&B is known as a zimmer (German for ‘room’). All over the country, but especially in northern Israel (Galilee, Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights) the zimmer has developed into an extensive industry. This industry began to develop in the 1990s, when agriculture became less profitable, and many families with farms in moshavim, kibbutzim, farms and even in cities decided to try their luck in the business of hospitality. In the last decade, there has been development of bed and breakfasts also in southern Israel in the Negev.[6][7]


In Italy, regional law regulates B&Bs. There is a national law “Legge 29 marzo 2001, n. 135” but each region maintains a specific regulation. Each region can adopt different regulations but they must observe the national law on Tourism (Law N° 135 /2001).


Bed & Breakfast in the Netherlands literally means what it says, namely ‘bed with breakfast’. In the Netherlands, it is also often referred to as lodgings with breakfast, a guestroom or guesthouse. Bed & Breakfast is a small-scale type of accommodation, which is available to guests for a short stay. Nearly all bed & breakfasts are established in a residential home and are run by the owners of that particular residence. Dutch bed & breakfasts are commonly held in historic monumental houses or farms. There are approximately 5,000 bed & breakfasts in the Netherlands.[citation needed]

New Zealand[edit]

A Centre of New Zealand Bed and Breakfast
The front yard of the Dupont at the Circle B&B, located at 1604 19th Street, N.W., in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Snow continues to pile up during the February 9–10, 2010 North American blizzard.

Bed and breakfasts in New Zealand tend to be more expensive than motels and often feature historic homes and furnished bedrooms at a commensurate price.[citation needed]


The trend of B&Bs in Pakistan is quite widespread. Popular resorts like Murree, which attract many tourists from different parts of the country, have a number of such resthouses. The expenses can vary, depending on the quality of facilities. Most bed and breakfast facilities tend to expediently cater to families, given the high level of group tourism, and offer suitable overnight lodging.

Carriage B&B Hinto Panzio in Transylvania, Odorheiu-Secuiesc (Szekelyudvarhely), Romania


While exploring Romania’s countryside, smaller cities or traditional villages, visitors can stay at a bed and breakfast (usually called “Pensiune”). Bed and Breakfast in Romania are rated with daisies, from one to three, three daisies being the best rating. A Bed and Breakfast offers clean and inexpensive accommodations as well as the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day life and culture of rural part Romania especially in Transylvania where B&B is more popular. Visitors will have the chance to try fresh, organic farm products.


Bed and breakfast is a 21st-century phenomenon in Spain. In the past, the equivalent was Habitacion con derecho a cocina which means “room along with use of the kitchen area”. In Spain, bed and breakfast offers are provided by hotels, hostels, apartments, houses and Inns. Normally bed and breakfast flats or houses consist of 5-7 rooms but as they are not heavily regulated, people are free to provide their houses as bed and breakfast to pay for some of the bills.


Bed and breakfast was more or less a direct import from the British style B&B. The B&B isn’t evenly spread over the country, most are in southern province of Skåne or near one of the three larger cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Some breakfast hotels and other minor hotels trying to profit from the name also call their accommodation B&B.

No laws in Sweden restrict such advertising; the only restriction is from the authority of traffic (Trafikverket), who only give permission to put up the bed and breakfast sign by the local road if the owner lives in the same building as the guests.
If the proprietor has less than eight beds, no permissions from the police office is required to run public accommodations, but fire safety and food safety applies to all new facilities, regardless of the number of beds.

In a Swedish B&B there is often a guest kitchen available. Standard is usually acceptable but sometimes with en-suite bathroom or sometimes a shared bathroom in the corridor.

United Kingdom[edit]

Little Langford Farmhouse, Salisbury, Wiltshire

There are 25,000 B&Bs and guest houses in the UK. The sector used to have a reputation[when?] as cheap no-frills accommodation, and were generally the budget option compared to hotels. In recent years[when?], standards have risen and up-market B&Bs have become popular. There are numerous B&Bs found in seaside towns, the countryside as well as city centres.[9][10]

B&Bs are graded by Visit Britain on a star system. 3, 4 and 5-star establishments have a higher standard.[11] A majority of B and Bs in the UK have en-suite facilities.

United States[edit]

The custom of opening one’s home to travellers dates back the earliest days of Colonial America. Lodging establishments were few and far between in the 18th century and, apart from a limited number of coaching inns, wayfarers relied on the kindness of strangers to provide a bed for the night. Hotels became more common with the advent of the railroad and later the automobile; most towns had at least one prominent hotel.

During the Great Depression, tourist homes provided an economic advantage to both the traveller and the host. Driving through town on US Highways (in a pre-Interstate highway era), travellers stopped at houses with signs reading Tourists or Guests, where one could rent a room for the night for approximately $2. While little more than short-stay boarding houses, the rooms brought needed income for the home owner and saved money for the traveller. A tourist home or guest house represented an intermediate option between inexpensive campgrounds or cabins and costly railway hotels. (The motel fad of the 1950s and 1960s later filled this niche, now occupied by economy limited service hotels.) Non-white travellers could consult The Negro Motorist Green Book, a printed directory, to find lodging at which they would be welcome despite racial segregation and widespread discrimination.

After World War II, middle-class Americans began travelling in Europe in large numbers, many experiencing the European-style B&Bs (Zimmer frei in Germany, chambres d’hotes in France) for the first time. Some were inspired to open B&Bs in the U.S.; tourist home owners updated their properties as B&Bs. The interest in B&Bs coincided with an increasing interest in historic preservation, spurred by the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976 and assisted by two crucial pieces of legislation: the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which provided tax incentives for the restoration and reuse of historic structures.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, B&Bs increased rapidly in numbers and evolved from homestay B&Bs with shared baths and a simple furnishings to beautifully renovated historic mansions with luxurious décor and amenities. Many B&Bs created a historical ambiance by adapting historic properties (such as the 1830s Federal-style Holladay House in Orange, Virginia) as guesthouses decorated with antique furniture.[citation needed] Printed directories listed options in various cities. By the mid-1990s, the Internet made it more affordable for innkeepers to promote their properties worldwide; it provided online reservation software and allowed travellers to view detailed photos, videos, and reviews.

B&B and Inn owners have been adding amenities such as wireless Internet access, free parking, spa services or nightly wine and cheese hours. To stay competitive with the rest of the lodging industry, larger bed and breakfast inns have expanded to offer wedding services, business conference facilities, and meeting spaces as well as many other services a large hotel might offer.

There are approximately 17,000 B&Bs in the United States.[1] B&Bs are found in all states, in major cities and remote rural areas, occupying everything from modest cottages to opulent mansions, and in restored structures from schools to cabooses to churches.


Regulations and laws vary considerably between jurisdictions both in content and extent and in enforcement.

The most common regulations B&Bs must follow pertain to safety. They are usually required by local and national ordinances to have fire resistance, a sufficient fire escape plan in place, and smoke detectors in each guest room. Kitchens and equipment used to serve meals are also often required to be monitored for hygienic operation, but there are significant national and local differences.

In Hawaii, it is illegal to open a new bed & breakfast on Oahu as of 1989. The reason for the moratorium is to force home owners with extra room to rent out their extra space to low income residents who otherwise cannot afford housing on crowded Oahu.

Professional and trade associations[edit]

Many inns and bed and breakfasts are members of professional associations. There are international, national, regional, and local associations, all of which provide services to both their members and the travelling public. Many require their members to meet specific standards of quality, while others simply require a lodging establishment to pay dues. These associations also facilitate marketing of the individual B&Bs and provide a stamp of approval that the business in question is reputable.

While various local governments have regulations and inspect lodging establishments for health and safety issues, membership in a state/provincial/national bed and breakfast association can indicate a higher standard of hospitality. Associations sometimes review their members’ properties and tend to have additional standards of care.

In the US for example, each state has an innkeeping association (usually non-profit) that exists to promote the industry and tourism. Within those state associations, many city and regional bed and breakfast associations can be found. Many state, city and regional associations, have inspection criteria that often exceed government requirements for safety and cleanliness. The two primary nationwide professional associations are the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), based in Wisconsin and founded in 1987 by two innkeepers, and the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP).

In Australia, the industry is represented by the Bed & Breakfast, Farmstay and Accommodation Australia Ltd (BBFAA).

In the British Isles the national approval boards set up by governments are far more stringent than others and standards are expected to be high. In Ireland there is an association that will only use the national tourist board’s approved members.


Tourism Queensland study[edit]

In January 2003 Tourism Queensland conducted a review of current research to gain a better understanding of the Bed & Breakfast (B&B) market:[12]

Michigan State University study[edit]

According to a study by Michigan State University:[13]

According to this study, many bed and breakfast visitors make use of evaluations, given by other guests. This system of independent reviews is one of the fastest growing consumer content oriented sites on the net.

ComScore study[edit]

Another study suggests that people trust online reviews posted by previous guests:[14]

Journal of Travel Research study[edit]

A study by the Journal of Travel Research stated:[15]

Prince Edward Island study[edit]

A 2007 study on Prince Edward Island[16]

TIME magazine[edit]

According to TIME magazine:[17]

See also[edit]



Industrial applications of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is impacting the field of consumer goods, several products that incorporate nanomaterials are already in a variety of items; many of which people do not even realize contain nanoparticles, products with novel functions ranging from easy-to-clean to scratch-resistant. Examples of that car bumpers are made lighter, clothing is more stain repellant, sunscreen is more radiation resistant, synthetic bones are stronger, cell phone screens are lighter weight, glass packaging for drinks leads to a longer shelf-life, and balls for various sports are made more durable.[1] Using nanotech, in the mid-term modern textiles will become “smart”, through embedded “wearable electronics”, such novel products have also a promising potential especially in the field of cosmetics, and has numerous potential applications in heavy industry. Nanotechnology is predicted to be a main driver of technology and business in this century and holds the promise of higher performance materials, intelligent systems and new production methods with significant impact for all aspects of society.


  • 1 Foods
    • 1.1 Nano-foods
  • 2 Consumer goods
    • 2.1 Surfaces and coatings
    • 2.2 Textiles
    • 2.3 Cosmetics
    • 2.4 Sports
  • 3 Aerospace and vehicle manufacturers
  • 4 Military
    • 4.1 Biological sensors
    • 4.2 Uniform material
    • 4.3 Communication method
    • 4.4 Medical system
    • 4.5 Weapons
    • 4.6 Risks in military
  • 5 Catalysis
  • 6 Construction
    • 6.1 Cement
    • 6.2 Steel
    • 6.3 Wood
    • 6.4 Glass
    • 6.5 Coatings
    • 6.6 Fire Protection and detection
    • 6.7 Risks in construction
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


A complex set of engineering and scientific challenges in the food and bioprocessing industry for manufacturing high quality and safe food through efficient and sustainable means can be solved through nanotechnology. Bacteria identification and food quality monitoring using biosensors; intelligent, active, and smart food packaging systems; nanoencapsulation of bioactive food compounds are few examples of emerging applications of nanotechnology for the food industry.[2] Nanotechnology can be applied in the production, processing, safety and packaging of food. A nanocomposite coating process could improve food packaging by placing anti-microbial agents directly on the surface of the coated film.
Nanocomposites could increase or decrease gas permeability of different fillers as is needed for different products. They can also improve the mechanical and heat-resistance properties and lower the oxygen transmission rate. Research is being performed to apply nanotechnology to the detection of chemical and biological substances for sensanges in foods.[citation needed]

In general, food substances are not allowed to be adulterated, according to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (section 402).[3] Additives to food must conform to all regulations in the food additives amendment of 1958 as well as the FDA Modernization Act of 1997. In addition, color additives are obliged to comply with all regulations stipulated by the Color Additive Amendments of 1960. A safety assessment must be performed on all food substances for submission and approval by the US FDA. The mandatory information in this assessment includes the identity, technical effects, self-limiting levels of use, dietary exposure and safety studies for the manufacturing processes used, including the use of nanotechnology. Food manufacturers are obliged to assess whether the identity, safety or regulatory status of a food substance is affected by significant changes in manufacturing processes, such as the use of nanotechnology. In their guidance document published in April 2012, the US FDA discusses what considerations and recommendations may apply to such an assessment.[citation needed]


New foods are among the nanotechnology-created consumer products coming onto the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week, according to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), based on an inventory it has drawn up of 609 known or claimed nano-products. On PEN’s list are three foods—a brand of canola cooking oil called Canola Active Oil, a tea called Nanotea and a chocolate diet shake called Nanoceuticals Slim Shake Chocolate. According to company information posted on PEN’s Web site, the canola oil, by Shemen Industries of Israel, contains an additive called “nanodrops” designed to carry vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals through the digestive system and urea.[4] The shake, according to U.S. manufacturer RBC Life Sciences Inc., uses cocoa infused “NanoClusters” to enhance the taste and health benefits of cocoa without the need for extra sugar.[5]

Consumer goods[edit]

Surfaces and coatings[edit]

The most prominent application of nanotechnology in the household is self-cleaning or “easy-to-clean” surfaces on ceramics or glasses. Nanoceramic particles have improved the smoothness and heat resistance of common household equipment such as the flat iron.[citation needed]

The first sunglasses using protective and anti-reflective ultrathin polymer coatings are on the market. For optics, nanotechnology also offers scratch resistant surface coatings based on nanocomposites. Nano-optics could allow for an increase in precision of pupil repair and other types of laser eye surgery.[citation needed]


The use of engineered nanofibers already makes clothes water- and stain-repellent or wrinkle-free. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. Nanotechnology has been used to integrate tiny carbon particles membrane and guarantee full-surface protection from electrostatic charges for the wearer. Many other applications have been developed by research institutions such as the Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at Cornell University, and the UK’s Dstl and its spin out company P2i.[citation needed]


One field of application is in sunscreens. The traditional chemical UV protection approach suffers from its poor long-term stability. A sunscreen based on mineral nanoparticles such as titanium oxide offer several advantages. Titanium oxide nanoparticles have a comparable UV protection property as the bulk material, but lose the cosmetically undesirable whitening as the particle size is decreased.[citation needed]


Nanotechnology may also play a role in sports such as soccer, football,[6] and baseball.[7] Materials for new athletic shoes may be made in order to make the shoe lighter (and the athlete faster).[8] Baseball bats already on the market are made with carbon nanotubes that reinforce the resin, which is said to improve its performance by making it lighter.[7] Other items such as sport towels, yoga mats, exercise mats are on the market and used by players in the National Football League, which use antimicrobial nanotechnology to prevent parasuram from illnesses caused by bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as MRSA).[6]

Aerospace and vehicle manufacturers[edit]

Lighter and stronger materials will be of immense use to aircraft manufacturers, leading to increased performance. Spacecraft will also benefit, where weight is a major factor. Nanotechnology might thus help to reduce the size of equipment and thereby decrease fuel-consumption required to get it airborne. Hang gliders may be able to halve their weight while increasing their strength and toughness through the use of nanotech materials. Nanotech is lowering the mass of supercapacitors that will increasingly be used to give power to assistive electrical motors for launching hang gliders off flatland to thermal-chasing altitudes.[citation needed]

Much like aerospace, lighter and stronger materials would be useful for creating vehicles that are both faster and safer. Combustion engines might also benefit from parts that are more hard-wearing and more heat-resistant.[citation needed]


Biological sensors[edit]

Nanotechnology can improve the military’s ability to detect biological agents. By using nanotechnology, the military would be able to create sensor systems that could detect biological agents.[9] The sensor systems are already well developed and will be one of the first forms of nanotechnology that the military will start to use.[10]

Uniform material[edit]

Nanoparticles can be injected into the material on soldiers’ uniforms to not only make the material more durable, but also to protect soldiers from many different dangers such as high temperatures, impacts and chemicals.[9] The nanoparticles in the material protect soldiers from these dangers by grouping together when something strikes the armor and stiffening the area of impact. This stiffness helps lessen the impact of whatever hit the armor, whether it was extreme heat or a blunt force. By reducing the force of the impact, the nanoparticles protect the soldier wearing the uniform from any injury the impact could have caused.

Another way nanotechnology can improve soldiers’ uniforms is by creating a better form of camouflage. Mobile pigment nanoparticles injected into the material can produce a better form of camouflage.[11] These mobile pigment particles would be able to change the color of the uniforms depending upon the area that the soldiers are in. There is still much research being done on this self-changing camouflage.

Nanotechnology can improve thermal camouflage. Thermal camouflage helps protect soldiers from people who are using night vision technology. Surfaces of many different military items can be designed in a way that electromagnetic radiation can help lower the infrared signatures of the object that the surface is on.[11] Surfaces of soldiers’ uniforms and surfaces of military vehicle are a few surfaces that can be designed in this way. By lowering the infrared signature of both the soldiers and the military vehicles the soldiers are using, it will provide better protection from infrared guided weapons or infrared surveillance sensors.

Communication method[edit]

There is a way to use nanoparticles to create coated polymer threads that can be woven into soldiers’ uniforms.[12] These polymer threads could be used as a form of communication between the soldiers. The system of threads in the uniforms could be set to different light wavelengths, eliminating the ability for anyone else to listen in.[12] This would lower the risk of having anything intercepted by unwanted listeners.

Medical system[edit]

A medical surveillance system for soldiers to wear can be made using nanotechnology. This system would be able to watch over their health and stress levels. The systems would be able to react to medical situations by releasing drugs or compressing wounds as necessary.[11] This means that if the system detected an injury that was bleeding, it would be able to compress around the wound until further medical treatment could be received. The system would also be able to release drugs into the soldier’s body for health reasons, such as pain killers for an injury. The system would be able to inform the medics at base of the soldier’s health status at all times that the soldier is wearing the system. The energy needed to communicate this information back to base would be produced through the soldier’s body movements.[11]


Nanoweapon is the name given to military technology currently under development which seeks to exploit the power of nanotechnology in the modern battlefield.[13][14][15][16]

Risks in military[edit]

  • People such as state agencies, criminals and enterprises could use nano-robots to eavesdrop on conversations held in private.[11]
  • Grey goo: an uncontrollable, self-replicating nano-machine or robot.
  • Nanoparticles used in different military materials could potentially be a hazard to the soldiers that are wearing the material, if the material is allowed to get worn out. As the uniforms wear down it is possible for nanomaterial to break off and enter the soldiers’ bodies.[17] Having nanoparticles entering the soldiers’ bodies would be very unhealthy and could seriously harm them. There is not a lot of information on what the actual damage to the soldiers would be, but there have been studies on the effect of nanoparticles entering a fish through its skin. The studies showed that the different fish in the study suffered from varying degrees of brain damage. Although brain damage would be a serious negative effect, the studies also say that the results cannot be taken as an accurate example of what would happen to soldiers if nanoparticles entered their bodies.[18] There are very strict regulations on the scientists that manufacture products with nanoparticles. With these strict regulations, they are able to largely decrease the danger of nanoparticles wearing off of materials and entering the soldiers’ systems.[19]


Chemical catalysis benefits especially from nanoparticles, due to the extremely large surface-to-volume ratio. The application potential of nanoparticles in catalysis ranges from fuel cell to catalytic converters and photocatalytic devices. Catalysis is also important for the production of chemicals. For example, nanoparticles with a distinct chemical surrounding (ligands), or specific optical properties.[citation needed]

Platinum nanoparticles are being considered in the next generation of automotive catalytic converters because the very high surface area of nanoparticles could reduce the amount of platinum required.[20] However, some concerns have been raised due to experiments demonstrating that they will spontaneously combust if methane is mixed with the ambient air.[21] Ongoing research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France may resolve their true usefulness for catalytic applications.[22] Nanofiltration may come to be an important application, although future research must be careful to investigate possible toxicity.[23]


Nanotechnology has the potential to make construction faster, cheaper, safer, and more varied. Automation of nanotechnology construction can allow for the creation of structures from advanced homes to massive skyscrapers much more quickly and at much lower cost. In the near future,
Nanotechnology can be used to sense cracks in foundations of architecture and can send nanobots to repair them.[24][25]

Nanotechnology is an active research area that encompasses a number of disciplines such as electronics, bio-mechanics and coatings. These disciplines assist in the areas of civil engineering and construction materials.[24] If nanotechnology is implemented in the construction of homes and infrastructure, such structures will be stronger. If buildings are stronger, then fewer of them will require reconstruction and less waste will be produced.

Nanotechnology in construction involves using nanoparticles such as alumina and silica. Manufacturers are also investigating the methods of producing nano-cement. If cement with nano-size particles can be manufactured and processed, it will open up a large number of opportunities in the fields of ceramics, high strength composites and electronic applications.

Nanomaterials still have a high cost relative to conventional materials, meaning that they are not likely to feature in high-volume building materials. The day when this technology slashes the consumption of structural steel has not yet been contemplated.[26]


Much analysis of concrete is being done at the nano-level in order to understand its structure. Such analysis uses various techniques developed for study at that scale such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Focused Ion Beam (FIB). This has come about as a side benefit of the development of these instruments to study the nanoscale in general, but the understanding of the structure and behavior of concrete at the fundamental level is an important and very appropriate use of nanotechnology. One of the fundamental aspects of nanotechnology is its interdisciplinary nature and there has already been cross over research between the mechanical modeling of bones for medical engineering to that of concrete which has enabled the study of chloride diffusion in concrete (which causes corrosion of reinforcement). Concrete is, after all, a macro-material strongly influenced by its nano-properties and understanding it at this new level is yielding new avenues for improvement of strength, durability and monitoring as outlined in the following paragraphs

Silica (SiO2) is present in conventional concrete as part of the normal mix. However, one of the advancements made by the study of concrete at the nanoscale is that particle packing in concrete can be improved by using nano-silica which leads to a densifying of the micro and nanostructure resulting in improved mechanical properties. Nano-silica addition to cement based materials can also control the degradation of the fundamental C-S-H (calcium-silicatehydrate) reaction of concrete caused by calcium leaching in water as well as block water penetration and therefore lead to improvements in durability. Related to improved particle packing, high energy milling of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) clinker and standard sand, produces a greater particle size diminution with respect to conventional OPC and, as a result, the compressive strength of the refined material is also 3 to 6 times higher (at different ages).[25]


Steel is a widely available material that has a major role in the construction industry. The use of nanotechnology in steel helps to improve the physical properties of steel. Fatigue, or the structural failure of steel, is due to cyclic loading. Current steel designs are based on the reduction in the allowable stress, service life or regular inspection regime. This has a significant impact on the life-cycle costs of structures and limits the effective use of resources. Stress risers are responsible for initiating cracks from which fatigue failure results. The addition of copper nanoparticles reduces the surface un-evenness of steel, which then limits the number of stress risers and hence fatigue cracking. Advancements in this technology through the use of nanoparticles would lead to increased safety, less need for regular inspection, and more efficient materials free from fatigue issues for construction.[24]

Steel cables can be strengthened using carbon nanotubes. Stronger cables reduce the costs and period of construction, especially in suspension bridges, as the cables are run from end to end of the span.[24]

The use of vanadium and molybdenum nanoparticles improves the delayed fracture problems associated with high strength bolts. This reduces the effects of hydrogen embrittlement and improves steel micro-structure by reducing the effects of the inter-granular cementite phase.[24]

Welds and the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) adjacent to welds can be brittle and fail without warning when subjected to sudden dynamic loading. The addition of nanoparticles such as magnesium and calcium makes the HAZ grains finer in plate steel. This nanoparticle addition leads to an increase in weld strength. The increase in strength results in a smaller resource requirement because less material is required in order to keep stresses within allowable limits.[24]


Nanotechnology represents a major opportunity for the wood industry to develop new products, substantially reduce processing costs, and open new markets for biobased materials.

