Energy and Now, the Political Fallout

History's worst nuclear accident creates a new election issue

$ Chernobyl. In little more than a month, the name of a once obscure Soviet plant has become a global household word, a new entry on the list of late-20th century technological disasters and a rallying cry for all those who fear and oppose nuclear power. The April 26 explosion and fire that destroyed reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl plant in the Ukraine spread radioactive fallout around much of the world. Now the accident is transforming the East-West political climate and perhaps altering diplomatic relations between the U.S. and its European allies.

In the Netherlands last week, nuclear questions played...