Thirty-one people died in the immediate aftermath of the explosion of the No. 4 nuclear reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine, either from the blast or radiation poisoning. However, thousands more were affected by low-level radiation increasing the incidence of cancer, as well as destroying livelihoods from people having to relocate out of the contamination zone. The nuclear fallout of Chernobyl was 400 times larger than that from the Hiroshima bomb, but the Soviet government attempted to cover up the worst of the catastrophe.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union, historian Dr Natalia Baranovskaya tried to research the disaster but found that records had been destroyed.
She told the 2015 documentary ‘The Russian Woodpecker’ that when she went to search the archives they were empty.
Dr Baranovskaya said: “When Ukraine became independent, professional historians had the opportunity and the need to find the truth.
“But I went to the archives and nothing was there.
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