Wood is also composed of nanotubes or “nanofibrils”; namely, lignocellulosic (woody tissue) elements which are twice as strong as steel. Harvesting these nanofibrils would lead to a new paradigm in sustainable construction as both the production and use would be part of a renewable cycle. Some developers have speculated that building functionality onto lignocellulosic surfaces at the nanoscale could open new opportunities for such things as self-sterilizing surfaces, internal self-repair, and electronic lignocellulosic devices. These non-obtrusive active or passive nanoscale sensors would provide feedback on product performance and environmental conditions during service by monitoring structural loads, temperatures, moisture content, decay fungi, heat losses or gains, and loss of conditioned air. Currently, however, research in these areas appears limited.

Due to its natural origins, wood is leading the way in cross-disciplinary research and modelling techniques. BASF have developed a highly water repellent coating based on the actions of the lotus leaf as a result of the incorporation of silica and alumina nanoparticles and hydrophobic polymers. Mechanical studies of bones have been adapted to model wood, for instance in the drying process.[25]


Research is being carried out on the application of nanotechnology to glass, another important material in construction. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are used to coat glazing since it has sterilizing and anti-fouling properties. The particles catalyze powerful reactions that break down organic pollutants, volatile organic compounds and bacterial membranes. TiO2 is hydrophilic (attraction to water), which can attract rain drops that then wash off the dirt particles. Thus the introduction of nanotechnology in the Glass industry, incorporates the self-cleaning property of glass.[24]

Fire-protective glass is another application of nanotechnology. This is achieved by using a clear intumescent layer sandwiched between glass panels (an interlayer) formed of silica nanoparticles (SiO2), which turns into a rigid and opaque fire shield when heated. Most of glass in construction is on the exterior surface of buildings. So the light and heat entering the building through glass has to be prevented. The nanotechnology can provide a better solution to block light and heat coming through windows.[24]


Coatings is an important area in construction coatings are extensively use to paint the walls, doors, and windows. Coatings should provide a protective layer bound to the base material to produce a surface of the desired protective or functional properties. The coatings should have self healing capabilities through a process of “self-assembly”. Nanotechnology is being applied to paints to obtained the coatings having self healing capabilities and corrosion protection under insulation. Since these coatings are hydrophobic and repels water from the metal pipe and can also protect metal from salt water attack.[24]

Nanoparticle based systems can provide better adhesion and transparency. The TiO2 coating captures and breaks down organic and inorganic air pollutants by a photocatalytic process, which leads to putting roads to good environmental use.[24]

Fire Protection and detection[edit]

Fire resistance of steel structures is often provided by a coating produced by a spray-on-cementitious process. The nano-cement has the potential to create a new paradigm in this area of application because the resulting material can be used as a tough, durable, high temperature coating. It provides a good method of increasing fire resistance and this is a cheaper option than conventional insulation.[24]

Risks in construction[edit]

In building construction nanomaterials are widely used from self-cleaning windows to flexible solar panels to wi-fi blocking paint. The self-healing concrete, materials to block ultraviolet and infrared radiation, smog-eating coatings and light-emitting walls and ceilings are the new nanomaterials in construction. Nanotechnology is a promise for making the “smart home” a reality. Nanotech-enabled sensors can monitor temperature, humidity, and airborne toxins, which needs nanotech-based improved batteries. The building components will be intelligent and interactive since the sensor uses wireless components, it can collect the wide range of data.[24]

If nanosensors and nanomaterials become an everyday part of the buildings, as with smart homes, what are the consequences of these materials on human beings?[24]

  • Effect of nanoparticles on health and environment: Nanoparticles may also enter the body if building water supplies are filtered through commercially available nanofilters. Airborne and waterborne nanoparticles enter from building ventilation and wastewater systems.[24]
  • Effect of nanoparticles on societal issues: As sensors become commonplace, a loss of privacy and autonomy may result from users interacting with increasingly intelligent building components.[24]


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External links[edit]

  • Overview of Nanotechnology Applications
  • Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Real Thrive Experiences – “Le-Vel has given us options in life!”


So being a mom of two, I don’t think any mother ever decides they’re going to be a lazy mom, the mom that lays on the couch on a beautiful day or makes excuses to watch a movie after work instead of going to the park because you’re so tired. I was fueled on coffee, energy drinks, soda, anything just to get me through. Day 1, it was crazy and I didn’t think it was working. I was used to that rush of energy from all the coffee I would drink that when I took the three steps and I got to work I thought, “I don’t feel like a rocket ship. Is it even working?” And my two o’clock break came and went, usually that’s when I would go get some candy or I’d go get a donut from the gas station and that day I just felt good and I worked for my family business and I’ll never forget my mom coming out of her office and she said, “Are you cleaning? Why aren’t you trying to take a nap in the back room? What are you doing today?” And that night when I came home and actually wanted to make dinner and I didn’t feel like I needed toothpicks to hold my eyes open to read bedtime stories.


I felt like you can finally be that mom. All I could think of was all of the other mom friends I had that were taking naps and were tired and snapping at their kids and then being upset with themselves later because they just had nothing left to give. So, by Day 3, when my husband met me at the door and said, “You’ve been the nicest you’ve ever been in three days. You’ve come home happy. You’re playing with the kids. You’re cooking, you’re cleaning. Is it that crazy sticker?” And he said, “I don’t care what it costs.” At the time we were putting groceries on a credit card, barely getting by. He said, “I don’t care what it costs, this is the you we love.


And you need to continue.” So, from there I ordered as a Promoter. I hit my VIP and it paid off that card. So, he didn’t know about the card either until after I paid it off. That’s really where my mindset shifted, is to this is something I’m going to take every day because I feel good and I feel like I’ve finally found me again.





Why wouldn’t I share this with everybody that I truly love? From there by my eight-week point I had gained eight pounds but I had lost a pant size. So, my body is finally getting what it needed instead of junk food and coffee to get me through my day. I was craving healthier food. My energy was through the roof and my dream in life was to be a mom and I was wasting it on the couch. I didn’t realize that until I finally felt better, how much time I had wasted and I’m just so thankful every day that my youngest will never remember that mom. He’ll always remember the mom that’s on the monkey bars.


My step-son tells me when we drop him off at school, “Sammy, turn down the radio you’re embarrassing me.” Because we’re jamming out in the morning. To be able to be that fun mom and have options in life is truly what this company has done for us..

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Chernobyl disaster

1986 nuclear accident

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.[1][2] It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history and is one of only two nuclear energy disasters rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

The accident started during a safety test on an RBMK-type nuclear reactor, which was commonly used throughout the Soviet Union. The test was a simulation of an electrical power outage to aid the development of a safety procedure for maintaining cooling water circulation until the back-up generators could provide power. This operating gap was about one minute and had been identified as a potential safety problem that could cause the nuclear reactor core to overheat.

Three such tests had been conducted since 1982, but had failed to provide a solution. On this fourth attempt, the test was delayed by 10 hours, so the operating shift that had been prepared was not present. The test supervisor then failed to follow procedure, creating unstable operating conditions that, combined with inherent RBMK reactor design flaws and the intentional disabling of several nuclear reactor safety systems, resulted in an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction.[3]

A large amount of energy was suddenly released, vapourising superheated cooling water and rupturing the reactor core in a highly destructive steam explosion. This was immediately followed by an open-air reactor core fire that released considerable airborne radioactive contamination for about nine days that precipitated onto parts of the USSR and western Europe, before being finally contained on 4 May 1986.[4][5]

The fire gradually released about the same amount of contamination as the initial explosion.[6]
As a result of rising ambient radiation levels off-site, a 10-kilometre (6.2 mi) radius exclusion zone was created 36 hours after the accident. About 49,000 people were evacuated from the area, primarily from Pripyat. The exclusion zone was later increased to 30 kilometres (19 mi) radius when a further 68,000 people were evacuated from the wider area.[7][8]

To reduce the spread of radioactive contamination from the wreckage and to protect the site from further weathering, the remains of reactor No. 4 required a protective enclosure. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus was built and finished by December 1986, and would also provide radiological protection for the crews of the undamaged reactors at the site, with No. 3 continuing to produce electricity until 2000.[9][10] Due to the continued deterioration of the sarcophagus, both it and the No. 4 reactor were further enclosed in 2017 by the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement, a larger enclosure that allows the removal of both the sarcophagus and the reactor debris, while containing the radioactive hazard. Nuclear clean-up is scheduled for completion in 2065.[11]

The reactor explosion killed two of the reactor operating staff. In the emergency response that followed, 134 firemen and station staff were hospitalized with acute radiation syndrome due to absorbing high doses of ionizing radiation. Of these 134 men, 28 died in the days to months afterward and approximately 14 suspected radiation-induced cancer deaths followed within the next 10 years.[12][13] Among the wider population, an excess of 15 childhood thyroid cancer deaths were documented as of 2011[update].[14][15] Due to the often long incubation periods for radiation exposure to induce cancer, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has, at multiple times, reviewed all the published research on the incident and found that at present, fewer than 100 documented deaths are likely to be attributable to increased exposure to radiation.[16]

Determining the total eventual number of exposure related deaths is based on the linear no-threshold model, a contested statistical model, which has also been used in estimates of low level radon and air pollution exposure.[17][18] Model predictions with the greatest confidence values of the eventual total death toll in the decades ahead from Chernobyl releases vary, from 4,000 fatalities when solely assessing the three most contaminated former Soviet states, to about 9,000 to 16,000 fatalities when assessing the total continent of Europe.[19]

The Chernobyl disaster is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, both in terms of cost and casualties.[20] The struggle to safeguard against hazards immediately after the accident, together with later decontamination efforts of the surroundings, ultimately involved more than 500,000 liquidators and cost an estimated 18 billion Soviet rubles—roughly US$68 billion in 2019, adjusted for inflation.[6][21] The accident prompted safety upgrades on all remaining Soviet-designed RBMK reactors, of which 10 continue to be operational as of 2019[update].[22][23]


  • 1 Background
    • 1.1 Test plan
    • 1.2 Operating conditions
  • 2 Accident
    • 2.1 Explosions
    • 2.2 Other explosion hypotheses
  • 3 Crisis management
    • 3.1 Fire containment
    • 3.2 Radiation levels
    • 3.3 Evacuation
    • 3.4 Delayed announcement
    • 3.5 Explosion risk
    • 3.6 Debris removal
  • 4 Causes
    • 4.1 INSAG-1 report, 1986
    • 4.2 INSAG-7 report, 1992
    • 4.3 Analysis
  • 5 Impact
    • 5.1 Environmental
      • 5.1.1 Spread of radioactive substances
      • 5.1.2 Radioactive release
      • 5.1.3 Residual radioactivity
        • Water bodies
      • 5.1.4 Flora and fauna
    • 5.2 Human
      • 5.2.1 Assessment complications
        • Abortions
      • 5.2.2 Cancer assessments
      • 5.2.3 Other disorders
      • 5.2.4 Radiation deaths
      • 5.2.5 Social economic
  • 6 Trial
  • 7 Aftermath
    • 7.1 Decommissioning
    • 7.2 Confinement
    • 7.3 Waste management
      • 7.3.1 Fuel-containing materials
    • 7.4 Exclusion zone
      • 7.4.1 Forest fire concerns
    • 7.5 Recovery projects
    • 7.6 Nuclear debate
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
    • 9.1 Notes
    • 9.2 Footnotes
    • 9.3 Further reading
  • 10 External links


Reactor decay heat shown as % of thermal power from time of sustained fission shutdown using two different correlations. Due to decay heat, solid fuel power reactors need high flows of coolant after a fission shutdown for a considerable time to prevent fuel cladding damage, or in the worst case, a full core meltdown.

In steady-state operation, a significant fraction (over 6%) of the power from a nuclear reactor is derived not from fission but from the decay heat of its accumulated fission products. This heating continues for some time after the chain reaction has been stopped (e.g. following an emergency scram) and active cooling is required to prevent core meltdown.[24] RBMK reactors like those at Chernobyl use water as a coolant.[25][26] Reactor No. 4 at Chernobyl included about 1,600 individual fuel channels, each of which required coolant flow of 28 metric tons (28,000 litres or 7,400 US gallons) per hour.[27]

Since cooling pumps still require electricity and must run for some time after an emergency shutdown in the event of a power grid failure, each of Chernobyl’s reactors had three backup diesel generators. The backup generators could start up in 15 seconds, but took 60–75 seconds to attain full speed[27]:15 and generate the 5.5‑megawatt output required to run one main pump.[27]:30

This one-minute delay constituted a significant safety risk. It had been theorized that the stored rotational inertia of the steam turbines and the residual steam pressure could be used to generate the required electrical power to cover this gap. Analysis indicated that this might be sufficient to provide electrical power to run the coolant pumps for 45 seconds,[27]:16 not quite bridging the gap between an external power failure and the full availability of the emergency generators.[28]

This capability still needed to be confirmed experimentally, and previous tests had ended unsuccessfully. An initial test carried out in 1982 indicated that the excitation voltage of the turbine-generator was insufficient; it did not maintain the desired magnetic field after the turbine trip. The system was modified, and the test was repeated in 1984 but again proved unsuccessful. In 1985, a test was conducted a third time but also yielded negative results. The test procedure was to be run again in 1986, and scheduled to take place during a maintenance shutdown of reactor No. 4.[28]

Test plan

The test focused on the switching sequences of the electrical supplies for the reactor. The test procedure was expected to begin with an automatic emergency shutdown. No detrimental effect on the safety of the reactor was anticipated, so the test programme was not formally coordinated with either the chief designer of the reactor (NIKIET) or the scientific manager. Instead, it was approved only by the director of the plant (and even this approval was not consistent with established procedures).[29]

According to the test parameters, the thermal output of the reactor should have been no lower than 700 MW at the start of the experiment. If test conditions had been maintained as prescribed, the procedure would almost certainly have been carried out safely; the eventual disaster resulted from attempts to boost the reactor output once the experiment had been started and an operational misstep had let the output fall too low, inconsistent with approved procedure.[29]

The Chernobyl power plant had been in operation for two years without the capability to ride through the first 60–75 seconds of a total loss of electric power, and thus lacked an important safety feature. The station managers presumably wished to correct this at the first opportunity, which may explain why they continued the test even when serious problems arose, and why the requisite approval for the test had not been sought from the Soviet nuclear oversight regulator (even though there was a representative at the complex of four reactors).[a]

The experimental procedure was intended to run as follows:

  • The reactor was to be running at a low power level, between 700 MW and 800 MW
  • The steam-turbine generator was to be run up to full speed
  • When these conditions were achieved, the steam supply for the turbine generator was to be closed off
  • Turbine generator performance was to be recorded to determine whether it could provide the bridging power for coolant pumps until the emergency diesel generators were sequenced to start and provide power to the cooling pumps automatically
  • After the emergency generators reached normal operating speed and voltage, the turbine generator would be allowed to continue to freewheel down

Operating conditions

Process flow diagram of the reactor

The test was to be conducted during the day-shift of 25 April 1986 as part of a scheduled reactor shut down. The day shift crew had been instructed in advance on the reactor operating conditions to run the test and in addition, a special team of electrical engineers was present to conduct the one-minute test of the new voltage regulating system once the correct conditions had been reached. [30] As planned, a gradual reduction in the output of the power unit began at 01:06 on 25 April, and the power level had reached 50% of its nominal 3,200 MW thermal level by the beginning of the day shift.

Comparative Generation II reactor vessels size comparison, a design classification of commercial reactors built until the end of the 1990s.

At this point, another regional power station unexpectedly went offline, and the Kiev electrical grid controller requested that the further reduction of Chernobyl’s output be postponed, as power was needed to satisfy the peak evening demand. The Chernobyl plant director agreed, and postponed the test. Despite this delay, preparations for the test not affecting the reactor’s power were carried out, including the disabling of the emergency core cooling system or ECCS, a passive/active system of core cooling intended to provide water to the core in a loss-of-coolant accident. Given the other events that unfolded, the system would have been of limited use, but its disabling as a “routine” step of the test is indicative of the lack of attention to safety in the test.[31] In addition, had the reactor been shut down for the day as planned, it is possible that more preparation would have been taken in advance of the test.

At 23:04, the Kiev grid controller allowed the reactor shutdown to resume. This delay had some serious consequences: the day shift had long since departed, the evening shift was also preparing to leave, and the night shift would not take over until midnight, well into the job. According to plan, the test should have been finished during the day shift, and the night shift would only have had to maintain decay heat cooling systems in an otherwise shut-down plant.[27]:36–38

The night shift had very limited time to prepare for and carry out the experiment. A further rapid decrease in the power level from 50% was executed during the shift change-over. Anatoly Dyatlov, deputy chief-engineer of the entire Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, was present to supervise and direct the experiment; as he out-ranked all other supervisory personnel present, his orders and instructions overrode any objections of other senior personnel present during the test and its preparation. (In 1987, Dyatlov would be found guilty “of criminal mismanagement of potentially explosive enterprises” and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment—of which he would serve three[32]—for the role that his oversight of the experiment played in the ensuing accident.) Serving under Dyatlov, Aleksandr Akimov was chief of the night shift, and Leonid Toptunov was the operator responsible for the reactor’s operational regimen, including the movement of the control rods. Toptunov was a young engineer who had worked independently as a senior engineer for approximately three months.[27]:36–38

The test plan called for a gradual decrease in power output from reactor No. 4 to a thermal level of 700–1000 MW.[33] An output of 700 MW was reached at 00:05 on 26 April. Due to the reactor’s production of a fission byproduct, xenon-135, which is a reaction-inhibiting neutron absorber, core power continued to decrease in the absence of further operator action—a process known as reactor poisoning. In steady-state operation, this is avoided because xenon-135 is “burned off” as quickly as it is created from decaying iodine-135 by the absorption of neutrons from the ongoing chain reaction, becoming highly stable xenon-136. With the reactor power reduced, previously produced high quantities of iodine-135 were decaying into the neutron-absorbing xenon-135 faster than the now reduced neutron flux could burn off. As the reactor power output dropped further, to approximately 500 MW, the power suddenly fell into an unintended near-shutdown state, with a power output of 30 MW thermal or less. The exact circumstances that caused the power fall are unknown because Akimov died in hospital on 10 May and Toptunov on 14 May; early reports attributed it to Toptunov mistakenly inserting the control rods too far into the core, but it has also been suggested it was due to an equipment failure.[29]:11

The reactor was now producing 5% of the minimum initial power level prescribed for the test.[29]:73 Control-room personnel decided to raise power by disconnecting most of the reactor control rods from the automatic control rod regulation system and manually extracting the majority of rods to their upper limits.[34] Several minutes elapsed between their extraction and the point at which the power output began to increase and subsequently stabilize at 160–200 MW (thermal), a much lower level than the prescribed 700 MW. The rapid reduction in the power during the initial shutdown, and the subsequent operation at a level of less than 200 MW led to increased poisoning of the reactor core by the accumulation of xenon-135.[b] This prevented the rise of reactor power, and made it necessary to extract additional control rods from the reactor core in order to counteract the poisoning.

The operation of the reactor at the low power level (and high poisoning level) was accompanied by unstable core temperatures and coolant flow, and possibly by instability of neutron flux, which triggered alarms. The control room received repeated emergency signals regarding the levels in the steam/water separator drums, and large excursions or variations in the flow rate of feed water, as well as from relief valves opened to relieve excess steam into a turbine condenser, and from the neutron power controller. Between 00:35 and 00:45, emergency alarm signals concerning thermal-hydraulic parameters were ignored, apparently to preserve the reactor power level.[36]

When a power level of 200 MW was reattained, preparation for the experiment continued. As part of the test plan, extra water pumps were activated at 01:05, increasing the water flow. The increased coolant flow rate through the reactor produced an increase in the inlet coolant temperature of the reactor core (the coolant no longer having sufficient time to release its heat in the turbine and cooling towers), which now more closely approached the nucleate boiling temperature of water, reducing the safety margin.

