Kim Willsher reported on the world’s worst nuclear disaster from the Soviet Union. HBO’s TV version only scratches the surface, she says. The Chernobyl miniseries is a compelling account of how the disaster unfolded, based largely on the testimony of those present, most of whom died soon afterwards. It rings true but only scratches the surface of another, more cruel reality– that, in their desperation to save face, the Soviets were willing to sacrifice any number of men, women and children. Even as radiation spewed out of the plant from the burning reactor core, local people told John and me how they had seen Communist apparatchiks in the area spirit their families to safety in Moscow while the residents were being urged to carry on as if nothing had happened. In Pripyat, the satellite city built for Chernobyl workers, windows were left open, children played outside, and gardeners dug their allotments.
Observer 16th June 2019 read more »
Chernobyl star Alex Ferns revealed that his family were personally affected by the nuclear disaster which is believed to have killed thousands. Ferns believes that his uncle, Robert Stephenson, 47, died from cancer caused by rain that had been ‘poisoned’ with radiation from the nuclear disaster. He said Mr Stephenson told family and friends that he believed Chernobyl was the cause of his cancer after he was forced to carry on working in the rain by his boss. Mr Stephenson worked for the Scottish Water Board in the Killearn area in Scotland in 1986, when a health warning was issued advising people to avoid drinking rain water when radiation was discovered.
Daily Mail 16th June 2019 read more »
Mirror 16th June 2019 read more »
Heroic Chernobyl ‘suicide diver’ who saved Europe from nuclear devastation is still alive today.
Wales Online 16th June 2019 read more »
A Burton woman who grew up close to the Chernobyl nuclear plant has told how families knew little about the disaster and where told ‘everything was fine’ by the authorities. While she was at school, youngsters were given a series of tablets but were never told what they were for; only later did she learn they were to deal with radiation caused when a reactor exploded at the nuclear plant in 1986. Elina Oliferuk, 32, was born in October 1986, in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, just six months after the catastrophic nuclear accident near the city of Pripyat. Estimates of the number of people who died due to Chernobyl range from 4,000 to 27,000 according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, although Greenpeace estimates that between 93,000 and 200,000 people died as a result of the disaster.
Derby Telegraph 16th June 2019 read more »
Belarus’s Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich rolled her eyes when the creators of Chernobyl approached her for permission to use material from her book Voices From Chernobyl for the hit HBO miniseries. “I told my agent, ‘Galya, they’re going to make another film…’ I was far from convinced. The only thing that convinced me, maybe, was the fee,” Alexievich explained in a recent interview with RFE/RL’s Belarusian Service. However, the five-part miniseries about the tragic accident at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant has raked in rave reviews from critics and viewers alike, and Alexievich is no exception. “It really impressed me. It is a very strong film. There is something there in the aesthetics that touches the modern consciousness. There is a dose of fear. There is reasoning. There is beauty. That is something that has always worried me about evil, when it’s not out in the open, when so much is confusing.” And she said that her fellow Belarusians, hard hit by the nuclear fallout scattered into the air when Reactor No. 4 exploded on April 26, 1986, have now had their eyes pried open to the real scale of the tragedy, Alexievich said.
Radio Free Europe 13th June 2019 read more »