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This work reports on how regions, countries and Europe as a continent responded to the Chernobyl accident. The responses of society to traumatic disasters which change the whole pattern of life on a continent for an extended time period are discussed. The authors argue that it is important to talk about Chernobyl; that this accident should not become a taboo subject, an isolated freak occurrence that should never have happened and that can be ignored; that such "social amnesia" is a risky outcome of the crisis. They believe, that to reduce this risk, efforts should be made to ask important questions, for example, "Can we realise all the implications of the accident at Chernobyl?", and, "Can we be better prepared for the next occurrence?" This study is a collaborative initiative by a group of scientists from several European countries.