The flow exceeded the allowed limit at 01:19, triggering an alarm of low steam pressure in the steam separators. At the same time, the extra water flow lowered the overall core temperature and reduced the existing steam voids in the core and the steam separators.[c] Since water weakly absorbs neutrons (and the higher density of liquid water makes it a better absorber than steam), the activation of the additional pumps decreased the reactor power. The crew responded by turning off two of the circulation pumps to reduce feedwater flow, in an effort to increase steam pressure, and by removing more manual control rods to maintain power.[31][37]

The combined effect of these various actions was an extremely unstable reactor configuration. Nearly all of the 211 control rods had been extracted manually, including all but 18 of the “fail-safe” manually operated rods of the minimum 28 that were supposed to remain fully inserted to control the reactor even in the event of a loss of coolant.[38][39] While the emergency scram system that would insert all control rods to shut down the reactor could still be activated manually (through the “AZ-5” switch), the automated system that would ordinarily do the same had been mostly disabled to maintain the power level, and many other automated and even passive safety features of the reactor had been bypassed. The reduction of reactor coolant pumping left little safety margin; any power excursion could produce boiling, thereby reducing neutron absorption by the water. The reactor configuration was outside the safe operating envelope prescribed by the designers. If anything pushed it into supercriticality, it would be unable to recover automatically.[citation needed]


Plan view of reactor No. 4 core. Numbers show insertion depths of control rods in centimeters at the moment of the explosion.
startup neutron sources (12)
control rods (167)
short control rods from below reactor (32)
automatic control rods (12)
pressure tubes with fuel rods (1661)

At 01:23:04, the test began.[40] Four of the main circulating pumps (MCP) were active (of the eight total, six are normally active under regular operation). The steam to the turbines was shut off, beginning a run-down of the turbine generator. The diesel generators started and sequentially picked up loads; the generators were to have completely picked up the MCPs’ power needs by 01:23:43. In the interim, the power for the MCPs was to be supplied by the turbine generator as it coasted down. As the momentum of the turbine generator decreased, so did the power it produced for the pumps. The water flow rate decreased, leading to increased formation of steam voids in the coolant flowing up through the fuel pressure tubes.

Unlike western light-water reactors, the RBMK has a positive void coefficient of reactivity at low power levels, meaning that when cooling water boils excessively in the fuel pressure tubes it produces large steam voids in the coolant rather than small bubbles. This intensifies the nuclear chain reaction, as it reduces the relative volume of cooling water available to absorb neutrons. The consequent power increase then produces more voids which further intensifies the chain reaction, and so on. Given this characteristic, reactor No. 4 was now at risk of a runaway increase in its core power with nothing to restrain it.

Throughout most of the experiment the local automatic control system (LAC) successfully counteracted this positive feedback, by inserting control rods into the reactor core to limit the power rise. However, this system had control of only 12 rods, as nearly all the others had been manually retracted by the reactor operators.

At 01:23:40, as recorded by the SKALA centralized control system, a Scram (emergency shutdown) of the reactor was initiated.[41] The SCRAM was started when the AZ-5 button (also known as the EPS-5 button) of the reactor emergency protection system was pressed: this engaged the drive mechanism on all control rods to fully insert them, including the manual control rods that had been withdrawn earlier. The reason why the button was pressed is not known, whether it was done as an emergency measure in response to rising temperatures, or simply as a routine method of shutting down the reactor upon completion of the experiment.

One view is that the scram may have been ordered as a response to the unexpected rapid power increase, although there is no recorded data showing this. Some have suggested that the button was not manually pressed, and that the scram signal was automatically produced by the emergency protection system, but the SKALA registered a manual scram signal. Despite this, the question as to when or even whether the AZ-5 button was pressed has been the subject of debate. There have been assertions that the manual scram was initiated due to the initial rapid power acceleration. Others have suggested that the button was not pressed until the reactor began to self-destruct, while others believe that it happened earlier and under calm conditions.[42]:578[43]

Steam plumes continued to be generated days after the initial explosion[44]

When the AZ-5 button was pressed, the insertion of control rods into the reactor core began. The control rod insertion mechanism moved the rods at 0.4 metres per second (1.3 ft/s), so that the rods took 18 to 20 seconds to travel the full height of the core, about 7 metres (23 ft). A bigger problem was the design of the RBMK control rods, each of which had a graphite neutron moderator section attached to its end to boost reactor output by displacing water when the control rod section had been fully withdrawn from the reactor, i.e. when a control rod was at maximum extraction, a neutron-moderating graphite extension was centered in the core with 1.25 metres (4.1 ft) columns of water above and below it.

Consequently, injecting a control rod downward into the reactor in a scram initially displaced (neutron-absorbing) water in the lower portion of the reactor with (neutron-moderating) graphite. Thus, an emergency scram initially increased the reaction rate in the lower part of the core.[29]:4 This behaviour had been discovered when the initial insertion of control rods in another RBMK reactor at Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant in 1983 induced a power spike. Procedural countermeasures were not implemented in response to Ignalina; INSAG-7 later stated, “Apparently, there was a widespread view that the conditions under which the positive scram effect would be important would never occur. However, they did appear in almost every detail in the course of the actions leading to the (Chernobyl) accident.”[29]:13

A few seconds into the scram, a power spike did occur and the core overheated, causing some of the fuel rods to fracture, blocking the control rod columns and jamming the control rods at one-third insertion, with the graphite water-displacers still in the lower part of the core. Within three seconds the reactor output rose above 530 MW.[27]:31

The subsequent course of events was not registered by instruments; it has been reconstructed through mathematical simulation. Per the simulation, the power spike would have caused an increase in fuel temperature and steam buildup, leading to a rapid increase in steam pressure. This caused the fuel cladding to fail, releasing the fuel elements into the coolant, and rupturing the channels in which these elements were located.[45]


The reactor lid (upper biological shield)[46] nicknamed “Elena”[47] lying on its side in the explosion crater. Overlaid are the pre-explosion position of the steam tanks, reactor hall floor and roof trusses.

As the scram was starting, the reactor output jumped to around 30,000 MW thermal, 10 times its normal operational output, the indicated last reading on the power meter on the control panel. Some estimate the power spike may have gone 10 times higher than that. It was not possible to reconstruct the precise sequence of the processes that led to the destruction of the reactor and the power unit building, but a steam explosion, like the explosion of a steam boiler from excess vapour pressure, appears to have been the next event. There is a general understanding that it was explosive steam pressure from the damaged fuel channels escaping into the reactor’s exterior cooling structure that caused the explosion that destroyed the reactor casing, tearing off and blasting the upper plate called the upper biological shield[48], to which the entire reactor assembly is fastened, through the roof of the reactor building. This is believed to be the first explosion that many heard.[49]:366

This explosion ruptured further fuel channels, as well as severing most of the coolant lines feeding the reactor chamber, and as a result, the remaining coolant flashed to steam and escaped the reactor core. The total water loss in combination with a high positive void coefficient further increased the reactor’s thermal power.

A second, more powerful explosion occurred about two or three seconds after the first; this explosion dispersed the damaged core and effectively terminated the nuclear chain reaction. This explosion also compromised more of the reactor containment vessel and ejected hot lumps of graphite moderator. The ejected graphite and the demolished channels still in the remains of the reactor vessel caught fire on exposure to air, greatly contributing to the spread of radioactive fallout and the contamination of outlying areas.[31][d]

According to observers outside Unit 4, burning lumps of material and sparks shot into the air above the reactor. Some of them fell onto the roof of the machine hall and started a fire. About 25% of the red-hot graphite blocks and overheated material from the fuel channels was ejected. Parts of the graphite blocks and fuel channels were out of the reactor building. As a result of the damage to the building an airflow through the core was established by the high temperature of the core. The air ignited the hot graphite and started a graphite fire.[27]:32

After the larger explosion, a number of employees at the power station went outside to get a clearer view of the extent of the damage. One such survivor, Alexander Yuvchenko, recounts that once he stepped outside and looked up towards the reactor hall, he saw a “very beautiful” laser-like beam of blue light caused by the ionized-air glow that appeared to “flood up into infinity”.[52][53][54]

There were initially several hypotheses about the nature of the second explosion. One view was that the second explosion was caused by the combustion of hydrogen, which had been produced either by the overheated steam-zirconium reaction or by the reaction of red-hot graphite with steam that produced hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Another hypothesis, by Checherov, published in 1998, was that the second explosion was a thermal explosion of the reactor as a result of the uncontrollable escape of fast neutrons caused by the complete water loss in the reactor core.[55] A third hypothesis was that the second explosion was another steam explosion. According to this version, the first explosion was a more minor steam explosion in the circulating loop, causing a loss of coolant flow and pressure that in turn caused the water still in the core to flash to steam; this second explosion then caused the majority of the damage to the reactor and containment building.

Other explosion hypotheses

The force of the second explosion and the ratio of xenon radioisotopes released after the accident (a vital tool in nuclear forensics) indicated to Yuri V. Dubasov in a 2009 publication (suggested before him by Checherov in 1998), that the second explosion could have been a nuclear power transient resulting from core material melting in the absence of its water coolant and moderator. Dubasov argues that the reactor did not simply undergo a runaway delayed-supercritical exponential increase in power into the multi-gigawatt power range. That permitted a dangerous “positive feedback” runaway condition, given the lack of passive nuclear safety stops, such as Doppler broadening, when power levels began to increase above the commercial level.[56]

The evidence for this hypothesis originates at Cherepovets, Vologda Oblast, Russia, 1000 km northeast of Chernobyl. Physicists from the V.G. Khlopin Radium Institute in Leningrad measured anomalous xenon-135 — a short half-life isotope — levels at Cherepovets four days after the explosion, even as the general distribution was spreading the radiation to the north in Scandinavia. It is thought that a nuclear event in the reactor may have raised xenon to higher levels in the atmosphere than the later fire did, which moved the xenon to that location.[57]

That while this positive-feedback power excursion that increased until the reactor disassembled itself by means of its internal energy and external steam explosions[29] is the more accepted explanation for the cause of the explosions, Dubasov argues instead that a runaway prompt criticality occurred, with the internal physics being more similar to the explosion of a fizzled nuclear weapon, and that this failed/fizzle event produced the second explosion.[56]

This nuclear fizzle hypothesis, then mostly defended by Dubasov, was examined further in 2017 by retired physicist Lars-Erik De Geer in an analysis that puts the hypothesized fizzle event as the more probable cause of the first explosion.[58][59][60] The more energetic second explosion, which produced the majority of the damage, has been estimated by Dubasov in 2009 as equivalent to 40 billion joules of energy, the equivalent of about 10 tons of TNT. Both the 2009 and 2017 analyses argue that the nuclear fizzle event, whether producing the second or first explosion, consisted of a prompt chain reaction (as opposed to the consensus delayed neutron mediated chain-reaction) that was limited to a small portion of the reactor core, since expected self-disassembly occurs rapidly in fizzle events.[56][58][61]

Lars-Eric De Geer comments:

“We believe that thermal neutron mediated nuclear explosions at the bottom of a number of fuel channels in the reactor caused a jet of debris to shoot upwards through the refuelling tubes. This jet then rammed the tubes’ 350kg plugs, continued through the roof and travelled into the atmosphere to altitudes of 2.5-3km where the weather conditions provided a route to Cherepovets. The steam explosion which ruptured the reactor vessel occurred some 2.7 seconds later.”[57]

Crisis management

Fire containment

Firefighter Leonid Telyatnikov being decorated for bravery

Contrary to safety regulations, bitumen, a combustible material, had been used in the construction of the roof of the reactor building and the turbine hall. Ejected material ignited at least five fires on the roof of the adjacent reactor No. 3, which was still operating. It was imperative to put those fires out and protect the cooling systems of reactor No. 3.[27]:42 Inside reactor No. 3, the chief of the night shift, Yuri Bagdasarov, wanted to shut down the reactor immediately, but chief engineer Nikolai Fomin would not allow this. The operators were given respirators and potassium iodide tablets and told to continue working. At 05:00, Bagdasarov made his own decision to shut down the reactor, leaving only those operators there who had to work the emergency cooling systems.[27]:44

Shortly after the accident, at 01:45, firefighters arrived to try to extinguish the fires.[40] First on the scene was a Chernobyl Power Station firefighter brigade under the command of Lieutenant Volodymyr Pravik, who died on 9 May 1986 of acute radiation sickness. They were not told how dangerously radioactive the smoke and the debris were, and may not even have known that the accident was anything more than a regular electrical fire: “We didn’t know it was the reactor. No one had told us.”[62]
Grigorii Khmel, the driver of one of the fire engines, later described what happened:

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We arrived there at 10 or 15 minutes to two in the morning … We saw graphite scattered about. Misha asked: “Is that graphite?” I kicked it away. But one of the fighters on the other truck picked it up. “It’s hot,” he said. The pieces of graphite were of different sizes, some big, some small, enough to pick them up […] We didn’t know much about radiation. Even those who worked there had no idea. There was no water left in the trucks. Misha filled a cistern and we aimed the water at the top. Then those boys who died went up to the roof—Vashchik, Kolya and others, and Volodya Pravik … They went up the ladder … and I never saw them again.[63]

Anatoli Zakharov, a fireman stationed in Chernobyl since 1980, offers a different description in 2008: “I remember joking to the others, ‘There must be an incredible amount of radiation here. We’ll be lucky if we’re all still alive in the morning.'”[64] He also stated: “Of course we knew! If we’d followed regulations, we would never have gone near the reactor. But it was a moral obligation—our duty. We were like kamikaze.”[64]

The immediate priority was to extinguish fires on the roof of the station and the area around the building containing Reactor No. 4 to protect No. 3 and keep its core cooling systems intact. The fires were extinguished by 5:00, but many firefighters received high doses of radiation. The fire inside reactor No. 4 continued to burn until 10 May 1986; it is possible that well over half of the graphite burned out.[27]:73

It was thought by some that the core fire was extinguished by a combined effort of helicopters dropping more than 5000 metric tons of sand, lead, clay, and neutron-absorbing boron onto the burning reactor. It is now known that virtually none of the neutron absorbers reached the core.[65] Historians estimate that about 600 Soviet pilots risked dangerous levels of radiation to fly the thousands of flights needed to cover reactor No. 4 in this attempt to seal off radiation.[66]

From eyewitness accounts of the firefighters involved before they died (as reported on the CBC television series Witness), one described his experience of the radiation as “tasting like metal”, and feeling a sensation similar to that of pins and needles all over his face. (This is similar to the description given by Louis Slotin, a Manhattan Project physicist who died days after a fatal radiation overdose from a criticality accident.)[67]

Soviet badge awarded to Chernobyl liquidator

The explosion and fire threw hot particles of the nuclear fuel and also far more dangerous fission products, radioactive isotopes such as caesium-137, iodine-131, strontium-90, and other radionuclides, into the air: the residents of the surrounding area observed the radioactive cloud on the night of the explosion.

Equipment assembled included remote-controlled bulldozers and robot-carts that could detect radioactivity and carry hot debris. Valery Legasov, first deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in Moscow, said in 1987: “But we learned that robots are not the great remedy for everything. Where there was very high radiation, the robot ceased to be a robot—the electronics quit working.”[68]

Radiation levels

The ionizing radiation levels in the worst-hit areas of the reactor building have been estimated to be 5.6 roentgens per second (R/s), equivalent to more than 20,000 roentgens per hour. A lethal dose is around 500 roentgens (~5 Gray (Gy) in modern radiation units) over five hours, so in some areas, unprotected workers received fatal doses in less than a minute. However, a dosimeter capable of measuring up to 1,000 R/s was buried in the rubble of a collapsed part of the building, and another one failed when turned on. All remaining dosimeters had limits of 0.001 R/s and therefore read “off scale”. Thus, the reactor crew could ascertain only that the radiation levels were somewhere above 0.001 R/s (3.6 R/h), while the true levels were much higher in some areas.[27]:42–50

Because of the inaccurate low readings, the reactor crew chief Aleksandr Akimov assumed that the reactor was intact. The evidence of pieces of graphite and reactor fuel lying around the building was ignored, and the readings of another dosimeter brought in by 04:30 were dismissed under the assumption that the new dosimeter must have been defective.[27]:42–50 Akimov stayed with his crew in the reactor building until morning, sending members of his crew to try to pump water into the reactor. None of them wore any protective gear. Most, including Akimov, died from radiation exposure within three weeks.[38][39]:247–248


Pripyat with the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the distance

The nearby city of Pripyat was not immediately evacuated. The townspeople, in the early hours of the morning, at 01:23 local time, went about their usual business, completely oblivious to what had just happened. However, within a few hours of the explosion, dozens of people fell ill. Later, they reported severe headaches and metallic tastes in their mouths, along with uncontrollable fits of coughing and vomiting.[69][better source needed] As the plant was run by authorities in Moscow, the government of Ukraine did not receive prompt information on the accident.[70]

Valentyna Shevchenko, then Chairwoman of the Presidium of Verkhovna Rada Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR, recalls that Ukraine’s acting Minister of Internal Affairs Vasyl Durdynets phoned her at work at 09:00 to report current affairs; only at the end of the conversation did he add that there had been a fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but it was extinguished and everything was fine. When Shevchenko asked “How are the people?”, he replied that there was nothing to be concerned about: “Some are celebrating a wedding, others are gardening, and others are fishing in the Pripyat River”.[70]

Shevchenko then spoke over the phone to Volodymyr Shcherbytsky, head of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine and de facto head of state, who said he anticipated a delegation of the state commission headed by Boris Shcherbina, the deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.[70]

A commission was established later in the day to investigate the accident. It was headed by Valery Legasov, First Deputy Director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, and included leading nuclear specialist Evgeny Velikhov, hydro-meteorologist Yuri Izrael, radiologist Leonid Ilyin, and others. They flew to Boryspil International Airport and arrived at the power plant in the evening of 26 April.[70] By that time two people had already died and 52 were hospitalized. The delegation soon had ample evidence that the reactor was destroyed and extremely high levels of radiation had caused a number of cases of radiation exposure. In the early daylight hours of 27 April, approximately 36 hours after the initial blast, they ordered the evacuation of Pripyat. Initially it was decided to evacuate the population for three days; later this was made permanent.[70]

By 11:00 on 27 April, buses had arrived in Pripyat to start the evacuation.[70] The evacuation began at 14:00. A translated excerpt of the evacuation announcement follows:

For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Nevertheless, with the view to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens in the nearest towns of Kiev region. For these reasons, starting from 27 April 1986, 14:00 each apartment block will be able to have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials. It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you. The senior executives of public and industrial facilities of the city has decided on the list of employees needed to stay in Pripyat to maintain these facilities in a good working order. All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Comrades, leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.[71]

To expedite the evacuation, residents were told to bring only what was necessary, and that they would remain evacuated for approximately three days. As a result, most personal belongings were left behind, and remain there today. By 15:00, 53,000 people were evacuated to various villages of the Kiev region.[70] The next day, talks began for evacuating people from the 10-kilometre (6.2 mi) zone.[70] 10 days after the accident, the evacuation area was expanded to 30 kilometres (19 mi).[72]:115, 120–121 The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone has remained ever since, although its shape has changed and its size has been expanded.

The surveying and detection of isolated fallout hotspots outside this zone over the following year eventually resulted in 135,000 long-term evacuees in total agreeing to be moved.[7] The years between 1986 and 2000 saw the near tripling in the total number of permanently resettled persons from the most severely contaminated areas to approximately 350,000.[73][74]

Delayed announcement

Evacuation began long before the accident was publicly acknowledged by the Soviet Union. In the morning of 28 April, radiation levels set off alarms at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden,[75][76] over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from the Chernobyl Plant. Workers at Forsmark reported the case to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, which determined that the radiation had originated elsewhere.[76] That day, the Swedish government contacted the Soviet government to inquire about whether there had been a nuclear accident in the Soviet Union.[76] The Soviets initially denied it, and it was only after the Swedish government suggested they were about to file an official alert with the International Atomic Energy Agency, that the Soviet government admitted an accident took place at Chernobyl.[76]

At first, the Soviets only conceded that a minor accident had occurred, but once they began evacuating more than 100,000 people, the full scale of the situation was realized by the global community.[77] At 21:02 the evening of 28 April, a 20-second announcement was read in the TV news programme Vremya: “There has been an accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. One of the nuclear reactors was damaged. The effects of the accident are being remedied. Assistance has been provided for any affected people. An investigative commission has been set up.”[9][78][78] This was the entirety of the announcement of the accident. The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) then discussed the Three Mile Island accident and other American nuclear accidents, an example of the common Soviet tactic of whataboutism when one occurred in the Soviet Union. The mention of a commission, however, indicated to observers the seriousness of the incident,[79] and subsequent state radio broadcasts were replaced with classical music, which was a common method of preparing the public for an announcement of a tragedy.[9]

Around the same time, ABC News released its report about the disaster.[80] Shevchenko was the first of the Ukrainian state top officials to arrive at the disaster site early on 28 April. There she spoke with members of medical staff and people, who were calm and hopeful that they could soon return to their homes. Shevchenko returned home near midnight, stopping at a radiological checkpoint in Vilcha, one of the first that were set up soon after the accident.[70]

There was a notification from Moscow that there was no reason to postpone the 1 May International Workers’ Day celebrations in Kiev (including the annual parade), but on 30 April a meeting of the Political bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU took place to discuss the plan for the upcoming celebration. Scientists were reporting that the radiological background level in Kiev was normal. At the meeting, which was finished at 18:00, it was decided to shorten celebrations from the regular three and a half to four hours to under two hours.[70] Several buildings in Pripyat were officially kept open after the disaster to be used by workers still involved with the plant. These included the Jupiter factory which closed in 1996 and the Azure Swimming Pool, used by the Chernobyl liquidators for recreation during the clean-up, which closed in 1998.

Explosion risk

Chernobyl corium lava, formed by fuel-containing mass, flowed into the basement of the plant.[81]
Extremely high levels of radioactivity in the lava under the Chernobyl number four reactor in 1986

Two floors of bubbler pools beneath the reactor served as a large water reservoir for the emergency cooling pumps and as a pressure suppression system capable of condensing steam in case of a small broken steam pipe; the third floor above them, below the reactor, served as a steam tunnel. The steam released by a broken pipe was supposed to enter the steam tunnel and be led into the pools to bubble through a layer of water. After the disaster, the pools and the basement were flooded because of ruptured cooling water pipes and accumulated firefighting water, and constituted a serious steam explosion risk.

