IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


The Chernobyl Plume : Modelling atmospheric dispersion of caesium-137 across Europe following the Chernobyl accident

In 2005, IRSN produced a simulation of the path travelled across Europe by the radioactive cloud folowing the Chernobyl accident.

This simulation was produced using a new generation of operational atmospheric dispersion models developed for use in case of nuclear emergency. To qualify this new long-distance dispersion model, IRSN experts applied it to the atmospheric release of caesium-137 caused by the Chernobyl accident, based on a reconstruction of the meteorological conditions observed in Europe in the days following the accident. The model calculated the distribution of air contamination at ground level on a European scale at 15-minute intervals, from 26th April to 10th May 1986. The computed results were then compared with actual measurements taken throughout Europe over the same period, showing satisfactory agreement between calculations and measured data.

This simulation is now proposed in a commented version (french voice over with english subtitles) with explains the path of the radioactive cloud over Europe between 26th April and 6th May 1986.

Discover the path travelled by the radioactive cloud in the model-generated image depicting caesium-137 activity concentration over Europe between 26th April and 6th May 1986 :


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