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A personal experience of Chernobyl nuclear radiation

FT 15th May 2018 ,I wish I had known Serhii Plokhy was writing this book. I would have told
him why the Chernobyl disaster is an indelible part of my life. When the
nuclear plant’s fourth reactor exploded in the early hours of Saturday,
April 26 1986, I was 130km away in Kiev. A Moscow-based reporter for
Reuters news agency, I was spending the weekend in the Ukrainian capital
with a friend who taught at Kiev university under a British Council
programme.

Like almost all the city’s 2.5m residents, we knew nothing about
the accident, the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Until the evening of
Monday April 28, the Kremlin held to its unforgivable decision to keep
Soviet citizens and the world in complete darkness. All that time,
radiation was spreading far beyond the stricken reactor. For the first few
days, the strongest winds blew to the north-west, so anyone in Kiev – which
is south of Chernobyl – got off relatively lightly.

However, when I returned to Moscow and underwent a radiation check at the US embassy, the
Geiger counter went beep-beep-beep, registering abnormal levels on my
clothes. Before my eyes an embassy official tossed my jeans into an
incinerator. Plokhy, a Harvard professor of Ukrainian background, is
ideally placed to tell the harrowing story of Chernobyl. He is the first
western-based historian to make extensive use of Chernobyl-related material
in Communist party, government and, especially, KGB security police
archives that became available after Ukraine’s 2014 pro-democracy
revolution.
https://www.ft.com/content/f7101e6a-4eeb-11e8-9471-a083af05aea7

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May 16, 2018 - Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Ukraine

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