The smoldering graphite, fuel and other material above, at more than 1,200 °C (2,190 °F),[82] started to burn through the reactor floor and mixed with molten concrete from the reactor lining, creating corium, a radioactive semi-liquid material comparable to lava.[81][83] If this mixture had melted through the floor into the pool of water, it was feared it could have created a serious steam explosion that would have ejected more radioactive material from the reactor. It became necessary to drain the pool.[84]

The bubbler pool could be drained by opening its sluice gates. However, the valves controlling it were underwater, located in a flooded corridor in the basement. Volunteers in wetsuits and respirators (for protection against radioactive aerosols) and equipped with dosimeters, entered the knee-deep radioactive water and managed to open the valves.[85][86] These were the engineers Alexei Ananenko and Valeri Bezpalov (who knew where the valves were), accompanied by the shift supervisor Boris Baranov.[87][88][89] Upon succeeding, all risk of a further steam explosion was eliminated. All three men were awarded the Order For Courage by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in May 2018.[90]

Research by Andrew Leatherbarrow, author of Chernobyl 01:23:40,[85] determined that the frequently recounted story that suggests that all three men died just days after the incident is false. Alexei Ananenko continues to work in the nuclear energy industry, and rebuffs the growth of the Chernobyl media sensationalism surrounding him.[91] While Valeri Bezpalov was found to still be alive by Leatherbarrow, the 65-year-old Baranov had lived until 2005 and had died of heart failure.[92] Once the bubbler pool gates were opened by the Ananenko team, fire brigade pumps were then used to drain the basement. The operation was not completed until 8 May, after 20,000 metric tons (20,000 long tons; 22,000 short tons) of water were pumped out.

With the bubbler pool gone, a meltdown was less likely to produce a powerful steam explosion. To do so, the molten core would now have to reach the water table below the reactor. To reduce the likelihood of this, it was decided to freeze the earth beneath the reactor, which would also stabilize the foundations. Using oil well drilling equipment, the injection of liquid nitrogen began on 4 May. It was estimated that 25 metric tons of liquid nitrogen per day would be required to keep the soil frozen at −100 °C (−148 °F).[27]:59 This idea was soon scrapped.[93]

As an alternative, coal miners were deployed to excavate a tunnel below the reactor to make room for a cooling system. The final makeshift design for the cooling system was to incorporate a coiled formation of pipes cooled with water and covered on top with a thin thermally conductive graphite layer. The graphite layer as a natural refractory material would rapidly cool the suspected molten uranium oxide without burn through. This graphite cooling plate layer was to be encapsulated between two concrete layers, each one meter thick for stabilisation. This system was designed by Bolshov, the director of the Institute for Nuclear Safety and Development formed in 1988. Bolshov’s graphite-concrete “sandwich” would be similar in concept to later core catchers that are now part of many nuclear reactor designs.[94]

Bolshov’s graphite cooling plate, alongside the prior nitrogen injection proposal, were not used following the drop in aerial temperatures and indicative reports that the fuel melt had stopped. It was later determined that the fuel had passed through three storeys before coming to rest in one of a number of basement rooms. The precautionary underground channel with its active cooling was therefore deemed redundant, as the fuel was self-cooling. The excavation was then simply filled with concrete to strengthen the foundation below the reactor.[95]

It is likely that intense alpha radiation hydrolysed the water, generating a low-pH hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution akin to an oxidizing acid.[96] Conversion of water from an unknown source, to H2O2 is confirmed by the presence in the Chernobyl lavas of studtite and metastudtite,[97][98] the only minerals that contain peroxide.[99]

Debris removal

Chernobyl power plant in 2006 with the sarcophagus containment structure

In the months after the explosion, attention turned to removing the radioactive debris from the roof.[100] The worst of the radioactive debris was collected inside what was left of the reactor, however it was estimated that there was approximately 100 tons of debris on that roof that resulted from the explosion and which had to be removed to enable the safe construction of the ‘sarcophagus’ – a concrete structure that would entomb the reactor and reduce radioactive dust being released into the atmosphere.[100] The initial plan was to use robots to clear the debris off the roof. The Soviets used approximately 60 remote-controlled robots, most of them built in the Soviet Union although many failed due to the effect of high levels of radiation on their electronic controls.[100]

Consequently, the most highly radioactive materials were shoveled by Chernobyl liquidators from the military wearing heavy protective gear (dubbed “bio-robots” by the military); these soldiers could only spend a maximum of 40-90 seconds working on the rooftops of the surrounding buildings because of the extremely high doses of radiation given off by the blocks of graphite and other debris. Though the soldiers were only supposed to perform the role of the “bio-robot” a maximum of once, some soldiers reported having done this task five or six times. Only 10% of the debris cleared from the roof was performed by robots with the other 90% removed by approximately 5,000 men who absorbed, on average, an estimated dose of 25 rem (250 mSv) of radiation each.[100]

At the time there was still fear that the reactor could re-enter a self-sustaining nuclear chain-reaction and explode again, and a new containment structure was planned to prevent rain entering and triggering such an explosion, and to prevent further release of radioactive material. This was the largest civil engineering task in history, involving a quarter of a million construction workers who all reached their official lifetime limits of radiation.[65] Ukrainian filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko captured film footage of an Mi-8 helicopter as its main rotor collided with a nearby construction crane cable, causing the helicopter to fall near the damaged reactor building and killing its four-man crew on 2 October 1986.[101]

By December 1986, a large concrete sarcophagus had been erected to seal off the reactor and its contents.[72] Environmental and the greater urban decontamination liquidators, similarly first washed buildings and roads with “Bourda”, a sticky polymerizing fluid DeconGel, designed to entrain radioactive dust and when dry, could then be peeled off and compacted into configurations, akin to carpet rolls, in preparation for burial.[102] A unique “clean up” medal was given to the workers.[103]

Although many of the radioactive emergency vehicles were buried in trenches, many of the vehicles used by the liquidators, including the helicopters, still remain parked in a field in the Chernobyl area. Scavengers have since removed many functioning, but highly radioactive, parts.[104] Liquidators worked under deplorable conditions, poorly informed and with poor protection. Many, if not most of them, exceeded radiation safety limits.[72]:177–183[105]

During the construction of the sarcophagus, a scientific team re-entered the reactor as part of an investigation dubbed “Complex Expedition”, to locate and contain nuclear fuel in a way that could not lead to another explosion. These scientists manually collected cold fuel rods, but great heat was still emanating from the core. Rates of radiation in different parts of the building were monitored by drilling holes into the reactor and inserting long metal detector tubes. The scientists were exposed to high levels of radiation and radioactive dust.[65]

After six months of investigation, in December 1986, they discovered with the help of a remote camera an intensely radioactive mass in the basement of Unit Four, more than two metres wide, which they called “the elephant’s foot” for its wrinkled appearance.[106] The mass was composed of melted sand, concrete and a large amount of nuclear fuel that had escaped from the reactor. The concrete beneath the reactor was steaming hot, and was breached by now-solidified lava and spectacular unknown crystalline forms termed chernobylite. It was concluded that there was no further risk of explosion.[65]

The official contaminated zones became stage to a massive clean-up effort lasting seven months.[72]:177–183 The official reason for such early (and dangerous) decontamination efforts, rather than allowing time for natural decay, was that the land must be repopulated and brought back into cultivation. Indeed, within fifteen months 75% of the land was under cultivation, even though only a third of the evacuated villages were resettled. Defence forces must have done much of the work. Yet this land was of marginal agricultural value. According to historian David Marples, the administration had a psychological purpose for the clean-up: they wished to forestall panic regarding nuclear energy, and even to restart the Chernobyl power station.[72]:78–79, 87, 192–193


INSAG-1 report, 1986

The first official explanation of the accident, later acknowledged to be erroneous, was published in August 1986. It effectively placed the blame on the power plant operators. To investigate the causes of the accident the IAEA created a group known as the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG), which in its report of 1986, INSAG-1, on the whole also supported this view, based on the data provided by the Soviets and the oral statements of specialists.[107] In this view, the catastrophic accident was caused by gross violations of operating rules and regulations. “During preparation and testing of the turbine generator under run-down conditions using the auxiliary load, personnel disconnected a series of technical protection systems and breached the most important operational safety provisions for conducting a technical exercise.”[36]:311

The operator error was probably due to their lack of knowledge of nuclear reactor physics and engineering, as well as lack of experience and training. According to these allegations, at the time of the accident the reactor was being operated with many key safety systems turned off, most notably the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS), LAR (Local Automatic control system), and AZ (emergency power reduction system). Personnel had an insufficiently detailed understanding of technical procedures involved with the nuclear reactor, and knowingly ignored regulations to speed test completion.[36]

The developers of the reactor plant considered this combination of events to be impossible and therefore did not allow for the creation of emergency protection systems capable of preventing the combination of events that led to the crisis, namely the intentional disabling of emergency protection equipment plus the violation of operating procedures. Thus the primary cause of the accident was the extremely improbable combination of rule infringement plus the operational routine allowed by the power station staff.[36]:312

In this analysis of the causes of the accident, deficiencies in the reactor design and in the operating regulations that made the accident possible were set aside and mentioned only casually. Serious critical observations covered only general questions and did not address the specific reasons for the accident.

The following general picture arose from these observations, and several procedural irregularities also helped to make the accident possible, one of which was insufficient communication between the safety officers and the operators in charge of the experiment being run that night.

The reactor operators disabled safety systems down to the generators, which the test was really about. The main process computer, SKALA, was running in such a way that the main control computer could not shut down the reactor or even reduce power. Normally the computer would have started to insert all of the control rods. The computer would have also started the “Emergency Core Protection System” that introduces 24 control rods into the active zone within 2.5 seconds, which is still slow by 1986 standards. All control was transferred from the process computer to the human operators.

On the subject of the disconnection of safety systems, Valery Legasov said, in 1987, “It was like airplane pilots experimenting with the engines in flight.”[108]

This view is reflected in numerous publications and also artistic works on the theme of the Chernobyl accident that appeared immediately after the accident,[27] and for a long time remained dominant in the public consciousness and in popular publications.

INSAG-7 report, 1992

Reactor hall No. 1 of the Chernobyl Plant
A simplified diagram of the major differences between the Chernobyl RBMK and the most common nuclear reactor design, the Light water reactor. 1. The use of a graphite moderator in a water cooled reactor, permitting criticality in a total loss of coolant accident. 2. A positive steam void coefficient that made the power excursion possible, which blew the reactor vessel. 3. The control rods were very slow, taking 18–20 seconds to be deployed. With the control rods having graphite tips that moderated and therefore increased the fission rate in the beginning of the rod insertion. 4. No reinforced containment building.[29][31][109]
Lumps of graphite moderator ejected from the core; the largest lump shows an intact control rod channel

Ukraine had declassified a number of KGB documents from the period between 1971 and 1988 related to the Chernobyl plant, mentioning for example previous reports of structural damages caused by negligence during construction of the plant (such as splitting of concrete layers) that were never acted upon. They document more than 29 emergency situations in the plant during this period, eight of which were caused by negligence or poor competence on the part of personnel.[110]

In 1991 a Commission of the USSR State Committee for the Supervision of Safety in Industry and Nuclear Power reassessed the causes and circumstances of the Chernobyl accident and came to new insights and conclusions. Based on it, in 1992 the IAEA Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) published an additional report, INSAG-7,[29] that reviewed “that part of the INSAG-1 report in which primary attention is given to the reasons for the accident,” and was included the USSR State Commission report as Appendix I.[29]

In this INSAG report, most of the earlier accusations against staff for breach of regulations were acknowledged to be either erroneous, based on incorrect information obtained in August 1986, or less relevant. This report reflected a different view of the main reasons for the accident, presented in Appendix I. According to this account, the operators’ actions in turning off the Emergency Core Cooling System, interfering with the settings on the protection equipment, and blocking the level and pressure in the separator drum did not contribute to the original cause of the accident and its magnitude, although they may have been a breach of regulations. In fact, turning off the emergency system designed to prevent the two turbine generators from stopping was not a violation of regulations.[29]

Human factors, however, contributed to the conditions that led to the disaster. These included operating the reactor at a low power level—less than 700 MW—a level documented in the run-down test programme, and operating with a small operational reactivity margin (ORM). The 1986 assertions of Soviet experts notwithstanding, regulations did not prohibit operating the reactor at this low power level.[29]:18

However, regulations did forbid operating the reactor with a small margin of reactivity. Yet “post-accident studies have shown that the way in which the real role of the ORM is reflected in the Operating Procedures and design documentation for the RBMK-1000 is extremely contradictory”, and furthermore, “ORM was not treated as an operational safety limit, violation of which could lead to an accident”.[29]:34–25

According to the INSAG-7 Report, the chief reasons for the accident lie in the peculiarities of physics and in the construction of the reactor. There are two such reasons:[29]:18

  • The reactor had a dangerously large positive void coefficient of reactivity. The void coefficient is a measurement of how a reactor responds to increased steam formation in the water coolant. Most other reactor designs have a negative coefficient, i.e. the nuclear reaction rate slows when steam bubbles form in the coolant, since as the vapour phase in the reactor increases, fewer neutrons are slowed down. Faster neutrons are less likely to split uranium atoms, so the reactor produces less power (a negative feedback). Chernobyl’s RBMK reactor, however, used solid graphite as a neutron moderator to slow down the neutrons, and the water in it, on the contrary, acts like a harmful neutron absorber. Thus neutrons are slowed down even if steam bubbles form in the water. Furthermore, because steam absorbs neutrons much less readily than water, increasing the intensity of vapourization means that more neutrons are able to split uranium atoms, increasing the reactor’s power output. This makes the RBMK design very unstable at low power levels, and prone to suddenly increasing energy production to a dangerous level. This behaviour is counter-intuitive, and this property of the reactor was unknown to the crew.
  • A more significant flaw was in the design of the control rods that are inserted into the reactor to slow down the reaction. In the RBMK reactor design, the lower part of each control rod was made of graphite and was 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) shorter than necessary, and in the space beneath the rods were hollow channels filled with water. The upper part of the rod, the truly functional part that absorbs the neutrons and thereby halts the reaction, was made of boron carbide. With this design, when the rods are inserted into the reactor from the uppermost position, the graphite parts initially displace some water (which absorbs neutrons, as mentioned above), effectively causing fewer neutrons to be absorbed initially. Thus for the first few seconds of control rod activation, reactor power output is increased, rather than reduced as desired. This behaviour is counter-intuitive and was not known to the reactor operators.

Other deficiencies besides these were noted in the RBMK-1000 reactor design, as were its non-compliance with accepted standards and with the requirements of nuclear reactor safety. While INSAG-1 and INSAG-7 reports both identified operator error as an issue of concern, the INSAG-7 identified that there were numerous other issues that were contributing factors that led to the incident. These contributing factors include:

  • The plant was not designed to safety standards in effect and incorporated unsafe features
  • “Inadequate safety analysis” was performed[29]
  • There was “insufficient attention to independent safety review”[29]
  • “Operating procedures not founded satisfactorily in safety analysis”[29]
  • Safety information not adequately and effectively communicated between operators, and between operators and designers
  • The operators did not adequately understand safety aspects of the plant
  • Operators did not sufficiently respect formal requirements of operational and test procedures
  • The regulatory regime was insufficient to effectively counter pressures for production
  • There was a “general lack of safety culture in nuclear matters at the national level as well as locally”[29]


Both views were heavily lobbied by different groups, including the reactor’s designers, power plant personnel, and the Soviet and Ukrainian governments. According to the IAEA’s 1986 analysis, the main cause of the accident was the operators’ actions. But according to the IAEA’s 1993 revised analysis the main cause was the reactor’s design.[111] One reason there were such contradictory viewpoints and so much debate about the causes of the Chernobyl accident was that the primary data covering the disaster, as registered by the instruments and sensors, were not completely published in the official sources.

Once again, the human factor had to be considered as a major element in causing the accident. INSAG notes that both the operating regulations and staff handled the disabling of the reactor protection easily enough: witness the length of time for which the ECCS was out of service while the reactor was operated at half power. INSAG’s view is that it was the operating crew’s deviation from the test programme that was mostly to blame. “Most reprehensibly, unapproved changes in the test procedure were deliberately made on the spot, although the plant was known to be in a very different condition from that intended for the test.”[29]:24

As in the previously released report INSAG-1, close attention is paid in report INSAG-7 to the inadequate (at the moment of the accident) “culture of safety” at all levels. Deficiency in the safety culture was inherent not only at the operational stage but also, and to no lesser extent, during activities at other stages in the lifetime of nuclear power plants (including design, engineering, construction, manufacture, and regulation). The poor quality of operating procedures and instructions, and their conflicting character, put a heavy burden on the operating crew, including the chief engineer. “The accident can be said to have flowed from a deficient safety culture, not only at the Chernobyl plant, but throughout the Soviet design, operating and regulatory organizations for nuclear power that existed at that time.”[29]:24



Spread of radioactive substances
Main article: Effects of the Chernobyl disaster

Although no informing comparisons can be made between the accident and a strictly air burst-fuzed nuclear detonation, it has still been approximated that about four hundred times more radioactive material was released from Chernobyl than by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By contrast the Chernobyl accident released about one hundredth to one thousandth of the total amount of radioactivity released during the era of nuclear weapons testing at the height of the Cold War, 1950–1960s, with the 1/100 to 1/1000 variance due to trying to make comparisons with different spectrums of isotopes released.[112] Approximately 100,000 square kilometres (39,000 sq mi) of land was significantly contaminated with fallout, with the worst hit regions being in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.[113] Slighter levels of contamination were detected over all of Europe except for the Iberian Peninsula.[114][115][116]

The initial evidence that a major release of radioactive material was affecting other countries came not from Soviet sources, but from Sweden. On the morning of 28 April,[117] workers at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant (approximately 1,100 km (680 mi) from the Chernobyl site) were found to have radioactive particles on their clothes.[118]

It was Sweden’s search for the source of radioactivity, after they had determined there was no leak at the Swedish plant, that at noon on 28 April, led to the first hint of a serious nuclear problem in the western Soviet Union. Hence the evacuation of Pripyat on 27 April, 36 hours after the initial explosions, was silently completed before the disaster became known outside the Soviet Union. The rise in radiation levels had at that time already been measured in Finland, but a civil service strike delayed the response and publication.[119]

Contamination from the Chernobyl accident was scattered irregularly depending on weather conditions, much of it deposited on mountainous regions such as the Alps, the Welsh mountains and the Scottish Highlands, where adiabatic cooling caused radioactive rainfall. The resulting patches of contamination were often highly localized, and water-flows across the ground contributed further to large variations in radioactivity over small areas. Sweden and Norway also received heavy fallout when the contaminated air collided with a cold front, bringing rain.[121]:43–44, 78 There was also groundwater contamination.

Rain was purposely seeded over 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of the Belorussian SSR by the Soviet air force to remove radioactive particles from clouds heading toward highly populated areas. Heavy, black-coloured rain fell on the city of Gomel.[122] Reports from Soviet and Western scientists indicate that Belarus received about 60% of the contamination that fell on the former Soviet Union. However, the 2006 TORCH report stated that half of the volatile particles had landed outside Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. A large area in Russia south of Bryansk was also contaminated, as were parts of northwestern Ukraine. Studies in surrounding countries indicate that more than one million people could have been affected by radiation.[123]

Recently published data from a long-term monitoring program (The Korma Report II)[124] shows a decrease in internal radiation exposure of the inhabitants of a region in Belarus close to Gomel. Resettlement may even be possible in prohibited areas provided that people comply with appropriate dietary rules.

In Western Europe, precautionary measures taken in response to the radiation included seemingly arbitrary regulations banning the importation of certain foods but not others. In France officials stated that the Chernobyl accident had no adverse effects.[125][incomplete short citation]

Radioactive release
Main article: Behavior of nuclear fuel during a reactor accident § Chernobyl release

Like many other releases of radioactivity into the environment, the Chernobyl release was controlled by the physical and chemical properties of the radioactive elements in the core. Particularly dangerous are the highly radioactive fission products, those with high nuclear decay rates that accumulate in the food chain, such as some of the isotopes of iodine, caesium and strontium. Iodine-131 was and caesium-137 remains the two most responsible for the radiation exposure received by the general population.[6]

Detailed reports on the release of radioisotopes from the site were published in 1989[126] and 1995,[127] with the latter report updated in 2002.[6]

Contributions of the various isotopes to the atmospheric absorbed dose in the contaminated area of Pripyat, from soon after the accident to 27 years after the accident
External relative gamma dose for a person in the open near the disaster site

At different times after the accident, different isotopes were responsible for the majority of the external dose. The remaining quantity of any radioisotope, and therefore the activity of that isotope, after 7 decay half-lives have passed, is less than 1% of its initial magnitude,[128] and it continues to reduce beyond 0.78% after 7 half-lives to 0.10% remaining after 10 half-lives have passed and so on.[129][130] Some radionuclides have decay products that are likewise radioactive, which is not accounted for here. The release of radioisotopes from the nuclear fuel was largely controlled by their boiling points, and the majority of the radioactivity present in the core was retained in the reactor.

  • All of the noble gases, including krypton and xenon, contained within the reactor were released immediately into the atmosphere by the first steam explosion.[6] The atmospheric release of xenon-133, with a half-life of 5 days, is estimated at 5200 PBq.[6]
  • 50 to 60% of all core radioiodine in the reactor, about 1760 PBq (1760×1015 becquerels), or about 0.4 kilograms (0.88 lb), was released, as a mixture of sublimed vapour, solid particles, and organic iodine compounds. Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days.[6]
  • 20 to 40% of all core caesium-137 was released, 85 PBq in all.[6][131] Caesium was released in aerosol form; caesium-137, along with isotopes of strontium, are the two primary elements preventing the Chernobyl exclusion zone being re-inhabited.[132] 8.5×1016 Bq equals 24 kilograms of caesium-137.[132] Cs-137 has a half-life of 30 years.[6]
  • Tellurium-132, half-life 78 hours, an estimated 1150 PBq was released.[6]
  • An early estimate for total nuclear fuel material released to the environment was 3±1.5%; this was later revised to 3.5±0.5%. This corresponds to the atmospheric emission of 6 metric tons (5.9 long tons; 6.6 short tons) of fragmented fuel.[127]

Two sizes of particles were released: small particles of 0.3 to 1.5 micrometres, each an individually unrecognizable small dust or smog sized particulate matter and larger settling dust sized particles that therefore were quicker to fall-out of the air, of 10 micrometres in diameter. These larger particles contained about 80% to 90% of the released high boiling point or non-volatile radioisotopes; zirconium-95, niobium-95, lanthanum-140, cerium-144 and the transuranic elements, including neptunium, plutonium and the minor actinides, embedded in a uranium oxide matrix.

