For the almost 60 years that nuclear power has been used, three large-scale accidents with significant radioactive releases into the environment have occurred in the USSR and Russia. These include the accident at the industrial site of the Mayak facility in the South Urals in 1957, the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and the much less significant radiation incident at the Siberian chemical complex (Tomsk-7) in 1993. Apart from these, a radiation emergency developed in the South Urals during 1949–1952 due to discharges of liquid radioactive waste from the Mayak facility into the Techa River. Owing to this experience with these accidents, plenty of vital lessons have been learnt, including those concerning the consequences for the community. Socioeconomic and psychological aspects of past accidents have been investigated far less than radiological ones, though, and no serious scientific research has been conducted with regard to them. Nevertheless, it is possible to assert that the economic damage associated with public response to radioactive contamination is always of a much greater scale than the losses from contamination itself and the intervention costs. Let us consider the experience of the above-mentioned accidents from this standpoint.
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