The nuclear accident at the Chernobyl plant in 1986 is described and a summary of its immediate effects on people and the environment outlined. Then there is a summary of the important parts of the literature on diseases and deaths resulting from radiation and mortalities to date and the way mortality data became increasingly conservative over the years is discussed. Today, there is still uncertainty about future mortalities dues to long latency periods for many cancers however cancer deaths in Chernobyl affected regions are expected to be similar to non-Chernobyl controls. The major literature on environmental effects on wild species, forests, water and agricultural land are then reported with a brief discussion of remediation work and of current trends. Finally, contemporary perceptions of the Chernobyl accident are described in the context of popular anti-nuclear sentiment that prevailed in 1986, the immense publicity surrounding the accident and the natural tendency of people to exaggerate prospects of unlikely, yet extreme, events.