The dose that was calculated is the relative external gamma dose rate for a person standing in the open. The exact dose to a person in the real world who would spend most of their time sleeping indoors in a shelter and then venturing out to consume an internal dose from the inhalation or ingestion of a radioisotope, requires a personnel specific radiation dose reconstruction analysis and whole body count exams, of which 16,000 were conducted in Ukraine by Soviet medical personnel in 1987.[133]

Residual radioactivity

Map of current radiation levels of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and surrounds

Water bodies
Reactor and surrounding area in April 2009

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is located next to the Pripyat River, which feeds into the Dnieper reservoir system, one of the largest surface water systems in Europe, which at the time supplied water to Kiev’s 2.4 million residents, and was still in spring flood when the accident occurred.[72]:60 The radioactive contamination of aquatic systems therefore became a major problem in the immediate aftermath of the accident.[134]

In the most affected areas of Ukraine, levels of radioactivity (particularly from radionuclides 131I, 137Cs and 90Sr) in drinking water caused concern during the weeks and months after the accident,[134] Guidelines for levels of radioiodine in drinking water were temporarily raised to 3,700 Bq/L, allowing most water to be reported as safe,[134]
[134] Officially it was stated that all contaminants had settled to the bottom “in an insoluble phase” and would not dissolve for 800–1000 years.[72]:64[better source needed]
A year after the accident it was announced that even the water of the Chernobyl plant’s cooling pond was within acceptable norms. Despite this, two months after the disaster the Kiev water supply was switched from the Dnieper to the Desna River.[72]:64–65[better source needed] Meanwhile, massive silt traps were constructed, along with an enormous 30-metre (98 ft) deep underground barrier to prevent groundwater from the destroyed reactor entering the Pripyat River.[72]:65–67[better source needed]

Groundwater was not badly affected by the Chernobyl accident since radionuclides with short half-lives decayed away long before they could affect groundwater supplies, and longer-lived radionuclides such as radiocaesium and radiostrontium were adsorbed to surface soils before they could transfer to groundwater.[135] However, significant transfers of radionuclides to groundwater have occurred from waste disposal sites in the 30 km (19 mi) exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Although there is a potential for transfer of radionuclides from these disposal sites off-site (i.e. out of the 30 km (19 mi) exclusion zone), the IAEA Chernobyl Report[135] argues that this is not significant in comparison to current levels of washout of surface-deposited radioactivity.

Bio-accumulation of radioactivity in fish[136] resulted in concentrations (both in western Europe and in the former Soviet Union) that in many cases were significantly[vague] above guideline maximum levels for consumption.[134] Guideline maximum levels for radiocaesium in fish vary from country to country but are approximately 1000 Bq/kg in the European Union.[137] In the Kiev Reservoir in Ukraine, concentrations in fish were in the range of 3000 Bq/kg during the first few years after the accident.[136]

Radiation levels in 1996 around Chernobyl

In small “closed” lakes in Belarus and the Bryansk region of Russia, concentrations in a number of fish species varied from 100 to 60,000 Bq/kg during the period 1990–92.[138] The contamination of fish caused short-term concern in parts of the UK and Germany and in the long term (years rather than months) in the affected areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia as well as in parts of Scandinavia.[134]

Flora and fauna

After the disaster, four square kilometres (1.5 sq mi) of pine forest directly downwind of the reactor turned reddish-brown and died, earning the name of the “Red Forest”.[139] Some animals in the worst-hit areas also died or stopped reproducing. Most domestic animals were removed from the exclusion zone, but horses left on an island in the Pripyat River 6 km (4 mi) from the power plant died when their thyroid glands were destroyed by radiation doses of 150–200 Sv.[140] Some cattle on the same island died and those that survived were stunted because of thyroid damage. The next generation appeared to be normal.[140]

On farms in Narodychi Raion of Ukraine it is claimed that from 1986-1990 nearly 350 animals were born with gross deformities such as missing or extra limbs, missing eyes, heads or ribs, or deformed skulls; in comparison, only three abnormal births had been registered in the five years prior.[141][better source needed]

Piglet with dipygus on exhibit at the Ukrainian National Chornobyl Museum

With radiocaesium binding less with humic acid, peaty soils than the known binding “fixation” that occurs on kaolinite rich clay soils, many marshy areas of Ukraine had the highest soil to dairy-milk transfer coefficients, of soil activity in ~ 200 kBq/m2 to dairy milk activity in Bq/L, that had ever been reported, with the transfer, from initial land activity into milk activity, ranging from 0.3−2 to 20−2 times that which was on the soil, a variance depending on the natural acidicity-conditioning of the pasture.[133]

In 1987, some 16,000 Whole Body Count exams were conducted by Soviet medical teams in these otherwise comparatively lightly contaminated regions deemed good prospects for recovery, in an effort to determine the completeness of banning local food and subsisting on food imports on the internal body burden of inhabitants, while concurrent agricultural countermeasures were fielded when cultivation did occur to further reduce the soil to human transfer as much as possible. The expected highest body activity was in the first few years, were the unabated ingestion of local food, primarily milk consumption, resulted in the transfer of activity from soil to body, after the dissolution of the USSR, the now reduced scale initiative to monitor the human body activity in these regions of Ukraine, recorded a small and gradual half-decadal-long rise, in internal committed dose, before returning to the previous trend of observing ever lower body counts each year.

This momentary rise is hypothesized to be due to the cessation of the Soviet food imports together with many villagers returning to older dairy food cultivation practices and large increases in wild berry and mushroom foraging, the latter of which have similar peaty soil to fruiting body, radiocaesium transfer coefficients.[133]

After the disaster, four square kilometres (1.5 sq mi) of pine forest directly downwind of the reactor turned reddish-brown and died, earning the name of the “Red Forest”, though it soon recovered.[139] This photograph was taken years later, in March 2009,[142] after the forest began to grow again, with the lack of foliage at the time of the photograph merely due to the local winter at the time.[143]

In a 2007 paper, a robot sent into the reactor itself returned with samples of black, melanin-rich radiotrophic fungi that grow on the reactor’s walls.[144]

Of the 440,350 wild boar killed in the 2010 hunting season in Germany, approximately one thousand were contaminated with levels of radiation above the permitted limit of 600 becquerels of caesium per kilogram, of dry weight, due to residual radioactivity from Chernobyl.[145] While all animal meat contains a natural level of potassium 40 at a similar level of activity, with both wild and farm animals in Italy containing “415 ± 56 becquerels kg−1 dw” of that naturally occurring gamma emitter.[146]

The caesium contamination issue has historically reached some uniquely isolated and high levels approaching 20,000 Becquerels of caesium per kilogram in some specific tests; however, it has not been observed in the wild boar population of Fukushima after the 2011 accident.[147] Evidence exists to suggest that the wild German and Ukrainian boar population are in a unique location were they have subsisted on a diet high in plant or fungi sources that biomagnifies or concentrates radiocaesium, with the most well known food source the consumption of the outer shell or wall of the “deer-truffle” elaphomyces which, along with magnifying radiocaesium, also magnifies or concentrates natural soil concentrations of arsenic.[148]

In 2015, long-term empirical data showed no evidence of a negative influence of radiation on mammal abundance.[149]

When clouds arrive at mountain ranges, the thermal air rises over the hotter land, causing weather front adiabatic cooling within the cloud, and on cooling, frequent percipitation or rainout occurs, with an eventual formation of localized concentrations of contaminants in the area, creating contaminant hotspots, with activities in these distant mountain areas, higher in Bq/m2 values to many areas much closer to the source of the plume. The Norwegian Agricultural Authority reported that in 2009 a total of 18,000 livestock in Norway required uncontaminated feed for a period before slaughter, to ensure that their meat had an activity below the government permitted value of cesium per kilogram deemed suitable for human consumption. This contamination was due to residual radioactivity from Chernobyl in the mountain plants they graze on in the wild during the summer. 1,914 sheep required uncontaminated feed for a time before slaughter during 2012, with these sheep located in only 18 of Norway’s municipalities, a decrease from the 35 municipalities in 2011 and the 117 municipalities affected during 1986.[150]

The after-effects of Chernobyl on the mountain lamb industry in Norway were expected to be seen for a further 100 years, although the severity of the effects would decline over that period.[151] Scientists report this is due to radioactive caesium-137 isotopes being taken up by fungi such as Cortinarius caperatus which is in turn eaten by sheep while grazing.[150]

The United Kingdom restricted the movement of sheep from upland areas when radioactive caesium-137 fell across parts of Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and northern England. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster in 1986, the movement of a total of 4,225,000 sheep was restricted across a total of 9,700 farms, to prevent contaminated meat entering the human food chain.[152] The number of sheep and the number of farms affected has decreased since 1986. Northern Ireland was released from all restrictions in 2000, and by 2009, 369 farms containing around 190,000 sheep remained under the restrictions in Wales, Cumbria, and northern Scotland.[152] The restrictions applying in Scotland were lifted in 2010, while those applying to Wales and Cumbria were lifted during 2012, meaning no farms in the UK remain restricted because of Chernobyl fallout.[153][154]

The legislation used to control sheep movement and compensate farmers (farmers were latterly compensated per animal to cover additional costs in holding animals prior to radiation monitoring) was revoked during October and November 2012, by the relevant authorities in the UK.[155] Had restrictions in the UK not occurred, a heavy consumer of lamb meat would likely have received a dose of 0.04 mSv over a lifetime.[17]


Main article: Effects of the Chernobyl disaster § Long-term health effects
Pripyat lies abandoned with the Chernobyl facility visible in the distance

In the accident’s aftermath, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness, of whom 31 died within the first three months.[156][157] In 2005, the Chernobyl Forum, composed of the International Atomic Energy Agency, other UN organizations, and the governments of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, published a report on the radiological environmental and health consequences of the Chernobyl accident. In September 1987, the I.A.E.A. held an Advisory Group Meeting at the Curie Institute in Paris on the medical handling of the skin lesions relating to the acute deaths.[158]

The only known, causal deaths from the accident involved workers in the plant and firefighters. In reporter Grigori Medvedev’s book on the accident, there were a number of fishermen on the reservoir a half-kilometer from the reactor to the east, of these Two shore fishermen, Protosov and Pustavoit, are said to have gotten doses estimated at 400 roentgens, vomited but surviving.[38][39] The vast majority of Pripyat proper slept through the distant sound of the explosion, including station engineer Breus, who only became aware, at 6am, the beginning of his next work shift. Breus would later be taken to hospital and while there, made the acquiantance of one teen who solely and independently ventured out by bicycle to watch the roof fires during the night, stopping for a time and viewing the scene at the fictitious “Bridge of Death” 51°23′42″N 30°04′10″E / 51.3949°N 30.0695°E / 51.3949; 30.0695 (Bridge of Death), however contrary to this sensationalist label, the youthful night biker was treated and released from hospital, remaining in touch with Breus as of 2019.[159][160][161]

With the exception of plant employee Shashenock, who having been struck by injuries compounded by the blast and never fully regaining consciousness, upon the arrival of the world specialist, all serious cases of ARS were treated by Dr. Robert Peter Gale,
who documented a first of its kind treatment.[162][163] In 2019 Gale would write a letter to correct the popularised, though egregious, protrayal of his patients as dangerous to visitors.[164] All those who died were station operators and firefighters, over half of which from the continued wearing of dusty soaked uniforms, causing beta burns to cover large areas of skin. In the first few minutes to days, (largely due to Np-239, a 2.4 day half life) the beta-to-gamma energy ratio is some 30:1, though while adding to the dose, no proximate deaths would be from the gamma fraction of exposure.[165][166][167] Instead, owing to the large area of burned skin, bacterial infection was and remains the over-arching concern to those afflicted with ARS, as a leading cause of death, quarantine from the outside environment is a part of the normal treatment protocol. Many of the surviving firefighters, continue to have skin that is atrophied, spider veined with underlying fibrosis due to experiencing extensive beta burns.[167]

The eventual medical report states that in those who were treated for ARS, 28 died from the acute radiation syndrome, each over the following days to months. In the years afterward 15 have died from thyroid cancer, it is roughly estimated that cancer deaths caused by Chernobyl may reach a total of about 4,000 among the 5 million persons residing in the contaminated areas. The report projected cancer mortality “increases of less than one per cent” (~0.3%) on a time span of 80 years, cautioning that this estimate was “speculative” since at this time only a few cancer deaths are linked to the Chernobyl disaster.[168] The report says it is impossible to reliably predict the number of fatal cancers arising from the incident as small differences in assumptions can result in large differences in the estimated health costs. The report says it represents the consensus view of the eight UN organizations.

Of all 66,000 Belarusian emergency workers, by the mid-1990s their government reported that only 150 (roughly 0.2%) died. In contrast, in the much larger work force from Ukraine, numbered in the hundreds of thousands, some 5,722 casualties from a host of non-accident causes, were reported among Ukrainian clean-up workers up to the year 1995, by the National Committee for Radiation Protection of the Ukrainian Population.[113][169]

The four most harmful radionuclides spread from Chernobyl were iodine-131, caesium-134, caesium-137 and strontium-90, with half-lives of 8.02 days, 2.07 years, 30.2 years and 28.8 years respectively.[170]:8 The iodine was initially viewed with less alarm than the other isotopes, because of its short half-life, but it is highly volatile and now appears to have travelled furthest and caused the most severe health problems.[113]:24 Strontium, on the other hand, is the least volatile of the four and is of main concern in the areas near Chernobyl itself.[170]:8 Iodine tends to become concentrated in thyroid and milk glands, leading, among other things, to increased incidence of thyroid cancers. The total ingested dose was largely from iodine and, unlike the other fission products, rapidly found its way from dairy farms to human ingestion.[171] Similarly in dose reconstruction, for those evacuated at different times and from various towns, the inhalation dose was dominated by iodine (40%), along with airborne tellurium (20%) and oxides of rubidium (20%) both as equally secondary, appreciable contributors.[172]

Long term hazards such as caesium tends to accumulate in vital organs such as the heart,[173] while strontium accumulates in bones and may thus be a risk to bone-marrow and lymphocytes.[170]:8 Radiation is most damaging to cells that are actively dividing. In adult mammals cell division is slow, except in hair follicles, skin, bone marrow and the gastrointestinal tract, which is why vomiting and hair loss are common symptoms of acute radiation sickness.[174]:42

Assessment complications

By the year 2000, the number of Ukrainians claiming to be radiation ‘sufferers’ (poterpili) and receiving state benefits had jumped to 3.5 million, or 5% of the population. Many of these are populations resettled from contaminated zones or former or current Chernobyl plant workers.[105]:4–5 There was and remains a motivated ‘push’ to achieve ‘sufferer’ status as it gives access to state benefits and medical services that would otherwise not be made available.[175] According to IAEA-affiliated scientific bodies, the apparent increases of ill health in this large group result partly from economic strains on these countries and poor health-care and nutrition; also, they suggest that increased medical vigilance following the accident, particularly a heightened overdiagnosis due to the Screening effect, has meant that many benign cases that would previously have gone unnoticed and untreated (especially of cancer) are now being registered.[113]

The World Health Organization states, “children conceived before or after their father’s exposure showed no statistically significant differences in mutation frequencies”.[176] This statistically insignificant increase was also seen by independent researchers analyzing the children of the Chernobyl liquidators.[177]

The two primary individuals involved with the attempt to suggest that the mutation rate among animals was, and continues to be, higher in the Chernobyl zone, are the Anders Moller and Timothy Mousseau group.[178][179][180][181] Apart from continuing to publish experimentally unrepeatable and discredited papers, Mousseau routinely gives talks at the Helen Caldicott organized symposiums for “Physicians for Social Responsibility”, an anti-nuclear advocacy group devoted to bring about a “nuclear free planet”.[182] Moreover, in years past, Moller was previously caught and reprimanded for publishing papers that crossed the scientific “misconduct”/”fraud” line.[183] The duo have more recently attempted to publish meta-analyses, in which the primary references they weigh-up, analyze and draw their conclusions from is their own prior papers along with the discredited book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.[184]

In 1996, geneticist colleagues Ronald Chesser and Robert Baker published a paper on the thriving vole population within the exclusion zone, in which the central conclusion of their work was essentially that “The mutation rate in these animals is hundreds and probably thousands of times greater than normal”. This claim occurred after they had done a comparison of the mitochondrial DNA of the “Chernobyl voles” with that of a control group of voles from outside the region.[185] These alarming conclusions led the paper to appear on the front cover of the prestigious journal Nature. However, not long after publication, Chesser & Baker discovered a fundamental error in the interpretation of their data, and despite only the authors recognizing the error in which they had incorrectly classified the species of vole and therefore were comparing the genetics of two entirely different vole species to start with, the team made the decision to issue a retraction.[178][186]


Following the accident, journalists mistrusted many medical professionals (such as the spokesman from the UK National Radiological Protection Board), and in turn encouraged the public to mistrust them.[187] Throughout the European continent, due to this media-driven framing of the slight contamination and in nations where abortion is legal, many requests for induced abortions of otherwise normal pregnancies, were obtained out of fears of radiation from Chernobyl, including an excess number of abortions in Denmark in the months following the accident.[188]

In Greece, following the accident, many obstetricians were unable to resist requests from worried pregnant mothers over fears of radiation. Although it was determined that the effective dose to Greeks would not exceed one mSv (100 mrem), a dose much lower than that which could induce embryonic abnormalities or other non-stochastic effects, there was an observed 2,500 excess of otherwise wanted pregnancies being terminated, probably out of fear in the mother of radiation risk.[189] A slightly above the expected number of requested induced abortions occurred in Italy.[190][191]

Worldwide, an estimated excess of about 150,000 elective abortions may have been performed on otherwise healthy pregnancies out of fears of radiation from Chernobyl, according to Robert Baker and ultimately a 1987 article published by Linda E. Ketchum in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine which mentions but does not reference an IAEA source on the matter.[187][188][192][193][189][194]

The available statistical data excludes the Soviet–Ukraine–Belarus abortion rates, as they are presently unavailable. From the available data, an increase in the number of abortions in what were healthy developing human offspring in Denmark occurred in the months following the accident, at a rate of about 400 cases.[188] In Greece, there was an observed 2,500 excess of otherwise wanted pregnancies being terminated.[189] In Italy, a “slightly” above the expected number of induced abortions occurred, approximately 100.[190][191]

No evidence of changes in the prevalence of human deformities/birth congenital anomalies that might be associated with the accident are apparent in Belarus or the Ukraine, the two republics that had the highest exposure to fallout.[195] In Sweden[196] and Finland where no increase in abortion rates occurred, it was likewise determined that “no association between the temporal and spatial variations in radioactivity and variable incidence of congenital malformations [was found].”[197] A similar null increase in the abortion rate and a healthy baseline situation of no increase in birth defects was determined by assessing the Hungarian Congenital Abnormality Registry.[198] Findings were also mirrored in Austria.[199] Larger “mainly western European” data sets, approaching a million births in the EUROCAT database, divided into “exposed” and control groups were assessed in 1999. As no Chernobyl impacts were detected, the researchers conclude “in retrospect, the widespread fear in the population about the possible effects of exposure on the unborn fetus was not justified”.[200] Despite studies from Germany and Turkey, the only robust evidence of negative pregnancy outcomes that transpired after the accident were these elective abortion indirect effects, in Greece, Denmark, Italy etc., due to the anxieties that were created.[195]

In very high doses, it was known at the time that radiation could cause a physiological increase in the rate of pregnancy anomalies, but unlike the dominant linear-no threshold model of radiation and cancer rate increases, it was known, by researchers familiar with both the prior human exposure data and animal testing, that the “Malformation of organs appears to be a deterministic effect with a threshold dose” below which, no rate increase is observed.[201] This teratology (birth defects) issue was discussed by Frank Castronovo of the Harvard Medical School in 1999, publishing a detailed review of dose reconstructions and the available pregnancy data following the Chernobyl accident, inclusive of data from Kiev’s two largest obstetrics hospitals.[201] Castronovo concludes that “the lay press with newspaper reporters playing up anecdotal stories of children with birth defects” is, together with dubious studies that show selection bias, the two primary factors causing the persistent belief that Chernobyl increased the background rate of birth defects. When the vast amount of pregnancy data does not support this perception as no women took part in the most radioactive liquidator operations, no in-utero individuals would have been expected to have received a threshold dose.[201]

In one small behavioral study in 1998, with low statistical power and limited multivariate analysis which, akin to the widely published Hiroshima and Nagasaki studies, investigated and selected the children; who were in utero during the rapidly dividing and therefore radiosensitive phase of neurogenesis (8 to 16 weeks of gestation), and whose mothers were evacuated from some of the more energetic hot-spot parts of the Chernobyl exclusion zone following the accident. From a random selection of 50 individuals in late-childhood in 1998, a low quality statistically-significant increase in the rate of severe IQ reduction was found, with a threshold of a suggested ~ 0.30 Sv (300 mSv) as a thyroid dose to the developing human head, for the beginning emergence of cerebral disorder.[202][203]

The Chernobyl liquidators, essentially an all-male civil defense emergency workforce, would go on to father normal children, without an increase in developmental anomalies or a statistically significant increase in the frequencies of germline mutations in their progeny.[177] This normality is similarly seen in the children of the survivors of the Goiana accident.[204]

Cancer assessments

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency examines the environmental consequences of the accident.[135] The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has estimated a global collective dose of radiation exposure from the accident “equivalent on average to 21 additional days of world exposure to natural background radiation”; individual doses were far higher than the global mean among those most exposed, including 530,000 primarily male recovery workers (the Chernobyl liquidators) who averaged an effective dose equivalent to an extra 50 years of typical natural background radiation exposure each.[205][206][207]

Estimates of the number of deaths that will eventually result from the accident vary enormously; disparities reflect both the lack of solid scientific data and the different methodologies used to quantify mortality—whether the discussion is confined to specific geographical areas or extends worldwide, and whether the deaths are immediate, short term, or long term. In 1994, thirty-one deaths were directly attributed to the accident, all among the reactor staff and emergency workers.[156]

The Chernobyl Forum predicts that the eventual death toll could reach 4,000 among those exposed to the highest levels of radiation (200,000 emergency workers, 116,000 evacuees and 270,000 residents of the most contaminated areas); this figure is a total causal death toll prediction, combining the deaths of approximately 50 emergency workers who died soon after the accident from acute radiation syndrome, 15 children who have died of thyroid cancer and a future predicted total of 3,935 deaths from radiation-induced cancer and leukaemia.[15]

In a peer-reviewed paper in the International Journal of Cancer in 2006, the authors expanded the discussion on those exposed to all of Europe (but following a different conclusion methodology to the Chernobyl Forum study, which arrived at the total predicted death toll of 4,000 after cancer survival rates were factored in) they stated, without entering into a discussion on deaths, that in terms of total excess cancers attributed to the accident:[208]

The risk projections suggest that by now [2006] Chernobyl may have caused about 1000 cases of thyroid cancer and 4000 cases of other cancers in Europe, representing about 0.01% of all incident cancers since the accident. Models predict that by 2065 about 16,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 25,000 cases of other cancers may be expected due to radiation from the accident, whereas several hundred million cancer cases are expected from other causes.

