The USSR was responsible for Chernobyl disaster and with the cold war still running, it was a candy for the western media.
In case of the Bhopal disaster, an american owned company was to blame and happened in a non threathening third world country. No news for western media.
I believe that is because conceptually, radiation is such a foreign concept to people. Who can blame them, they only hear it in the context of danger (for example, when getting an x-ray) or catastrophe (Chernobyl). But they'll happily eat a banana.
Keep in mind that normal fossil fueled power plants are killing about 4.2 million people per year via air pollution, which is also largely invisible. I don't quite understand why radiation killing up to 4000 freaks people out so much more vs. air pollution killing 4.2 million/year.
The crazy thing is that even if it was 90,000, nuclear wouldn't change much in how safe it is relative to other energy sources. Again, Banqiao dam killed 230,000 and fossil kills 4,200,000 every single year from air pollution.
Interestingly, climate change and Chernobyl health effects have a lot of parallels. They've both been broadly studied by various teams of scientists. Society has turned to using large internationally-respected UN and WHO-organized group of experts to deal with the these kinds of questions. For Chernobyl, this group is called UNSCEAR . For climate change it's called the IPCC .
In both Chernobyl and Climate change, there are people who passionately disagree with the international UN teams of scientists. In climate change, we call them climate-change deniers. In Chernobyl, we call them Greenpeace. In the name of the scientific method, it's worth listening to what these people have to say and testing some hypotheses. If the hypotheses turn out to be hard to support, we begin to move on with a mainstream consensus.
The odd thing is that these groups of people (climate change deniers and Greenpeace) have very little else in common.
Huge amounts of radioactive krypton gas were "vented", and, being much heavier than air, it all ran downhill and pooled invisibly at the nearest dam where, conveniently, only poor people lived. No effort was expended to warn or evacuate them, or to catalog the deadly maladies they suffered in their thousands afterward.
To this day it is easy to find people insisting in all earnestness that TMI didn't kill anybody. They are never interested in discussing the gassing of the downstream population.
Here's a 1984 study saying the dose from Krypton (vented years after the accident) was insignificant compared to the initial accident . Where are you getting your info?
Regarding no one being warned... again, where are you getting this info? It looks like they were warned by the Washington Post .
But krypton gas is 3x as dense as air. Xenon is 5x. They don't mix eagerly with air, but run downhill more like a (fluffy) liquid. Riding above the water, they run freely over low obstacles to water flow, and spread out far beyond the water's edge. These gases would have run down the Susquehanna River and spread out in the bottom lands along it.
The paper cited in  is extremely guarded in its estimates of exposure to Kr radioisotopes, particularly concerning the more active ones like Kr87, 88, and 79. They note that helicopter sampling would produce unreliable measures, and the first measurements of any kind did not occur until 2 days after the incident, when the most active would have largely decayed, and (anyway) run downstream.
The peer-reviewed "A reevaluation of cancer incidence near ..." by Wing et al. ( https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/ehp9710552 ) concludes that increased incidence of cancer around the plant is not consistent with published estimates of releases.
Evacuation was not suggested until two days after the event, and few did, as there were numerous assurances that it was safely contained.
Disingenuous disavowals of harm no not increase credibility.
> it all ran downhill and pooled invisibly at the nearest dam where, conveniently, only poor people lived
There's also a pretty good critique of the paper you cited here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1469856/pdf/env...
Mind you, I wonder if anyone actually explicitly decided not to collect the relevant statistics or whether facts like that were simply ignored by Soviet statisticians if they thought they might give "wrong" answer - there being some history in that area with Stalin and statisticians:
It's not enough that the engineers know what they're doing, if it's a clueless MBA making the policy decisions, no? Especially when they're chasing a bonus, and know they have full legal immunity if they kill people.
The man in the video, Jacques Servin, was fired from Maxis after adding an easter egg to SimCopter where groups of shirtless men appeared kissing each other on certain dates.
This book covers Business in Bhopal as well as a variety of other design related disasters (Therac-25) etc.
Not a bad read.
Our family was one of the lucky one that survived with no injuries. It was a cold night and my mother decided to close the windows because she had an itchy throat. My mother suspects the itchy throat was probably the gas (can't say for sure if it is).
My grandfather recalls the next day, when went was out to buy milk in the early morning, having no clue as to what had happened the night before. There were dead animals all over the street, and birds were just falling out of the sky. Several of my grandfather's neighbors died, homeless living on the streets and on train and bus stations were dead.
While its pretty clear that UCIL was very very negligent in plant maintenance, training and operations - its not abundantly clear that any of these were the proximate cause of the disaster - but rather contributory factors (which greatly enhanced the death toll) - its also somewhat unclear exactly how the water ended up in the MIC tank - as subsequent testing was unable to reproduce the condition that set off the disaster. The wikipedia page speculates that it was sabotage, which from my perspective does seem somewhat likely.
One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread yet is that the training for workers at the time of the accident was a small fraction of that originally intended for workers at the plant, and the reason for this was a financial decision taken by plant management under pressure from Union Carbide, not because the training wasn't needed.
A probable cause of the incident was water left in pipes by a worker, ordered by a novice supervisor, washing out a pipe; a process that was prohibited by plant rules. Extensive and repeated training imprints processes & rules into people's minds. If that action was the cause then with better training, both worker and supervisor would have known not to do this.
So 'maybe it was sabotage' seems corporate blame shifting. It was somewhat unclear exactly how anything in there happened. That was their problem. It was only a matter of time before an accident happened.
But even then responsibility is not cause, and for me asan engineer I’m more interested in cause.
Wikipedia, unfortunately, can't be trusted. There are companies tasked with bending the truth and inventing doubt about anything negative for any big corporations.
And if you buy a company, you own everything, including the nasty parts of its history. I might believe that nobody from the new corporation was directly responsible for bhopal. But they knew what they were buying.
Yes Union Carbide were criminally negligent, but justice and truth must be respected, regardless of how much people love stories about evil corporations.
50% of the plant was owned by Indian banks and the Government, and Indian courts jailed 7 Indian nationals for various failings related to this. Which country exactly are you expecting is meant to be picking up the slack here?
> in 1987, the Indian government summoned Anderson, eight other executives and two company affiliates with homicide charges to appear in Indian court. In response, Union Carbide said the company is not under Indian jurisdiction.
Union Carbide was an American company that happened to operate in India. Indian government does need help from the American government to police an American company.
I just wish that, if American decline was a source of such joy for them, that they would do us the courtesy of not agitating for more work visas and American residency permits....
Union carbide is now owned by Dow Chemicals. Dow chemicals itself notorious for being one of the most toxic producing company on planet.
Even though there is great awareness in millenials about climate change, people has to understand earth as whole organism. To fix nature we must have to eliminate such chemical companies along with nukes.
Once you eliminate the chemical companies running the Haber-Bosch process, you can also dispose of the nukes by using them to put starving billions out of misery.
Humans are constantly exposed to low levels of background radiation, and surprisingly enough, we show very few negative effects from low levels of exposure even beyond that.
People are much more scared of radiation than they should be.
I think for perspective you should consider the single worst nuclear incident in the history of the world, Chernobyl, over the full course of time, will have caused 4000 deaths. Meanwhile, the worst hydro incident, the Bangqiao Dam  failure led to 230,000 deaths. 57.5X more deaths, and indelibly changed the landscape. Yet nobody seems to have a problem with hydro. Fear of nuclear is irrational. Respect it, don't fear it.