The “Chernobyl Syndrome” in U.S. nuclear fiction

Toward risk communication parameters of “nuclear phobia”

Authored by: Inna Sukhenko

Routledge Handbook of Ecocriticism and Environmental Communication

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138053137
eBook ISBN: 9781315167343
Adobe ISBN:


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Researching the literary dimensions of the “Chernobyl” narrative in writing practices about the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion gives an opportunity to distinguish the local and global features of the “Chernobyl Syndrome” in post-Cold-War societies. The “Chernobyl Syndrome” (nuclear phobia, “nuclear energy” ignorance, the rejection of nuclear studies, health problem aftermath, forceful resettlement, etc.) is studied here through the risk communication parameters (Fahlquist and Roeser 2015) in US nuclear fiction. The analysis focuses on the “Chernobyl Syndrome” in US nuclear fiction (Pohl’s Chernobyl (1988), White’s Radiant Girl (2008), and Stelmach’s The Boy from Reactor 4 (2013)), depicting the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion and its aftermath. Relying upon such concepts as “hyber object frame” (Morton 2013), “intergenerational memory” studies (Lindsey 2014), and “literary energy narrative” studies (Goodbody 2018), the chapter aims to contribute to our understanding of “nuclear communication” aspects of the “Chernobyl Syndrome.”

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