On 26 April 1986, the international nuclear community experienced a dramatic "wake‐up call" when the reactor core of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, situated in the former Ukrainian Republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, melted down.
Due to the large volume of radioactive elements which were released into the atmosphere and spread around the globe, particularly across the northern hemisphere, the accident has been categorised as "by far the most devastating in the history of nuclear power".1
The incident served to dramatically and vividly remind the world of the potentially devastating national and transboundary consequences which may follow a nuclear accident, and it dispelled the myth that nuclear incidents create predominantly national safety risks. Suddenly all
countries, even those without nuclear power capacity or situated in relative geographic isolation from nuclear sites, were forced to realise the risks that could be thrust upon them by a nuclear accident, even one occurring in a far distant state. Chernobyl demonstrated
that despite the stationary nature of such plants, thanks to global wind currents external damage could be considerable.