Remembering Chornobyl

Chornobyl exploded

In 2018, host Libbe HaLevy recorded a special edition of Nuclear Hotseat, focused on the aftermath of the April 26, 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster. This week, the episode is being replayed. Sadly, none of this information goes out of date. The program featured:

  • Bonnie Kouneva, a 15-year-old living in Communist Bulgaria when the Chornobyl disaster began, but no one knew about it because the Soviet Union said nothing to its people.  On May 1, May Day, only five days after it began, Bulgarian citizens were “encouraged” by the Soviet hierarchy to attend all-day celebrations of the communist state – outdoors, in the rain – at the exact time the worst of Chornobyl’s radiation was directly overhead. Here, she paints the picture of the impact of that radiation rainout and lets us know the result of this devastating experience on her life.
  • Dr. Timothy Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist and faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Since 1999, Professor Mousseau and his collaborators have explored the ecological, genetic and evolutionary consequences of low-dose radiation in populations of plants, animals and people inhabiting the Chornobyl region of Ukraine and Belarus.
  • The late Dr. Janette Sherman edited the the English translation of the groundbreaking work, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment by Alexei Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko. Dr. Sherman and I spoke about this book for NH #97 on April 23, 2013. She passed away on November 20, 2019.
  • Dr. Alexei Yablokov was environmental advisor to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Gorbachev administration, as well as a co-founder of Greenpeace, Russia.  His book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, compiled and translated into English more than 5,000 separate scientific reports on Chornobylthat completely contradict the World Health Organization’s report, which undermined the seriousness of the accident.  Dr. Yablakov died in January, 2017.
    Click on the title to receive a free pdf of the entire book.
  • Ryuichi Hirokawa was the first non-Soviet photojournalist to document the Chornobyl disaster. The website on his humanitarian aid work with the children of Fukushima, based upon his experiences at Chornobyl, is at:


Support Beyond Nuclear

Help to ensure a safer, greener and more just world for all