Nadezhda Kutepova was born in Soviet Russia, in a city that didn’t have a name. She grew up believing that her father made sweet wrappers at a local factory. But years after his death from cancer, she learned the truth: he had worked at a secret nuclear plant that the city was built to support. Years of lax safety regulations and a significant accident in 1957 had exposed both the plant’s workers and citizens in the surrounding areas to dangerous levels of radiation, resulting in devastating health problems, even sometimes for multiple generations. In 1999 Nadezhda decided to defy the culture of secrecy, and formed a charity, Planet of Hopes, to fight for those affected by the plant. She won some notable victories in court, but faced backlash from the Russian state and media, as well as from some inside her own community. In 2015 she felt forced to flee to Paris, though she hopes to return one day to resume the legal fight. She spoke to Jo Fidgen.
BBC 29th Jan 2020 read more »