The tragic catastrophe at the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant in April 1986 coincidented with the beginning of thePerstroika, initiated by Gorbachev to significantly improve the political performance of the Soviet system. The general development of science & technology in the Soviet Union and especially the establishment of the nuclear complex in that country have both been marked by a peculiar scientific and technological culture. This culture of unlimited optimism and unreflected confidence in the benefits of modern science was strongly supported by the communist ideology. This "heroic-Soviet-type" image of science was conveyed "to the masses" in the Soviet media.

The Chernobyl accident turned out to have severe repercussions on the internal Soviet life including the perceived image of Soviet science. In the long run the Chernobyl disaster triggered a dramatic change in the scientific and technological culture in the late USSR and in todays successor republic, most notably in Russia. The paper will demonstrate and analyze the changes in Soviet scientific & nuclear culture as being reflected in the major Soviet newspapers and journals of the post Chernobyl Perestroika-era.

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Nuclear power in the Soviet press after chernobyl. Changing scientific culture:Transforming scientific journalism

Gert-Rüdiger Wegmarshaus   Europa-Universitaet Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

The tragic catastrophe at the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant in April 1986 coincidented with the beginning of thePerstroika, initiated by Gorbachev to significantly improve the political performance of the Soviet system. The general development of science & technology in the Soviet Union and especially the establishment of the nuclear complex in that country have both been marked by a peculiar scientific and technological culture. This culture of unlimited optimism and unreflected confidence in the benefits of modern science was strongly supported by the communist ideology. This "heroic-Soviet-type" image of science was conveyed "to the masses" in the Soviet media.

The Chernobyl accident turned out to have severe repercussions on the internal Soviet life including the perceived image of Soviet science. In the long run the Chernobyl disaster triggered a dramatic change in the scientific and technological culture in the late USSR and in todays successor republic, most notably in Russia. The paper will demonstrate and analyze the changes in Soviet scientific & nuclear culture as being reflected in the major Soviet newspapers and journals of the post Chernobyl Perestroika-era.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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