Recently in Chernobyl Category

I am excited to announce that my interview with former Chernobyl liquidator Sergei B. has been published by Greenhaven Press in David Nelson's new book, Perspectives on Modern World History: Chernobyl.

The Perspectives on Modern World History series provides basic historical information on significant events in modern world history. Each book presents controversies surrounding a specific event along with first-hand narratives.

Currently available from Amazon.com, Perspectives on Modern World History: Chernobyl is a compilation of essays and narratives/interviews about the Chernobyl disaster, the subsequent clean up efforts and aftermath of the world's worst nuclear accident.

In addition to my interview, the book contains contributions from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a number of familiar Chernobyl book authors and people connected with Chernobyl charities, including:

  • Svetlana Alexeivich - author of Voices from Chernobyl
  • Glenn Alan Cheney - author of Journey to Chernobyl and Chernobyl: The Ongoing Story of the World's Deadliest Nuclear Disaster
  • David R. Marples - author of The Social Impact of the Chernobyl Disaster
  • Grigori Medvedev - author of The Truth About Chernobyl
  • Mary Mycio - author of Wormwood Forest
  • Adi Roche - founder of Chernobyl Children's Project International
  • Lyubov Sirota - my dear friend, poet and former Pripyat resident
The book's content includes:

  • Annotated table of contents
  • Introduction to the topic
  • A world map
  • Three chapters containing essays focusing on general background information, multinational perspectives and first-person narratives
  • Full-color photographs, charts, maps and other illustrations
  • Sidebars highlighting related topics
  • Glossary of key terms, as appropriate
  • Chronology
  • Bibliography of books, periodicals and Web sites
  • Index
I'm still waiting to get my contributor's complementary copy, but have seen the complete table of contents and it appears to be a very interesting book. I'll post a review after I get the chance to read it.

ISBN 13: 9780737745559
ISBN 10: 073774555X

Chernobyl Exhibit in Moscow - "Wanting Remembrance"

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A new exhibit about Chernobyl has opened in Moscow. ХОТИМ, ЧТОБЫ ПОМНИЛИ (Wanting Rememberance) includes a selection of documentary photographs and video installations showing life in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone before and after the 1986 accident at the V.I. Lenin Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The exhibit includes work from five Ukrainian photographers and filmmakers, three Russian artists and my friend, Michael Forster Rothbart. The show has been organized by my friends at the public project Pripyat.com and coincides with the annual memorial day for Chernobyl liquidators (Veterans Day) on December 14.

"Wanting Remembrance" officially opens on December 2, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. The exhibit runs through December 13 in Gallery Creativity, on Taganskaya Street in Moscow.  See the official "Wanting Remembrance" exhibit website for more details( in Russian).

Other events include:

  • Daily - Screenings of films by Rollan Sergienko, the director of many films about Chernobyl
  • December 6, 2:00 p.m. - Roundtable discussion featuring former Pripyat residents
  • December 12, 3:00 p.m. - Presentation about the current status and future of Chernobyl's New Safe Confinement structure
  • December 13, 12:00 p.m. - Presentation: Understanding Radiation A to Z

A list of highlights from the exhibit schedule is available on the Pripyat.com website.

According to Korrespondent.net and the Unian News Agency, Forbes magazine has named the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant as the world's most exotic place for tourism.

Forbes mentions that 23 years after the Chernobyl accident, some companies now offer tours of the area, including Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Plant, Pripyat and the Red Forest. I wonder if the Forbes writers know that Chernobyl tours have been occurring for at least 8-10 years?

The Korrespondent article also mentioned Pripyat.com has seen a recent decrease in the number of people visiting Chernobyl due to the H1N1 swine flu crisis in Ukraine.

Video: Exploring the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

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My friend Sergey has posted a new video showing exploration of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, showing some abandoned villages. In this short video, you can definitely get a feel for the eerie silence that permeates the Zone.


Due to the widespread flu epidemic that is currently sweeping across Ukraine, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Administration has started requiring all visitors to bring with them a protective mask and doctor's medical certificate.

The medical certificate must state that the person is completely healthy and be completed and signed by a physician. The Zone Administration will accept certificates from foreign doctors.

People who fail to bring both a protective mask (cloth masks are fine) and medical certificate will not be allowed to enter the Exclusion Zone. I assume tour drivers will verify travelers have both items before leaving Kyiv.