Two anti-nuclear advocacy groups have publicized non-peer-reviewed estimates that include mortality estimates for those who were exposed to even smaller amounts of radiation. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) calculated that, among the hundreds of millions of people exposed worldwide, there will be an eventual 50,000 excess cancer cases, resulting in 25,000 excess cancer deaths, excluding thyroid cancer.[209] However, these calculations are based on a simple linear no-threshold model multiplication and the misapplication of the collective dose, which the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) states “should not be done” as using the collective dose is “inappropriate to use in risk projections”.[210]

Along similar lines to the UCS approach, the 2006 TORCH report, commissioned by the European Greens political party, likewise simplistically calculates an eventual 30,000 to 60,000 excess cancer deaths in total, around the globe.[114]

Thyroid cancer incidence in children and adolescents in Belarus  Adults, ages 19 to 34  Adolescents, ages 15 to 18  Children, ages up to 14 While widely regarded as having a cause and effect relationship, the causality of Chernobyl with the increases in recorded rates of thyroid cancer is disputed,[211] as in both the US and South Korea, upon the advent of ultrasonography and widespread medical screening, the latter recorded an almost identical epidemic in thyroid cancer rates, with South Korea reporting a 15 fold increase upon the switch of diagnostic tool, the highest thyroid cancer rate in the world.[212]

Yet the death rate from thyroid cancer has remained the same as prior to the technology.[212] For these and other reasons, it is suggested that no reliable increase has been detected in the environs of Chernobyl, that cannot otherwise be explained as an artifact of the globally well documented Screening effect.[211]
In 2004, the UN collaborative, Chernobyl Forum, revealed thyroid cancer among children to be one of the main health impacts from the Chernobyl accident. This is due to the ingestion of contaminated dairy products, along with the inhalation of the short-lived, highly radioactive isotope, Iodine-131. In that publication, more than 4,000 cases of childhood thyroid cancer were reported. It is important to note that there was no evidence of an increase in solid cancers or leukemia. It said that there was an increase in psychological problems among the affected population.[168] The WHO’s Radiation Program reported that the 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer resulted in nine deaths.[15]

According to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, up to the year 2005, an excess of more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer had been reported. That is, over the estimated pre-accident baseline thyroid cancer rate, more than 6,000 casual cases of thyroid cancer have been reported in children and adolescents exposed at the time of the accident, a number that is expected to increase. They concluded that there is no other evidence of major health impacts from the radiation exposure.[213]

Well-differentiated thyroid cancers are generally treatable,[214] and when treated the five-year survival rate of thyroid cancer is 96%, and 92% after 30 years.[215] the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation had reported 15 deaths from thyroid cancer in 2011.[14] The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also states that there has been no increase in the rate of birth defects or abnormalities, or solid cancers—such as lung cancer—corroborating the assessments by the UN committee.[168] UNSCEAR raised the possibility of long term genetic defects, pointing to a doubling of radiation-induced minisatellite mutations among children born in 1994.[216] However, the risk of thyroid cancer associated with the Chernobyl accident is still high according to published studies.[217][218]

The German affiliate of the anti-nuclear energy organization,[219] the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War suggest that 10,000 people are affected by thyroid cancer as of 2006, and that 50,000 cases are expected in the future.[220]

Other disorders

Fred Mettler, a radiation expert at the University of New Mexico, puts the number of worldwide cancer deaths outside the highly contaminated zone at perhaps 5,000, for a total of 9,000 Chernobyl-associated fatal cancers, saying “the number is small (representing a few percent) relative to the normal spontaneous risk of cancer, but the numbers are large in absolute terms”.[221] The same report outlined studies based on data found in the Russian Registry from 1991 to 1998 that suggested that “of 61,000 Russian workers exposed to an average dose of 107 mSv about [five percent] of all fatalities that occurred may have been due to radiation exposure”.[168]

The report went into depth about the risks to mental health of exaggerated fears about the effects of radiation.[168] According to the IAEA the “designation of the affected population as “victims” rather than “survivors” has led them to perceive themselves as helpless, weak and lacking control over their future”. The IAEA says that this may have led to behaviour that has caused further health effects.[222]

Fred Mettler commented that 20 years later: “The population remains largely unsure of what the effects of radiation actually are and retain a sense of foreboding. A number of adolescents and young adults who have been exposed to modest or small amounts of radiation feel that they are somehow fatally flawed and there is no downside to using illicit drugs or having unprotected sex. To reverse such attitudes and behaviours will likely take years, although some youth groups have begun programs that have promise.”[221] In addition, disadvantaged children around Chernobyl suffer from health problems that are attributable not only to the Chernobyl accident, but also to the poor state of post-Soviet health systems.[168]

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), part of the Chernobyl Forum, have produced their own assessments of the radiation effects.[223] UNSCEAR was set up as a collaboration between various United Nation bodies, including the World Health Organization, after the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to assess the long-term effects of radiation on human health.[224]

Radiation deaths

The number of potential deaths arising from the Chernobyl disaster is heavily debated. The World Health Organization’s prediction of 4,000 future cancer deaths in surrounding countries[225] is based on the Linear no-threshold model (LNT), which assumes that the damage inflicted by radiation at low doses is directly proportional to the dose.[226] Radiation epidemiologist Roy Shore contends that estimating health effects in a population from the LNT model “is not wise because of the uncertainties”.[227]

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists the number of excess cancer deaths worldwide (including all contaminated areas) is approximately 27,000 based on the same LNT.[228]

Another study critical of the Chernobyl Forum report was commissioned by Greenpeace, which asserted that the most recently published figures indicate that in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine the accident could have resulted in 10,000–200,000 additional deaths in the period between 1990 and 2004.[229] The Scientific Secretary of the Chernobyl Forum criticized the report’s reliance on non-peer-reviewed locally produced studies. Although most of the study’s sources were from peer-reviewed journals, including many Western medical journals, the higher mortality estimates were from non-peer-reviewed sources,[229] while Gregory Härtl (spokesman for the WHO) suggested that the conclusions were motivated by ideology.[230]

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment is a 2007 Russian publication that concludes that there were 985,000 premature deaths as a consequence of the radioactivity released.[231] The results were criticized by M. I. Balonov from the Institute of Radiation Hygiene in St. Petersburg, who described them as biased, drawing from sources that were difficult to independently verify and lacking a proper scientific base. Balanov expressed his opinion that “the authors unfortunately did not appropriately analyze the content of the Russian-language publications, for example, to separate them into those that contain scientific evidence and those based on hasty impressions and ignorant conclusions”.[231]

According to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission member and Professor of Health Physics Kenneth Mossman,[232] the “LNT philosophy is overly conservative, and low-level radiation may be less dangerous than commonly believed.”[233] Yoshihisa Matsumoto, a radiation biologist at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, cites laboratory experiments on animals to suggest there must be a threshold dose below which DNA repair mechanisms can completely repair any radiation damage.[227] Mossman suggests that the proponents of the current model believe that being conservative is justified due to the uncertainties surrounding low level doses and it is better to have a “prudent public health policy”.[232]

Another significant issue is establishing consistent data on which to base the analysis of the impact of the Chernobyl accident. Since 1991 large social and political changes have occurred within the affected regions and these changes have had significant impact on the administration of health care, on socio-economic stability, and the manner in which statistical data is collected.[234] Ronald Chesser, a radiation biologist at Texas Tech University, says that “the subsequent Soviet collapse, scarce funding, imprecise dosimetry, and difficulties tracking people over the years have limited the number of studies and their reliability”.[227]

Social economic
Abandoned buildings in Chernobyl
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych laying flowers at the memorial to the victims of the Chernobyl disaster in April 2011.
Exposition at Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum

It is difficult to establish the total economic cost of the disaster. According to Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union spent 18 billion rubles (the equivalent of US$18 billion at that time, or $35.7 billion in today’s dollars[235]) on containment and decontamination, virtually bankrupting itself.[21] In 2005, the total cost over 30 years for Belarus alone was estimated at US$235 billion;[168] about $297 billion in today’s dollars given inflation rates.[235]

Ongoing costs are well known; in their 2003–2005 report, The Chernobyl Forum stated that between five and seven percent of government spending in Ukraine is still related to Chernobyl, while in Belarus more than $13 billion is thought to have been spent between 1991 and 2003, with 22% of national budget having been Chernobyl-related in 1991, falling to six percent by 2002.[168] In 2018, Ukraine spent five to seven percent of its national budget on recovery activities related to the Chernobyl disaster.[236] Overall economic loss is estimated at $235 billion in Belarus.[236] Much of the current cost relates to the payment of Chernobyl-related social benefits to some seven million people across the three countries.[168]

A significant economic impact at the time was the removal of 784,320 ha (1,938,100 acres) of agricultural land and 694,200 ha (1,715,000 acres) of forest from production. While much of this has been returned to use, agricultural production costs have risen due to the need for special cultivation techniques, fertilizers and additives.[168] Politically, the accident gave great significance to the new Soviet policy of glasnost,[237][238] and helped forge closer Soviet–US relations at the end of the Cold War, through bioscientific cooperation.[105]:44–48 The disaster also became a key factor in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and a major influence in shaping the new Eastern Europe.[105]:20–21[additional citation(s) needed]

Both Ukraine and Belarus, in their first months of independence, lowered legal radiation thresholds from the Soviet Union’s previous, elevated thresholds (from 35 rems per lifetime under the USSR to 7 rems per lifetime in Ukraine and 0.1 rems per year in Belarus).[239]:46–47, 119–124


A trial took place from 7 July to 30 July 1987 in a makeshift courtroom setup in the House of Culture in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Five plant employees (the former deputy chief engineer Anatoly S. Dyatlov, the former plant director, Viktor P. Bryukhanov; the former chief engineer, Nikolai M. Fomin; the shift director of Reactor 4, Boris V. Rogozhin, and the chief of Reactor 4, Aleksandr P. Kovalenko) and Gosatomenergonadzor (USSR State Committee on Supervision of Safe Conduct of Work in Atomic Energy) inspector Yuri A. Laushkin were sentenced to 10, 10, 10, 5, 3 and 2 years respectively[240] in labor camps. The families of Aleksandr Akimov, Leonid Toptunov and Valery Perevozchenko had received official letters but prosecution against the employees had been terminated at their deaths.


Portraits of deceased Chernobyl liquidators used for an anti-nuclear power protest in Geneva

Following the accident, questions arose about the future of the plant and its eventual fate. All work on the unfinished reactors No. 5 and No. 6 was halted three years later. However, the trouble at the Chernobyl plant did not end with the disaster in reactor No. 4. The damaged reactor was sealed off and 200 cubic meters (260 cu yd) of concrete was placed between the disaster site and the operational buildings.[citation needed] The work was managed by Grigoriy Mihaylovich Naginskiy, the deputy chief engineer of Installation and Construction Directorate – 90. The Ukrainian government continued to let the three remaining reactors operate because of an energy shortage in the country.


In October 1991, a fire broke out in the turbine building of reactor No. 2;[241] the authorities subsequently declared the reactor damaged beyond repair, and it was taken offline. Reactor No. 1 was decommissioned in November 1996 as part of a deal between the Ukrainian government and international organizations such as the IAEA to end operations at the plant. On 15 December 2000, then-President Leonid Kuchma personally turned off reactor No. 3 in an official ceremony, shutting down the entire site.[242]


New Safe Confinement in 2017

Soon after the accident, the reactor building was quickly encased by a mammoth concrete sarcophagus in a notable feat of construction under severe conditions. Crane operators worked blindly from inside lead-lined cabins taking instructions from distant radio observers, while gargantuan-sized pieces of concrete were moved to the site on custom-made vehicles. The purpose of the sarcophagus was to stop any further release of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, mitigate damage should the core go critical and explode, and provide safety for the continued operations of adjacent reactors one through three.[10]

The concrete sarcophagus was never intended to last very long, with a lifespan of only 30 years. On 12 February 2013, a 600 m2 (6,500 sq ft) section of the roof of the turbine-building collapsed, adjacent to the sarcophagus, causing a new release of radioactivity and temporary evacuation of the area. At first it was assumed that the roof collapsed because of the weight of snow, however the amount of snow was not exceptional, and the report of a Ukrainian fact-finding panel concluded that the collapse was the result of sloppy repair work and aging of the structure. Experts warned the sarcophagus itself was on the verge of collapse.[243][244]

In 1997, the international Chernobyl Shelter Fund was founded to design and build a more permanent cover for the unstable and short-lived sarcophagus. It received more than €810 million and was managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The new shelter was named the New Safe Confinement and construction began in 2010. It is a metal arch 105 metres (344 ft) high and spanning 257 metres (843 ft) built on rails adjacent to the reactor No. 4 building so that it could be slid over top the existing sarcophagus. The New Safe Confinement was completed in 2016 and slid into place over top the sarcophagus on November 29.[245] The huge steel arch was moved into place over several weeks.[246] Unlike the original sarcophagus, the New Safe Confinement is designed to allow the reactor to be safely dismantled using remotely operated equipment.

Waste management

Used fuel from units 1–3 was stored in each unit’s cooling pond, and in an interim spent fuel storage facility pond (ISF-1). ISF-1 now holds most of the spent fuel from units 1–3, allowing those reactors to be decommissioned under less restrictive conditions. Approximately 50 of the fuel assemblies from units 1 and 2 were damaged and required special handling. Moving fuel to ISF-1 was thus carried out in three stages: first fuel from unit 3, second all undamaged fuel from units 1 and 2, and finally the damaged fuel from units 1 and 2. Fuel transfers to ISF-1 were completed in June 2016.[247].

A need for larger, longer term radioactive waste management at the Chernobyl site is to be fulfilled by a new facility designated ISF-2. This facility is to serve as dry storage for used fuel assemblies from units 1–3 and other operational wastes, as well as material from decommissioning units 1–3 (which will be the first RBMK units decommissioned anywhere).

In 1999 a contract was signed with Areva NP (now Framatome) for construction of ISF-2. In 2003, after a significant part of the storage structures had been built, technical deficiencies in the concept emerged. In 2007 Areva withdrew and Holtec International was contracted for a new design and construction of ISF-2. The new design was approved in 2010, work started in 2011, and construction completed in August 2017[248].

ISF-2 is the world’s largest nuclear fuel storage facility and expected to hold more than 21,000 fuel assemblies for at least 100 years. The project includes a processing facility able to cut the RBMK fuel assemblies and to put the material in canisters to be filled with inert gas and welded shut. The canisters are then to be transported to dry storage vaults, where the fuel containers will be enclosed for up to 100 years. Expected processing capacity is 2,500 fuel assemblies per year.[123]

Fuel-containing materials

According to official estimates, about 95% of the fuel in reactor No. 4 at the time of the accident (about 180 metric tons (180 long tons; 200 short tons)) remains inside the shelter, with a total radioactivity of nearly 18 million curies (670 PBq). The radioactive material consists of core fragments, dust, and lava-like “fuel containing materials” (FCM)—also called “corium”—that flowed through the wrecked reactor building before hardening into a ceramic form.

Three different lavas are present in the basement of the reactor building: black, brown, and a porous ceramic. The lava materials are silicate glasses with inclusions of other materials within them. The porous lava is brown lava that dropped into water and thus cooled rapidly. It is unclear how long the ceramic form will retard the release of radioactivity. From 1997 to 2002 a series of published papers suggested that the self-irradiation of the lava would convert all 1,200 metric tons (1,200 long tons; 1,300 short tons) into a submicrometre and mobile powder within a few weeks.[249]

It has been reported that the degradation of the lava is likely to be a slow and gradual process rather than sudden and rapid.[250] The same paper states that the loss of uranium from the wrecked reactor is only 10 kg (22 lb) per year; this low rate of uranium leaching suggests that the lava is resisting its environment.[250] The paper also states that when the shelter is improved, the leaching rate of the lava will decrease.[250]

Exclusion zone

Main article: Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Entrance to the zone of alienation around Chernobyl

An area originally extending 30 kilometres (19 mi) in all directions from the plant is officially called the “zone of alienation.” It is largely uninhabited, except for about 300 residents who have refused to leave. The area has largely reverted to forest, and has been overrun by wildlife because of a lack of competition with humans for space and resources. Even today, radiation levels are so high that the workers responsible for rebuilding the sarcophagus are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days of rest. As of 2016[update], 187 locals had returned and were living permanently in the zone.[251]

In 2011 Ukraine opened up the sealed zone around the Chernobyl reactor to tourists who wish to learn more about the tragedy that occurred in 1986.[252][253][254] Sergii Mirnyi, a radiation reconnaissance officer at the time of the accident, and now an academic at National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, has written about the psychological and physical effects on survivors and visitors, and worked as an advisor to Chernobyl tourism groups.[254][255]

Forest fire concerns
See also: Polesie State Radioecological Reserve

During the dry seasons, a perennial concern is forests that have been contaminated by radioactive material catching on fire. The dry conditions and build-up of debris make the forests a ripe breeding ground for wildfires.[256] Depending on the prevailing atmospheric conditions, the fires could potentially spread the radioactive material further outwards from the exclusion zone in the smoke.[257][258] In Belarus, the Bellesrad organization is tasked with overseeing the food cultivation and forestry management in the area.

Recovery projects

The Chernobyl Trust Fund was created in 1991 by the United Nations to help victims of the Chernobyl accident.[259] It is administered by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which also manages strategy formulation, resources mobilization, and advocacy efforts.[260] Beginning 2002, under the United Nations Development Programme, the fund shifted its focus from emergency assistance to long-term development.[236][260]

The Chernobyl Shelter Fund was established in 1997 at the Denver 23rd G8 summit to finance the Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP). The plan calls for transforming the site into an ecologically safe condition by means of stabilization of the sarcophagus followed by construction of a New Safe Confinement (NSC). While the original cost estimate for the SIP was US$768 million, the 2006 estimate was $1.2 billion. The SIP is being managed by a consortium of Bechtel, Battelle, and Électricité de France, and conceptual design for the NSC consists of a movable arch, constructed away from the shelter to avoid high radiation, to be slid over the sarcophagus. The NSC was moved into position in November 2016 and is expected to be completed in late-2017.[261]

In 2003, the United Nations Development Programme launched the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme (CRDP) for the recovery of the affected areas.[262] The programme was initiated in February 2002 based on the recommendations in the report on Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident. The main goal of the CRDP’s activities is supporting the Government of Ukraine in mitigating long-term social, economic, and ecological consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. CRDP works in the four most Chernobyl-affected areas in Ukraine: Kyivska, Zhytomyrska, Chernihivska and Rivnenska.

More than 18,000 Ukrainian children affected by the disaster have been treated at Cuba’s Tarará resort town since 1990.[263]

The International Project on the Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident was created and received US$20 million, mainly from Japan, in hopes of discovering the main cause of health problems due to 131I radiation. These funds were divided among Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, the three main affected countries, for further investigation of health effects. As there was significant corruption in former Soviet countries, most of the foreign aid was given to Russia, and no positive outcome from this money has been demonstrated.[citation needed]

Nuclear debate

Main articles: Nuclear power debate, nuclear power phase-out, and anti-nuclear movement
Nuclear power protest in Berlin, 2011

The Chernobyl accident attracted a great deal of interest. Because of the distrust that many people had in the Soviet authorities, a great deal of debate about the situation at the site occurred in the First World during the early days of the event. Because of defective intelligence based on satellite imagery, it was thought that unit number three had also suffered a dire accident.[citation needed] Journalists mistrusted many professionals, and they in turn encouraged the public to mistrust them.[187]
The accident raised the already heightened concerns about fission reactors worldwide, and while most concern was focused on those of the same unusual design, hundreds of disparate nuclear reactor proposals, including those under construction at Chernobyl, reactors numbers 5 and 6, were eventually cancelled. With ballooning costs as a result of new nuclear reactor safety system standards and the legal and political costs in dealing with the increasingly hostile/anxious public opinion, there was a precipitous drop in the rate of new startups after 1986.[264]

The accident also raised concerns about the cavalier safety culture in the Soviet nuclear power industry, slowing industry growth and forcing the Soviet government to become less secretive about its procedures.[265][e] The government coverup of the Chernobyl disaster was a catalyst for glasnost, which “paved the way for reforms leading to the Soviet collapse.”[266] Numerous structural and construction quality issues as well as deviations from the original design of the plant were known to KGB at least since 1973 and passed to the Central Committee which did not take any actions and classified it.[267]

In Italy, the Chernobyl accident was reflected in the outcome of the 1987 referendum. As a result of that referendum, Italy began phasing out its nuclear power plants in 1988, a decision that was effectively reversed in 2008. A 2011 referendum reiterated Italians’ strong objections to nuclear power, thus abrogating the government’s decision of 2008.

In Germany, the Chernobyl accident led to the creation of a federal environment ministry, after several states had already created such a post. The minister was given the authority over reactor safety as well, which the current minister still holds as of 2019[update]. The events are also credited with strengthening the anti-nuclear movement in Germany, which culminated in the decision to end the use of nuclear power that was made by the 1998–2005 Schröder government.[268]

In direct response to the Chernobyl disaster, a conference to create a Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident was called in 1986 by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The resulting treaty has bound signatory member states to provide notification of any nuclear and radiation accidents that occur within its jurisdiction that could affect other states, along with the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.

