A child's gas mask and a shoe are seen at a kindergarten in the abandoned city of Prypiat near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, April 4, 2011.
Gleb Garanich / Reuters

In the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster, most of the lessons being learned by the scientific community and governments are about the technical, radiological, environmental and medical consequences of that tragic event. The vast literature on the subject deals al-most exclusively with these technical issues. Although these aspects are significant, broader social and psychological factors greatly contributed to the catastrophe. These cultural issues were the fundamental cause of the Chernobyl accident.

From its inception the Soviet nuclear effort, aimed primarily at making an atomic bomb, was carried out with utter disregard for human life. Most, if not

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