This policy is expected to remain in effect for the duration of Ukraine's flu epidemic.
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant General Director Igor Gramotkin has requested all staff at the facility to take a serious and responsible attitude toward the H1N1 influenza epidemic that is spreading throughout Ukraine.

All employees are expected to make every effort to avoid the spread of infection within their families and team members at the plant. The Chernobyl Plant administration has also ordered appropriate sanitary measures be taken at the facility to protect the health of all employees.

Despite a shortage of funds, management has purchased specialized, high-strength disinfectants that are used for the treatment of surfaces in public places. Disinfectants have also been used to clean all the electric trains that transport workers to and from their homes in Slavutych, as well as on buses that employees use between the train and the plant buildings.

After Chernobyl Web Exhibit

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After Chernobyl posterRegular readers of Chernobyl and Eastern Europe may remember a series of posts I wrote last April about a new photo exhibit entitled Inside Chernobyl: life goes on by my friend Michael Forster Rothbart.

Inside Chernobyl: life goes on
Inside Chernobyl Photo Exhibit

This exhibit was displayed for two weeks in Kyiv's Shevchenko Park and later in Slavutych, the city that replaced Pripyat as home for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers.

Rothbart has since returned to the United States after completing a 10-month Fulbright fellowship, in which he spent time documenting life in Slavutych and villages near the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. He has created a second exhibit titled After Chernobyl, which details the daily lives of Chernobylites including samosels, former Zone residents and liquidators. This exhibit has recently been showing at the University of Wisconsin and is scheduled for other showings in the future.

If you are not able to see the exhibit in Wisconsin and are interested in seeing part of this show, Rothbart has just released a preliminary beta version of his new After Chernobyl web exhibit. This unique site is more than just a web gallery. It has been designed as a place where visitors can participate in meaningful discussions about the photographs by leaving either text or audio comments on each page.

This website utilizes VoiceThread to create a collaborative, multimedia slide show. It is different than any other Chernobyl site you have seen on the web and definitely worth your time. Check it out when you get a chance.

Rothbart is planning a second, much larger web exhibit for 2010. Upcoming shows of his Chernobyl photo exhibits are currently scheduled for:

  • Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Art, Kharkiv, Ukraine - Autumn 2009
  • National Chernobyl Museum, Kyiv, Ukraine - Autumn 2009
  • Washington, D.C. - Spring 2010 (Details to come)


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is currently conducting a three-day seminar in Kyiv, Ukraine to discuss problems related to the decommissioning of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant's cooling pond.

The seminar, which was organized at the request of Chernobyl Plant management, includes experts from the United States, France and IAEA with expertise in the treatment of radioactively contaminated ecosystems. A date for decommissioning the cooling pond has yet to be announced.

The Chernobyl cooling pond is an artificial body of water that was created to cool the heat exchangers of four nuclear reactor units at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. As a result of the Chernobyl accident, the cooling pond was exposed to extremely high levels of contamination. The reservoir area has an approximate volume of 8.5 square miles, or 5,297,199,985 cubic feet.

The cooling pond is also home to a large number of huge catfish. It is not known what will eventually be done with the catfish when the reservoir is fully decommissioned.

This video shows a large number of catfish that live in the cooling pond at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. In the video, you can also see an albino catfish.

These catfish are huge, but their size has nothing to do with radiation or contamination within the cooling pond. They are large because there are no predators in the pond and they eat very well.

A popular local tradition during many trips to Chernobyl is to stop at the small store/bar in Chernobyl town and purchase loaves of bread. After arriving at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, visitors can step onto a small bridge, break off large chunks of bread and feed the catfish.

For more information about wildlife in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, visit http://www.chornobyl.in.ua



The following short video (in Russian) discusses plant mutations in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone's Red Forest.

The Red Forest was an area decimated by radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. It is called the Red Forest because of the ginger-brown color of the pine trees after they died following exposure to high amounts of radiation. During cleanup operations, the Red Forest was completely bulldozed and buried in trenches.

In the past 23 years, a new pine forest has emerged, but remains highly contaminated. My friend Sergey has posted more information about the current status of the Red Forest in English at http://www.chornobyl.in.ua/en/red_forest.htm and another article in Russian at http://www.chornobyl.in.ua/red_forest_today.htm




Photo courtesy of www.chornobyl.in.ua