The Chernobyl, along with the space shuttle Challenger disaster, the Three Mile Island accident, and the Bhopal disaster have been used together as case studies, both by the US government and by third parties, in research concerning the root causes of such disasters, such as sleep deprivation[269] and mismanagement.[270]

See also

  • Cultural impact of the Chernobyl disaster
  • List of Chernobyl-related articles
  • List of industrial disasters
  • Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents
  • Nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents
  • Nuclear fallout effects on an ecosystem



  • ^ “The mere fact that the operators were carrying out an experiment that had not been approved by higher officials indicates that something was wrong with the chain of command. The State Committee on Safety in the Atomic Power Industry is permanently represented at the Chernobyl station. Yet the engineers and experts in that office were not informed about the program. In part, the tragedy was the product of administrative anarchy or the attempt to keep everything secret.” Medvedev 1990,pp. 18–20.
  • ^ The accumulation of Xe-135 in the core is burned out by neutrons. Higher power settings bring higher neutron flux and burn the xenon out more quickly. Conversely, low power settings result in the accumulation of xenon.[35]
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  • ^ “No one believed the first newspaper reports, which patently understated the scale of the catastrophe and often contradicted one another. The confidence of readers was re-established only after the press was allowed to examine the events in detail without the original censorship restrictions. The policy of openness (glasnost) and ‘uncompromising criticism’ of outmoded arrangements had been proclaimed at the 27th Congress (of the Communist Party of Soviet Union), but it was only in the tragic days following the Chernobyl disaster that glasnost began to change from an official slogan into an everyday practice. The truth about Chernobyl that eventually hit the newspapers opened the way to a more truthful examination of other social problems. More and more articles were written about drug abuse, crime, corruption and the mistakes of leaders of various ranks. A wave of ‘bad news’ swept over the readers in 1986–87, shaking the consciousness of society. Many were horrified to find out about the numerous calamities of which they had previously had no idea. It often seemed to people that there were many more outrages in the epoch of perestroika than before although, in fact, they had simply not been informed about them previously.” Kagarlitsky 1989, pp. 333–334.


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  • ^ “Chernobyl’s New Safe Confinement”. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  • ^ “CRDP: Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme”. United Nations Development Programme. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  • ^ Schipani, Andres (2 July 2009). “Revolutionary care: Castro’s doctors give hope to the children of Chernobyl”. The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  • ^ Juhn, Poong-Eil; Kupitz, Juergen (1996). “Nuclear power beyond Chernobyl: A changing international perspective” (PDF). IAEA Bulletin. 38 (1): 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  • ^ Kagarlitsky, Boris (1989). “Perestroika: The Dialectic of Change”. In Kaldor, Mary; Holden, Gerald; Falk, Richard A. (eds.). The New Detente: Rethinking East-West Relations. United Nations University Press. ISBN 978-0-86091-962-9.
  • ^ “Chernobyl cover-up a catalyst for glasnost”. NBC News. Associated Press. 24 April 2006. Archived from the original on 21 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  • ^ Developed.”, Government Authorities or Not Fully (12 June 2018). “Chornobyl nuclear disaster was tragedy in the making, declassified KGB files show”. Euromaidan Press. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  • ^ Hanneke Brooymans. France, Germany: A tale of two nuclear nations, The Edmonton Journal, May 25, 2009.
  • ^ Mitler, M. M.; Carskadon, M. A.; Czeisler, C. A.; Dement, W. C.; Dinges, D. F.; Graeber, R. C. (1988). “Catastrophes, Sleep, and Public Policy: Consensus Report”. Sleep. 11 (1): 100–109. doi:10.1093/sleep/11.1.100. PMC 2517096. PMID 3283909.
  • ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

.mw-parser-output .refbegin{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul{list-style-type:none;margin-left:0}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>dd{margin-left:0;padding-left:3.2em;text-indent:-3.2em;list-style:none}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-100{font-size:100%}

  • Abbott, Pamela (2006). Chernobyl: Living With Risk and Uncertainty. Health, Risk & Society 8.2. pp. 105–121.
  • Cohen, Bernard Leonard (1990). “The Chernobyl accident – can it happen here?”. The Nuclear Energy Option: An Alternative for the 90’s. Plenum Press. ISBN 9780306435676.
  • Dyatlov, Anatoly (2003). Chernobyl. How did it happen (in Russian). Nauchtechlitizdat, Moscow. ISBN 9785937280060.
  • Hoffmann, Wolfgang (2001). Fallout From the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and Congenital Malformations in Europe. Archives of Environmental Health.
  • Karpan, Nikolaj V. (2006). Chernobyl. Vengeance of peaceful atom (in Russian). Dnepropetrovsk: IKK “Balance Club”. ISBN 9789668135217.
  • Medvedev, Grigori (1989). The Truth About Chernobyl. VAAP. First American edition published by Basic Books in 1991. ISBN 9782226040312.
  • Medvedev, Zhores A. (1990). The Legacy of Chernobyl (Paperback. First American edition published in 1990 ed.). W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393308143.
  • Read, Piers Paul (1993). Ablaze! The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl. Random House UK (paperback 1997). ISBN 9780749316334.
  • Shcherbak, Yurii (1991). Chernobyl. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 9780312030971.
  • Tchertkoff, Wladimir (2016). The Crime of Chernobyl: The Nuclear Goulag. London: Glagoslav Publications. ISBN 9781784379315.

External links

  • Official UN Chernobyl site
  • International Chernobyl Portal, UN Inter-Agency Project ICRIN
  • Frequently Asked Chernobyl Questions, by the IAEA
  • Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme (United Nations Development Programme)
  • Photographs from inside the zone of alienation and City of Prypyat (2010)
  • Photographs from the City of Pripyat, and of those affected by the disaster
  • English Russia Photos of a RBMK-based power plant, showing details of the reactor hall, pumps, and the control room
  • Post-Soviet Pollution: Effects of Chernobyl from theDean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives

Coordinates: 51°23′23″N 30°05′57″E / 51.38972°N 30.09917°E / 51.38972; 30.09917 (Chernobyl disaster)


For other uses, see Twinkie (disambiguation).

A Twinkie is an American snack cake, described as “golden sponge cake with a creamy filling”. It was formerly made and distributed by Hostess Brands. The brand is currently owned by Hostess Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWNK), having been formerly owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company as the second incarnation of Hostess Brands. During bankruptcy proceedings, Twinkie production was suspended on November 21, 2012, and resumed after an absence of at least ten months from American store shelves, becoming available again nationwide on July 15, 2013.[1][2]

Saputo Incorporated’s Vachon Inc., which owns the Canadian rights to the product and made them during their absence from the U.S. market,[3] produces Twinkies in Canada at a bakery in Montreal. Twinkies are also available in Mexican stores as “Submarinos” and “Twinkies” made by Marinela, and as “Tuinky” made by Wonder; both Marinela and Wonder are subsidiaries of Mexican bread company Grupo Bimbo.[4][5] In Egypt, Twinkies are produced under the company Edita. Twinkies are also available in the United Kingdom and Ireland under the Hostess brand name where they are sold in Sainsburys, Tesco, ASDA and B&M stores. Twinkies are produced and distributed by multiple commercial bakeries in China,[6] where Hostess does not own the brand.[7]


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Hostess bankruptcy
    • 1.2 Return of Twinkies to U.S. market
  • 2 Cultural references
    • 2.1 Television and film
    • 2.2 Twinkie defense
    • 2.3 Song lyrics
    • 2.4 Theological Twinkie
    • 2.5 Shelf life
    • 2.6 Twinkie diet
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading
  • 6 External links


Box of Hostess Twinkies by Saputo Incorporated (in production)

Twinkies were invented in Schiller Park, Illinois[8] on April 6, 1930, by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company.[9] Realizing that several machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when strawberries were out of season, Dewar conceived a snack cake filled with banana cream, which he dubbed the Twinkie.[10] Ritchy Koph said he came up with the name when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for “Twinkle Toe Shoes.”[11] During World War II, bananas were rationed and the company was forced to switch to vanilla cream. This change proved popular, and banana-cream Twinkies were not widely re-introduced. The original flavor was occasionally found in limited-time promotions, but the company used vanilla cream for most Twinkies.[12] In 1988, Fruit and Cream Twinkies were introduced with a strawberry filling swirled into the cream. The product was soon dropped.[13] Vanilla’s dominance over banana flavoring would be challenged in 2005, following a month-long promotion of the movie King Kong. Hostess saw its Twinkie sales rise 20 percent during the promotion, and in 2007 restored the banana-cream Twinkie to its snack lineup.[14]

Hostess bankruptcy[edit]

On January 11, 2012,[15] parent company Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[11] Twinkie sales for the year, as of December 25, 2011[update], were 36 million packages, down almost 20% from a year earlier.[11] Hostess said customers had migrated to healthier foods.[11] On November 16, 2012, Hostess officially announced that it “will be winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities.” Bakery operations were suspended at all plants.[16]

Box of Hostess Twinkies by Hostess Brands

On November 19, 2012, Hostess and the Bakers Union agreed to mediation, delaying the shutdown for two days. On November 21, 2012, U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Drain approved Hostess’ request to shut down, temporarily ending Twinkie production in the United States.[17]

Return of Twinkies to U.S. market[edit]

On March 18, 2013, it was reported that Twinkies would return to store shelves in May of that year. Twinkies, along with other famed Hostess Brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co for $410 million.[18][19]
Twinkies returned to U.S. shelves on July 15, 2013.[20] Apollo subsequently sold Hostess for $2.3 billion.[21]

Before Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy, Twinkies were reduced in size. They now contain 135 kilocalories (560 kJ) and have a mass of 38.5 grams, while the original Twinkies contained 150 kilocalories (630 kJ) and had a mass of 42.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of 45 days, which was also a change made before bankruptcy, compared to the 26 days of the original Twinkies.[22]

Cultural references[edit]

Television and film[edit]

  • In the 1979 Steve Martin comedy film The Jerk, Navon’s mother cooks up Navon’s favorite meal for his birthday: “tuna fish salad on white bread with mayonnaise, a Tab and a couple of Twinkies.”[1]
  • In the film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the titular duo use a Twinkie to lure Genghis Khan into the time-travelling phone booth [23].
  • The Twinkie became known worldwide in countries that did not sell the confection in 1984, due to a reference in the hit film Ghostbusters.[24] In the film, the character Egon Spengler describes a speculated level of psychokinetic energy and uses a regular Twinkie size to represent the normal level of such energy in New York City. He then says that based on a recent sample, the Twinkie representing New York would be over 35 feet (11 m) long and weigh approximately 600 pounds (270 kg), to which the character Winston Zeddemore replies, “That’s a big Twinkie.”[24]
  • In the 1988 blockbuster “Die Hard”, LAPD Sergeant Al Powell is seen buying Twinkies at a gas station, to which the attendant says “I thought you guys just ate donuts?”. Powell replies, claiming that they are for his pregnant wife. It is later revealed to be his favourite snack, to the point that he is able to list all the ingredients to John McClane, claiming they are “Just about everything a growing boy needs!”. He is also seen eating them in Die Hard 2.
  • In the film “Ghost Rider 2”, the antagonist of the movie (whose ability is to decay everything he touches) struggles to eat an apple because it rots until he grabs a Twinkie, which to his surprise, does not decay/expire.
  • In the film Hollow Man, Dr. Sebastian Caine says the following, when asked by a colleague how he solved the problem of creating a stable invisibility cell, “Oh, you know, coffee and Twinkies!” Later in the film, the invisible Dr. Caine is seen leisurely eating one whilst in bed.
  • In the film Zombieland, one of the protagonists, Tallahassee, has a craving for Twinkies and stops to acquire some from a crashed van, even with the threat of zombies roaming the countryside.
  • In the movie WALL-E, WALL-E gives his pet cockroach Twinkies, evidently still edible after humans have left Earth 700 years ago.
  • On the ABC show Castle, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) mentions having deep-fried Twinkies while reminiscing with his ex-wife Meredith (Darby Stanchfield).
  • In the film Mortal Engines, Hester Shaw eats a Twinkie that is 1000 years old. She offers one to Tom Natsworthy, who questions it due to its extreme age. The Tw and s in the wrapper has been rubbed off and Hester refers to it as an “Inkie”.
  • In the film Sausage Party, there was a homosexual Twinkie named Twink.
  • In 2018 movie The Predator one of the protagonists, Traeger, explains Predators’ behavior comparing the humanity to Twinkies straight after Hostess bankruptcy: the extraterrestrial Predators allegedly want to obtain human DNA before the imminent end of humanity the same way as people wanted to get Twinkies while they still last.

Twinkie defense[edit]

Main article: Twinkie defense

“Twinkie defense” is a derisive label for an improbable legal defense. It is not a recognized legal defense in jurisprudence, but a catchall term coined by reporters during their coverage of the trial of defendant Dan White for the murders of San Francisco city Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. White’s defense was that he suffered diminished capacity as a result of his depression. His change in diet from healthful food to Twinkies and other sugary foods was said to be a symptom of depression. Contrary to common belief, White’s attorneys did not argue that the Twinkies were the cause of White’s actions, but that their consumption was symptomatic of his underlying depression.[10]

Song lyrics[edit]

John Fogerty’s 2004 album Deja Vu All Over Again includes the satirical, somewhat world-weary song Nobody’s Here Anymore, which ponders people’s infatuation with modern technology and its ever more sophisticated consumer devices. “He got a stash of Twinkies up in his room” is a line lamenting the self-absorption and social isolation of the protagonist of the song’s first verse. Twinkies are also one of the products mentioned in “Junk Food Junkie”, a Top 40 1976 novelty song by Larry Groce. “Habits (Stay High)”, a 2013 song by Swedish singer Tove Lo, mentions Twinkies in the line “I get home, I got the munchies / Binge on all my Twinkies / Throw up in the tub / Then I go to sleep.”[25] In an interview the singer confessed she had thought that “twinkie” was a synonym for “cookie” and that Hostess had sent her a sample of the product after the success of the song.[26]

Theological Twinkie[edit]

Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), used the expression “theological Twinkie” at the Church’s General Conference in April 1998, in reference to teaching methods that may be pleasing or entertaining, but lack sufficient spiritual and doctrinal substance. In his words: “Are we really nurturing our youth and our new members in a way that will sustain them when the stresses of life appear? Or are we giving them a kind of theological Twinkie—spiritually empty calories?” [27]

Shelf life[edit]

A common urban legend claims that Twinkies have an infinite shelf life, and can last unspoiled for a relatively long time of ten, fifty, or one hundred years due to the chemicals used in their production.[28] A homage to the unlimited shelf life urban myth appears in the film WALL-E, where the title character’s pet cockroach is shown eating its way into the cream filling at one end and emerging out the other, none the worse for wear.[29]

The third episode of Family Guy’s second season entitled “Da Boom” follows the Griffin family after a nuclear holocaust occurs, due to Y2K on New Year’s Eve. The family then travels in search of food, and eventually decide to establish a town around a Twinkie factory.

Another homage to the Twinkie’s shelf life myth was shown in the 2016 animated film Sausage Party, where a Twinkie is amongst the “Non-Perishable” foods.

The 2012 Super Bowl Chevy Silverado Apocalypse commercial also gives a nod to Twinkie’s reputed durability.[30]

In reality, Twinkies are on the shelf for a short time; a company executive told The New York Times in 2000 that the “Twinkie is on the shelf no more than 7 to 10 days.”[31] The maximum shelf life was reported to have been 26 days, until the addition of stronger preservatives made beginning in 2012 increased it to 45 days.[32] The 2009 apocalypse horror-comedy Zombieland, which features a search for the last remaining Twinkies in a running gag, acknowledges this by having the character Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson) explain that Twinkies do, in fact, have an expiration date. In the second episode of The Umbrella Academy (TV series), the character called number 5 (player by Aidan Gallagher) states that the infinite shelf life is a lie.

Twinkie diet[edit]

In 2010, Kansas State University professor Mark Haub went on a “convenience store” diet consisting mainly[citation needed] of Twinkies, Oreos, and Doritos in an attempt to demonstrate to his students “…that in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most, not the nutritional value of the food.” He lost 27 pounds (12 kg) over a two-month period, returning his body mass index (BMI) to within normal range.[33][34] In addition to Twinkies, Haub ate Little Debbie snack cakes, cereals, cookies, brownies, Doritos, Oreos and other kinds of high calorie, low-nutrition foods that are usually found at convenience stores. However, despite calling it the “Twinkie diet”, Haub also consumed a multivitamin, a protein shake and fresh vegetables along with the Twinkies, Oreos, and Doritos.[35] Some protein shakes contain 80 grams protein per serving,[36] almost equivalent to eating three 6-oz steaks per day.[37] Besides the protein shake and multivitamin, Haub also ate nutritionally dense whole milk, carrots, and vitamin fortified cereal.[38] This contradicts representations by other media outlets stating that Haub “only” ate junk food.[39]

See also[edit]

  • Food portal
  • Banana bread
  • Chocodile Twinkie
  • Deep-fried Mars Bar
  • Ding Dong
  • Ho Hos
  • Ladyfinger (biscuit)
  • List of deep fried food
  • Mars bar
  • Sno Balls
  • Twinkie the Kid
  • Zingers


  • ^ Parija Kavilanz (July 12, 2013). “‘First batch’ Twinkies go on sale at Walmart”. CNN. Retrieved July 13, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • ^ Staff and wire reports (July 12, 2013). “Hostess Twinkies make an early return to Southland shelves”. Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  • ^ Marotte, Bertrand (November 16, 2012). “As Hostess winds up, who will bite on Twinkies?”. The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  • ^ “”. April 9, 2016. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  • ^ “Campaña de la semana: Dona Twinkies a un Americano”. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  • ^ “Twinkies China”. Green Lounge. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  • ^ “How Hostess Surrendered The Twinkies Brand In China”. Seeking Alpha. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  • ^ Staff and wire reports (August 21, 2014). “Hostess closing bakery that created the Twinkie”. MSN Money. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  • ^ Biemer, John (April 30, 2006). “Homeowner Discovers That Mr. Twinkie Slept There”. U-T San Diego. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  • ^ a b Belcher, Jerry (June 3, 1985). “Man Who Concocted the Twinkie Dies : James A. Dewar’s Treat Is Part of America’s Diet and Folklore”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 3, 2011. It was Dewar’s inspiration to fill the cakes with a sugar-cream mixture, the formula for which is still a tightly held secret.
  • ^ a b c d Ovide, Shira (September 2, 2011). “Great Moments in Twinkies History”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  • ^ “The History of the Hostess Twinkie”. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  • ^ Continental Baking Company (1988). “Fruit and Cream Twinkies commercial”. Continental Baking Company. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  • ^ Shepherd, Lauren (June 13, 2007). “Hostess selling banana-creme Twinkies”. USA Today. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  • ^ Knipp, Christopher. “City of Saginaw, Michigan; Notice of Chapter 11” (PDF). Hostess Brands, LLC. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  • ^ Erik_Halvorson, Blynn Austin. “Hostess Brands is closed; HOSTESS BRANDS TO WIND DOWN COMPANY AFTER BCTGM UNION STRIKE CRIPPLES OPERATIONS”. Hostess Brands, LLC. Media_Division. Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  • ^ “Twinkie maker Hostess to ‘immediately’ fire 15,000 workers as liquidation approved”. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  • ^ Chris Isidore (March 13, 2013). “Twinkies due on shelves by summer as $410 million bid OK’d”. CNNMoney.
  • ^ Mark Lacter (March 12, 2013). “Hooray, Twinkies are coming back”. LA Observed.
  • ^ “Twinkies, Hostess snacks back in stores today”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  • ^ Corkery, Michael (December 10, 2016). “How the Twinkie Made the Superrich Even Richer”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  • ^ Choi, Candace (July 15, 2013). “New Twinkies weigh less, have fewer calories”. USA Today. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  • ^ Ralph Smith (February 17, 2009), Want a Twinkie, retrieved May 31, 2019
  • ^ a b Hays, Julia (February 26, 2016). “Celebrate the New Ghostbusters With Slime-Filled Twinkies”. E! Online. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  • ^ Pathak, Shirani M. (October 6, 2014). “Heart Break For The Self-Respecting Woman”. Relationship Center of Silicon Valley. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  • ^ Held, Joey. “Tove Lo on Coming Back from Surgery and the Stupidity of Censorship”. Paste Magazine. Archived from the original on August 15, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  • ^ Holland, Jeffrey R. “”A Teacher Come from God” – Jeffrey R. Holland”. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  • ^ “Forever Twinkies”. Snopes – Urban Legends Reference Pages. May 19, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  • ^ Walt Disney Productions/Pixar Animation Studios. WALL-E, 2008.
  • ^ “Chevy Guys Live, Ford Guys Die in Silverado’s Super Bowl Ad”. Adweek -Creativity. February 3, 2012. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  • ^ Kelley, Tina (March 23, 2000). “Twinkie Strike Afflicts Fans With Snack Famine”. The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  • ^ Kim, Susanna (July 9, 2013). “What’s New About the Twinkie and Other Hostess Brands Favorites”. ABC News. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  • ^ Park, Madison (November 8, 2010). “Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds”. CNN. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  • ^ “Exclusive Interview with Prof. Mark Haub”. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  • ^ “Healthy Diet of Twinkies? – Organic Authority”. December 2, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  • ^ “Do You Need Protein Powders? – WebMD”. December 14, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  • ^ “Calories in Premium Quality Usda Choice Beef Strip Steak”. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  • ^ “Mark Haub junk food diet experiment”. The Sydney Morning Herald. November 10, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  • ^ “Professor aims to dispel diet myths with calorie-controlled junk food diet”. Retrieved February 22, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ettlinger, Steve (2007). Twinkie Deconstructed. ISBN 978-0452289284.

External links[edit]

  • Products Page on Hostess’ website
  • The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project
  • Twinkies at 75: munch ’em, fry ’em, save ’em for years, The Christian Science Monitor
  • Weird Al Yankovic making a Twinkie wiener sandwich at YouTube
  • Zombieland

The Nutty Professor (1996 film)

Not to be confused with The Nutty Professor (2008 film) or The Absent-Minded Professor.

