Allen Lane imprint Penguin Books 2019
The shocking truth about Chernobyl is how few people were killed or made ill by radiation.
I’m getting an adrenaline rush watching HBO and Sky TV’s five-part dramatisation of the Chernobyl accident because in 1995 I spent six months working at the heart of the disaster. At that time I was the only Westerner permanently based at the site. So I’m pleased that – so far – the Chernobyl drama has delivered a riveting portrayal of blundering bureaucrats and their unforgivable betrayal of plant operators. It stirs my heart to see proper credit given to those involved in the heroic effort to selflessly contain the accident and clean up the mess. The scale of the fallout, which displaced hundreds of thousands of people, affecting millions living in designated contamination zones, was massive. The response to it was courageous and inspirational.