London, United Kingdom, April 09, 2016 --(PR.com
Thirty years ago, on the 26th of April 1986, a catastrophic nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine, when large quantities of radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere and spread over vast swathes of western USSR and Europe. Though clean-up teams went to enormous lengths to prevent the worst from happening, in terms of cost and casualties it was nonetheless the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, comparable in scale to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.
The real authors of this book are the victims of the disaster at Chernobyl that occurred on 26th April 1986. Wladimir Tchertkoff recorded their voices in the villages of northern Ukraine and in the forests in the south of Belarus. They are the millions of peasant farmers who consume food containing caesium 137 on a daily basis. Then there are the “liquidators”, the unsung heroes of Europe who were sacrificed in order to extinguish the fire at the power station. And finally there are the doctors and physicists, at least those few who have not given in to the will of the nuclear lobby.
This book also tells the story of the struggle undertaken by two Belarusian scientists who risked their careers, their health and their personal safety to come to the aid of the contaminated populations. Forced into the role of dissidents by the refusal of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to recognise the harmful effects of low dose radiation on health, the physicist Vassili Nesterenko and the doctor and pathologist Yury Bandazhevsky were persecuted in their own country as a result of their opposition to the official dogma. Vassili Nesterenko died in 2008, having suffered innumerable health problems following his exposure to high levels of radiation in April 1986, when he flew over the exploded reactor in a helicopter.
This book was first published in 2006 in France. Despite the biblical proportions of a disaster that could have rendered the whole of Europe uninhabitable, the world has still not learnt its lesson. The real health effects of the accident at Chernobyl continue to be covered up by governments, by the nuclear industry and by the international institutions that support them. This cover-up has made it a certainty that sooner or later, another catastrophe will occur. In 2011, following an earthquake and tsunami, three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant experienced a nuclear meltdown. The health effects there are only just beginning to make themselves felt.
About the Author:
A child of the first wave of emigration from Russia, Tchertkoff was born in 1935 in the former Yugoslavia. At the end of the Second World War, the Tchertkoffs moved to France and settled in the outskirts of Paris. Wladimir received French schooling in addition to his Russian education, and then obtained a classical education at the Sorbonne.
Over the course of more than 30 years of collaboration with the Italian TV company RAI, then with the Italian-language Swiss TV channel TSI in the southern canton of Tessin, Tchertkoff produced more than 70 investigative films, taking a particular interest in describing and analysing power struggles in society.
In 1990, TSI (a Swiss television company) sent him for the first time to document the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident. He knew very little about nuclear physics, radioactivity or the nuclear industry, but what he learnt on that first visit was to change him forever. As a Russian speaker, he was able to avoid state-run media tours, and his team chose instead to visit places and people who provided him with first-hand evidence of the accident itself, the Soviet Union government’s response, the response of the international nuclear lobby, and perhaps most painfully of all, the effects on the health of the people.
Following this first visit, Tchertkoff travelled to the areas around Chernobyl many times. He filmed over two hundred hours of footage, made seven documentaries about Chernobyl and wrote “The Crime of Chernobyl - the Nuclear Gulag”, written in French and published in 2006 by Actes SUD.
Title: "The Crime of Chernobyl: The Nuclear Gulag"
Author: Wladimir Tchertkoff
Publisher: Glagoslav Publications
Extent: 632 pages
Format: paperback, hardback, e-book
Review copies are available upon request.