Burying Chernobyl

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0120150923

A year before the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in April 1986 Alla Alban, nee Kravchuk, left the nearby town of Pripyat in order to take her place at music college in Kiev. The rest of the family also moved away and so she and her father were together in Kiev when news of the accident broke. Since then Alla has never returned to the site although her parents did go back to help work on the plans to render Chernobyl safe in the long term.

Now, as plans are underway to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the accident and the huge mobile sarcophagus that will roll over the damaged reactor is nearing completion, Alla returns to both the Chernobyl Station and the deserted satellite town of Pripyat which was once her home.

Alla's mother and father both worked at Chernobyl. They died several years ago. Meanwhile a career as an Opera singer took Alla first to Britain and then Germany. Now, she travels back to see at first hand the Chernobyl Safe Confinement project, a scheme funded by countries from all over the world and watched by all those with an interest in Nuclear energy and the risks inherent in its production. She talks to those involved in the challenging task of making Chernobyl safe without risking the health of those involved in the task.

But this is, above all, a personal journey. Alla's memories of Pripyat are of a beautiful, vibrant young town ablaze with flowers and the perfect place for a young teenager. She's seen many pictures which tell a very different story and has struggled to maintain the memories of her youth in the face of them. She's also known only the vaguest details of her father's work as an engineering draughtsman, although his old work colleagues were able to send her several of his beautifully detailed drawings of what would eventually become the mobile arch that is being prepared to cover Reactor Number Four.

Alla also meets up with an old friend who had stayed in Chernobyl and was there at the time of the accident. Her story is a very different one.

Producer: Tom Alban.

0120150923

A year before the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in April 1986 Alla Alban, nee Kravchuk, left the nearby town of Pripyat in order to take her place at music college in Kiev. The rest of the family also moved away and so she and her father were together in Kiev when news of the accident broke. Since then Alla has never returned to the site although her parents did go back to help work on the plans to render Chernobyl safe in the long term.

Now, as plans are underway to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the accident and the huge mobile sarcophagus that will roll over the damaged reactor is nearing completion, Alla returns to both the Chernobyl Station and the deserted satellite town of Pripyat which was once her home.

Alla's mother and father both worked at Chernobyl. They died several years ago. Meanwhile a career as an Opera singer took Alla first to Britain and then Germany. Now, she travels back to see at first hand the Chernobyl Safe Confinement project, a scheme funded by countries from all over the world and watched by all those with an interest in Nuclear energy and the risks inherent in its production. She talks to those involved in the challenging task of making Chernobyl safe without risking the health of those involved in the task.

But this is, above all, a personal journey. Alla's memories of Pripyat are of a beautiful, vibrant young town ablaze with flowers and the perfect place for a young teenager. She's seen many pictures which tell a very different story and has struggled to maintain the memories of her youth in the face of them. She's also known only the vaguest details of her father's work as an engineering draughtsman, although his old work colleagues were able to send her several of his beautifully detailed drawings of what would eventually become the mobile arch that is being prepared to cover Reactor Number Four.

Alla also meets up with an old friend who had stayed in Chernobyl and was there at the time of the accident. Her story is a very different one.

Producer: Tom Alban.

02Returning to Pripyat20150930

02Returning to Pripyat20150930

In the second part of her trip back to Chernobyl, Alla Alban, the daughter of two former employees at the power station, returns to the nearby town of Pripyat. Now a world famous ghost town with trees growing through the once neat concrete squares and streets, it used to be her hometown.

As well as an emotional journey back, Alla also talks to other people dealing with the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. Dr Yevgenia Stepanova runs the National Research Centre for Radiation Medicine in Kiev. For her the disaster is ongoing with second generation children still needing all the help that a struggling nation can afford.

She also talks to Ighor Gramotkin the Director General of the Chernobyl plant who arrived in 1988 and has spent his entire working life dealing with the problems left by the catastrophic mistakes made in 1986.

Professor Timothy Mouseau heads the Chernobyl Research initiative, an attempt to make some detailed sense of the impact the accident had on humans and the plant and animal life within the exclusion zone.

Alla asks them about their reading of the situation and whether the old slogan that still stands above the main square in Pripyat still applies, that the atom should be 'a worker not a soldier'.

But at the heart of the programme is a journey back to a place which feels as though it has been robbed of its innocent memories; hanging out with friends, attending concerts that would change a life and being part of a community that was to be ripped apart.

Producer: Tom Alban.

02Returning To Pripyat20150930

In the second part of her trip back to Chernobyl, Alla Alban, the daughter of two former employees at the power station, returns to the nearby town of Pripyat. Now a world famous ghost town with trees growing through the once neat concrete squares and streets, it used to be her hometown.

As well as an emotional journey back, Alla also talks to other people dealing with the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. Dr Yevgenia Stepanova runs the National Research Centre for Radiation Medicine in Kiev. For her the disaster is ongoing with second generation children still needing all the help that a struggling nation can afford.

She also talks to Ighor Gramotkin the Director General of the Chernobyl plant who arrived in 1988 and has spent his entire working life dealing with the problems left by the catastrophic mistakes made in 1986.

Professor Timothy Mouseau heads the Chernobyl Research initiative, an attempt to make some detailed sense of the impact the accident had on humans and the plant and animal life within the exclusion zone.

Alla asks them about their reading of the situation and whether the old slogan that still stands above the main square in Pripyat still applies, that the atom should be 'a worker not a soldier'.

But at the heart of the programme is a journey back to a place which feels as though it has been robbed of its innocent memories; hanging out with friends, attending concerts that would change a life and being part of a community that was to be ripped apart.

Producer: Tom Alban.