The Nutty Professor is a 1996 American slapstick science-fiction comedy film starring Eddie Murphy. It is a remake of the 1963 film of the same name, which starred Jerry Lewis, which itself was a parody of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The film co-stars Jada Pinkett, James Coburn, Larry Miller, Dave Chappelle and John Ales. The original music score was composed by David Newman. The film won Best Makeup at the 69th Academy Awards. [3]

Murphy portrays a university professor, Sherman Klump, a kind-hearted man who is morbidly obese. A research scientist, academic, and lecturer, Klump develops a miraculous, but experimental, weight-loss pharmaceutical, and hoping to win the affection of the girl of his dreams, tests it upon himself. Like the original film’s Julius Kelp, Klump’s vigorous, charismatic, but evil alter ego takes the name “Buddy Love”. Murphy plays a total of seven characters in the film, including Sherman, most of Sherman’s family (except for his nephew, Ernie Klump Jr. played by child actor Jamal Mixon), and an over-the-top parody of Richard Simmons.

The film received positive reviews, with critics particularly praising the makeup and Murphy’s performance. The film’s success spawned a sequel, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, which was released in 2000. The film was re-released on Blu-ray combo pack on March 6, 2012, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Universal Studios.[citation needed]


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Reception
    • 4.1 Critical response
    • 4.2 Box office
    • 4.3 Awards
  • 5 Soundtrack
  • 6 Sequel
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


At Wellman College, thousands of hamsters overrun the campus after being accidentally released by Sherman Klump, an obese but very kind-hearted professor. Meanwhile, Sherman has created an experimental formula that reconstructs the DNA of an obese person in a way that allows them to lose weight more easily.

After his lecture, Sherman meets and instantly falls in love with Carla Purty, a chemistry graduate who is a big fan of his work. After dinner with his impolite family, Sherman asks Carla out on a date, which she accepts, much to Sherman’s surprise. The date begins well with Carla showing admiration for Sherman’s work, but the club’s obnoxious guest comedian, Reggie Warrington, publicly mocks him about his weight. Sherman becomes depressed and, after having a nightmare in which he becomes a rampaging hungry giant that destroys the city, he tests his serum on himself, losing 250 pounds within seconds. Overwhelmed by his immediate weight loss, he goes out and buys copious amounts of normal-sized clothing to celebrate, and a $47,000 Dodge Viper RT/10 sports car on his faculty expense account. However, Sherman discovers that the effects of the serum are only temporary.

Concealing his true identity, Sherman adopts a false identity, “Buddy Love”, and invites Carla out on a date at the same club again. Reggie is present again, and Buddy takes revenge by heckling him mercilessly. Sherman’s “Buddy” persona starts to develop an independent personality due to the heightened testosterone levels of the transformation, gradually changing from his regular good-natured self to perverted and super-confident. Klump’s assistant and friend Jason spots Buddy fleeing the scene after he is identified as the person who left Klump’s credit card at the bar. Jason follows Buddy and witnesses his transformation back into Sherman Klump.

The next morning, Dean Richmond has set up a meeting with Sherman and wealthy businessman Harlan Hartley at The Ritz to explain the serum in the hopes of gaining Hartley’s $10,000,000 donation to the science department. However, Sherman arrives at The Ritz as Buddy with Carla. When Richmond spots him, Carla asks Buddy if he will take Sherman’s place; he does, taking all the credit of Sherman’s work. Hartley and Richmond are very impressed, and Richmond invites him to the Alumni Ball the next night. Meanwhile, Buddy picks up three beautiful women, much to Carla’s anger and disgust, who dumps him and walks out. He invites the women and many other people back to his place for the night to throw a party and sleeps with the three women.

Richmond not only fires Sherman, but gleefully tells him that Buddy will be taking his place at the Alumni Ball. Sherman sees a taunting videotape from his alter ego and decides he has had enough of Buddy, taking the decision to destroy all of the serum samples, which he does with Jason’s help. Sherman plans to set things right with Carla and get the grant from Hartley. Unfortunately, Buddy planned for this by hiding a sample of the serum in one of Sherman’s diet shake cans, which Sherman drinks, causing him to transform into Buddy again. Jason tries to stop him from going to the ball, but Buddy knocks him out with a single punch to the face and departs.

At the ball, Buddy demonstrates the effects of the serum to the audience, but Jason arrives in time and confronts Buddy, as he has found out that Buddy’s testosterone levels are at a lethally high 60,000%. Buddy plans to drink a large sum of the potion to get rid of Sherman for good; Jason knows that if he drinks it, it will kill Sherman and possibly Buddy. The two of them get into a brief fistfight, but Sherman begins to fight Buddy from within. Sherman eventually transforms into his regular self and admits his misdeeds to the shocked audience, including his parents and Carla; he says that Buddy was who he thought he and everybody else wanted him to be, and that he should accept himself for who he is. As he leaves, Carla stops him and asks why he lied; he says he did not believe that she would accept him. While they don’t initiate a romantic relationship, Sherman and Carla remain friends and share a dance together. Richmond rehires Sherman and Hartley gives the donation to Sherman because he is “a brilliant scientist and a gentleman.”


  • Eddie Murphy as Professor Sherman Klump / Buddy Love
    • Murphy also plays Papa Cletus Klump (Sherman’s father), Mama Anna Klump (Sherman’s mother), Grandma Ida Mae Jenson (Sherman’s grandmother, Anna’s mother), Ernie Klump Sr. (Sherman’s brother) and Lance Perkins, a parody of Richard Simmons
  • Jada Pinkett as Carla Purty
  • James Coburn as Harlan Hartley
  • Larry Miller as Dean Richmond
  • Dave Chappelle as Reggie Warrington
    • Chappelle reprised his role on Chris Rock’s 1997 album Roll with the New.
  • John Ales as Jason
  • Jamal Mixon as Ernie Klump Jr.
  • Montell Jordan as himself
  • Ned Luke as a construction worker


The Nutty Professor was the first Tom Shadyac film to feature outtakes over the closing credits.[citation needed] The film also has a series of scenes with Murphy and comedian Dave Chappelle who plays insult comic, Reggie Warrington. Much of their dialogue was improvised.[citation needed] Murphy was one of Chappelle’s biggest comedic influences.[4] Reggie Warrington is named after Reginald and Warrington Hudlin, brothers, and directors of one of Murphy’s previous films, Boomerang.[5]

While the film was made with the help of Jerry Lewis (he was an executive producer for both this film and the 2000 sequel The Klumps), he later recanted his position in an interview in the January 30/February 6, 2009 edition of Entertainment Weekly magazine. He was quoted as saying, “I have such respect for Eddie, but I should not have done it. What I did was perfect the first time around and all you’re going to do is diminish that perfection by letting someone else do it.”[5][6]


Critical response[edit]

The Nutty Professor has received generally positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 64% based on reviews from 55 critics.[7] Metacritic gave the film a score of 62 out of 100, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.[8]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4, calling it “a movie that’s like a thumb to the nose for everyone who said [Murphy had] lost it. He’s very good. And the movie succeeds in two different ways: it’s sweet and good-hearted, and then again it’s raucous slapstick and bathroom humor. I liked both parts.”[9] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, writing “You can feel Murphy rediscovering his joy as a performer. He rediscovers it, too, as Sherman Klump, a fellow who, much like Murphy, is on the bottom rung, desperate to reinvent himself, and — at long last — does.”[10]

Box office[edit]

The Nutty Professor was a box office success, opening with $25,411,725 and reaching a domestic sum of $128,814,019, and $145,147,000 overseas, for a total of $273,961,019 worldwide.


  • 69th Academy Awards
    • Best Makeup (Won)
  • 54th Golden Globe Awards
    • Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy – Eddie Murphy (Nominated)



A sequel, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps was released on July 28, 2000.

See also[edit]

  • Eddie Murphy filmography
  • Dr. Dolittle


  • ^ “THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (12)”. British Board of Film Classification. July 9, 1996. Retrieved November 16, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • ^ a b “The Nutty Professor (1996) (1996) – Box Office Mojo”.
  • ^ “The 69th Academy Awards (1997) Nominees and Winners”. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  • ^ “Dave Chappelle”. Inside the Actors Studio. Season 12. Episode 10. 2006-02-12. Bravo.
  • ^ a b “15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘The Nutty Professor'”. Mental Floss. January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  • ^ “Why ‘The Nutty Professor’ is still a classic after 51 years”. New York Post. June 7, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  • ^ “The Nutty Professor”. 28 June 1996.
  • ^ “The Nutty Professor”. Metacritic.
  • ^ Roger Ebert (28 June 1996). “The Nutty Professor”.
  • ^ Barry Blaustein; Jerry Lewis; Steve Oedekerk; Bill Richmond; Tom Shadyac; David Sheffield. “The Nutty Professor –”. Entertainment Weekly’s
  • External links[edit]

    • Film in the United States portal
    • Comedy portal
    • 1990s portal
    • The Nutty Professor on IMDb
    • The Nutty Professor at Box Office Mojo
    • The Nutty Professor at Rotten Tomatoes
    • The Nutty Professor at Metacritic

    Sylvester Graham

    The Reverend Sylvester Graham (July 5, 1794 – September 11, 1851) was an American Presbyterian minister and dietary reformer known for his emphasis on vegetarianism, the temperance movement, and eating whole-grain bread. His preaching
    inspired the graham flour, graham bread, and graham cracker products.[1]:29[2] Graham has been called the “Father of Vegetarianism” in America.[1]:15[3]


    • 1 Early life
    • 2 Career
      • 2.1 American Physiological Society
      • 2.2 American Vegetarian Society
    • 3 Death
    • 4 Selected works
    • 5 See also
    • 6 References
    • 7 Further reading
    • 8 External links

    Early life[edit]

    Graham was born in 1794 in Suffield, Connecticut, to a family with 17 children; his father was 70 years old when Graham was born and his mother was mentally ill. His father died when Graham was two, and he spent his childhood moving from one relative’s home to another.[1]:15 One of his relatives ran a tavern where Graham was put to work; his experience with drunkenness there led him to hate alcohol his whole life and forswear drinking, which made him an exception among his peers at the time.[1]:15 He was often sick, and missed a great deal of schooling.[1]:15 He worked as a farm hand, cleaner, and teacher before deciding on the ministry as an antidote for his poor health. He entered preparatory school at Amherst Academy in his late 20s to become a minister, as his father and grandfather had been, but was forced to leave when his schoolmates created a scandal by claiming he had improperly approached a woman.[1]:17 (Note that he did not attend Amherst College). However, while he was at Amherst Academy, his gift for oratory was first recognized.[1]:17

    Graham suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of his expulsion and moved to Little Compton, Rhode Island to recover, where he met and married a Sarah Earle, who had nursed him back to health. He studied theology privately, and in 1828, began working as an itinerant preacher at the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church in Bound Brook, New Jersey. [4]:30


    In 1830, Graham was offered a position at the Philadelphia Temperance Society and accepted it.[4]:30 However, he quit the Temperance Society after six months to focus his preaching on health.[4]:30

    Graham’s appointment and conversion to vegetarianism came as the 1829–51 cholera pandemic was breaking in Europe, and Americans were terrified that the epidemic would reach America.[4]:29–30 Accepted medical opinion at the time was that eating plenty of meat, drinking port wine, and avoiding vegetables was the best way to prevent contracting cholera.[1]:18[4]:30 People also believed that cholera was a plague sent by God to punish people.[1]:19

    The Philadelphia Temperance Society was led not by ministers, as most other temperance societies were, but by doctors who were primarily concerned about health effects of alcohol.[4]:30 Moving in that company, Graham may have met two of the other fathers of American vegetarianism: William Metcalfe, an English minister who established a vegetarian church in Philadelphia, and William A. Alcott, a Philadelphia doctor who wrote extensively about vegetarianism and wrote the first American vegetarian cookbook.[4]:31 Graham taught himself about physiology and apparently arrived at his own conclusion that meat was just as much an expression of and spur to gluttony as alcohol was, that they corrupted both the body and soul of individuals and harmed families and society.[4]:31 His belief was influenced by the book Treatise on Physiology by François-Joseph-Victor Broussais, published in Philadelphia in 1826, that claimed what people ate had enormous influence on their health.[4]:31 Graham’s interest was also captured by the books written by the German chemist, Friedrich Accum, called Treatise on Adulteration of Foods, and Culinary Poisons, in which he denounced the use of chemical additives in food and especially in bread, and Treatise on the Art of Making Good and Wholesome Bread. Wheat flour at that time was often doctored to hide odors from spoilage, to extend it, and to whiten it, and bread was made from very finely ground flour (which Graham viewed as “tortured”) and brewers yeast (used to make beer).[4]:31–32

    Like other members of the temperance movement, Graham viewed physical pleasure and especially sexual stimulation with suspicion, as things that excited lust leading to behavior that harmed individuals, families, and societies.[5] Graham was strongly influenced by the Bible and Christian theology in his own idiosyncratic way. He believed that people should eat only plants, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and believed that plague and illness were caused by living in ways that ignored natural law.[1]:21–22, 27 He urged people to remain calm, and not allow worry or lust to shake them from living rightly – perhaps one of the first people to claim that stress causes disease.[1]:19

    From these views, Graham created a theology and diet aimed at keeping individuals, families, and society pure and healthy – drinking pure water and eating a vegetarian diet anchored by bread made at home from flour coarsely ground at home so that it remained wholesome and natural, containing no added spices or other “stimulants” and a rigorous lifestyle that included sleeping on hard beds and avoiding warm baths.[4]:31–33 The regimen has been described as an early example of preventive medicine.[1]:20 The emphasis on milling and baking at home was part of his vision of America in which women remained at home and nursed their families into health and maintained them there, as his wife had done for him.[2] Graham believed that adhering to such diet would prevent people from having impure thoughts and in turn would stop masturbation (thought by Graham to be a catalyst for blindness and early death[6]:16) His piece On Self-Pollution, published in 1834, contributed to the masturbation scare in antebellum America. He believed youthful masturbation was dangerous to children’s health because of the immaturity of their reproductive organs.[6]:15, 72

    As a skilled and fiery preacher, his peculiar message, combining patriotism, theology, diet, lifestyle, and messages already prevalent from the temperance movement, captured the attention of the frightened public and outraged bakers and butchers, as well as the medical establishment.[1]:19, 21[5][2] When the cholera epidemic reached New York in 1832, people who had followed his advice appeared to thrive, and his fame exploded.[4]:29 When he published his first book in 1837, Treatise on Bread and Bread-Making, his lectures in New York and Boston that year were thronged; the Boston lecture was disrupted by a threat of riots by butchers and commercial bakers.[4]:33

    As his fame spread, “Grahamism” became a movement, and people inspired by his preaching began to develop and market graham flour, graham bread, and graham crackers.[1]:29[2] He neither invented nor endorsed any specific product, nor did he receive any money from their sale.[1]:21, 29[2] Graham influenced other Americans including Horace Greeley and John Harvey Kellogg, founder of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

    American Physiological Society[edit]

    In 1837, Colonel John Benson, Graham and William Alcott founded the American Physiological Society (APS) in Boston to promote Grahamism, which lasted just three years.[7][8] Alcott was first President of the Society.[9] After a year, the Society was reported to have had 251 members, including 93 female.[7]

    Laura J. Miller commented that the Society was “the most visible association promoting natural foods principles until the American Vegetarian Society was founded in 1850.”[10] Many of the APS members suffered from chronic disease and became vegetarian. It has been described as “likely the first exclusively vegetarian organization in the United States.”[8] It was also the first American natural hygiene organization.[8] A notable member of the APS was Mary Gove Nichols, who gave health lectures to women.[8]

    In 1837, Graham and David Cambell founded the The Graham Journal of Health and Longevity.[11] It was “designed to illustrate by facts, and sustain by reason and principles the science of human life as taught by Sylvester Graham.”[12] It was edited by Campbell, Secretary of the APR (1837-1839), five volumes were published.[9][13] In 1840, the journal merged with the Library of Health, edited by Alcott.[14][15]

    The Society should not be confused with the American Physiological Society of 1887.[16]

    American Vegetarian Society[edit]

    In 1850, Alcott, William Metcalfe, Russell Trall, and Graham founded the American Vegetarian Society in New York City[17], modeled on a similar organization established in Great Britain in 1847.[18]


    Graham died at the age of 57 at home in Northampton, Massachusetts.[4]:35 His early death was the source of criticism and speculation.[19] Historian Stephen Nissenbaum has written that Graham died “after violating his own strictures by taking liquor and meat in a last desperate attempt to recover his health.”[20]

    Russell Trall, who had visited Graham, noted that he had strayed from a strict vegetarian diet and was prescribed meat by his doctor to increase his blood circulation.[19] Trall wrote that before his death Graham regretted this decision and “fully and verily believed in the theory of vegetable diet as explained in his works.”[19]

    After his death, vegetarians distanced themselves from Grahamism.[19] However, his vegetarian message was disseminated far into the 20th century.[21]

    Food historians cite Graham as one of the earliest food faddists in America.[21][22][23]

    Selected works[edit]

    Of his numerous publications, the best known were Lectures on the Science of Human Life (Boston, 1839), of which several editions of the two-volume work were printed in the United States and sales in England were widespread, and Lectures to Young Men on Chastity.[2]

    • A lecture on epidemic diseases generally: and particularly the spasmodic cholera (1833)
    • A lecture to young men on chastity: intended also for the serious consideration of parents and guardians (1837)

    See also[edit]

    • James Caleb Jackson, the farmer, journalist, abolitionist, and doctor who invented the first manufactured breakfast cereal
    • Isaac Jennings, physician who pioneered orthopathy
    • Maximilian Bircher-Benner, the Swiss doctor who developed muesli
    • Popular Health Movement
    • Roman Meal, the later whole grain American bread company


  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Iacobbo, Karen; Iacobbo, Michael (2004). Vegetarian America : a history. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. ISBN cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • ^ a b c d e f Tompkins, K. W. (2009). “Sylvester Graham’s Imperial Dietetics”. Gastronomica. 9: 50–60. doi:10.1525/gfc.2009.9.1.50. JSTOR 10.1525/gfc.2009.9.1.50.
  • ^ Misiroglu, Gina. (2008). American Countercultures: An Encyclopedia of Nonconformists, Alternative Lifestyles, and Radical Ideas in U.S. History. Routledge. p. 737. ISBN 978-0-7656-8060-0
  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Smith, Andrew F. (2009). Eating history : 30 turning points in the making of American cuisine. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231140928.
  • ^ a b Shryock, Richard H. (January 1, 1931). “Sylvester Graham and the Popular Health Movement, 1830-1870”. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 18 (#2): 172–183. doi:10.2307/1893378. JSTOR 1893378.
  • ^ a b Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz (Ed.), Attitudes toward Sex in Antebellum America, 2006, See specific pages.
  • ^ a b “An American “Physiological” Society Of 1837″. The British Medical Journal. 2 (#4057): 757–757. January 1, 1938. JSTOR 20300989.
  • ^ a b c d Iacobbo, Karen; Iacobbo, Michael. (2004). Vegetarian America: A History. Praeger Publishing. pp. 36-37. ISBN 978-0275975197
  • ^ a b Tompkins, Kyla Wazana. (2012). Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century. New York University Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8147-7002-3
  • ^ Miller, Laura J. (2017). Building Nature’s Market: The Business and Politics of Natural Foods. University of Chicago Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-226-50123-9
  • ^ Cayleff, Susan E. (2016). Nature’s Path: A History of Naturopathic Healing in America. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-4214-1903-9
  • ^ Fletcher, Robert Samuel. (1971). A History of Oberlin College: From its Foundation Through the Civil War Volume 1. Arno Press. p. 319
  • ^ Wolfe, Richard J. (2001). Tarnished Idol: William Thomas Green Morton and the Introduction of Surgical Anesthesia: A Chronicle of the Ether Controversy. Norman Publishing. p. 514. ISBN 0-930405-81-1 Note: David Cambell has also been referred to as David Campbell.
  • ^ Alcott, William. (1839). The New Arrangement. The Graham Journal of Health and Longevity 3 (#22): 355. “We barely gave notice in our last that the Graham Journal and Library of Health were to be united in one, after the first of January, 1840.”
  • ^ Shprintzen, Adam D. (2013). The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921. University of North Carolina Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-4696-0891-4
  • ^ Lazar, J. W. (2017). American neurophysiology and two nineteenth-century American Physiological Societies. J Hist Neurosci 26 (#2): 154-168.
  • ^ The American Vegetarian Society, International Vegetarian Union website on American vegetarian history
  • ^ Avey, Tori (January 28, 2014). “From Pythagorean to Pescatarian – The Evolution of Vegetarianism”. PBS Food: The History Kitchen. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  • ^ a b c d Shprintzen, Adam D. (2013). The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 73-76. ISBN 978-1-4696-0891-4
  • ^ Nissenbaum, Stephen. (1980). Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America: Sylvester Graham and Health Reform. Greenwood Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0313214158
  • ^ a b Gratzer, Walter. (2005). Terrors of the Table: The Curious History of Nutrition. Oxford University Press. pp. 192-197. ISBN 0-19-280661-0
  • ^ Ashraf, Hea-Ran L. Diets, Fad. In Andrew F. Smith The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford University Press. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-19-530796-2
  • ^ Barrett, Stephen; Herbert, Victor. (1994). The Vitamin Pushers: How the “Health Food” Industry Is Selling Americans a Bill of Goods. pp. 321-322. ISBN 0-87975-909-7
  • Further reading[edit]

    .mw-parser-output .refbegin{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul{list-style-type:none;margin-left:0}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>dd{margin-left:0;padding-left:3.2em;text-indent:-3.2em;list-style:none}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-100{font-size:100%}

    • Smith, Andrew F. Ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and drink in America. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, (2004).
    • Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Graham, Sylvester”. Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 318.
    • Burrows, Edwin G. and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, (1999).
    • “Recent Deaths”; New York Daily Times; September 18, 1851; page 2. (Accessed from The New York Times (1851–2003), ProQuest Historical Newspapers, September 19, 2006)
    • Nissenbaum, Stephen, Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America: Sylvester Graham and Health Reform. Praeger, (1980).
    • Sokolow, Jayme A. Eros and Modernization: Sylvester Graham, Health Reform, and the Origins of Victorian Sexuality in America. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, (1983).

    External links[edit]

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