The Associated Press will have exclusive coverage in all formats leading up to the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion, the world’s worst nuclear accident. The April 26, 1986, disaster killed at least 30 people directly and left millions more living on contaminated land. The dimensions of what happened to their health remains elusive, with some reports projecting more than 9,000 deaths related to Chernobyl radiation and other groups putting the numbers 10 times higher. The plant today is derelict with an uncertain future. The AP plans the following coverage through April 29, including spot coverage on the anniversary. All times EDT.
AP EXCLUSIVE: CHERNOBYL’S CHILDREN, from ZALISHANY, Ukraine — Nine-year-old Olesya Petrova hungrily awaits the coming of warm weather, when she can scour the woodlands outside her village for berries and other goodies that can help make up for her cancelled school lunch program. But the forest treats carry an invisible danger — her village is in one of the sections of Ukraine contaminated by radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion. Olesya and countless other schoolchildren are caught between the consequences of two calamities — the residue of the nuclear accident 30 years ago and the recent plunge of Ukraine’s war- and corruption-weakened economy, which induced the government to cut benefits for many Chernobyl-poisoned communities. By Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 1,210 words, photos, video.
CHERNOBYL-PHOTOGRAPHER’S STORY from KIEV, Ukraine — The Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion was only 60 miles from my home, but I didn’t learn about it until the next morning from a neighbor. Only a few photographers were allowed to cover the destroyed reactor and desperate cleanup efforts, and all of them paid for it with their health. I went a few months later, and have returned dozens of times. By Efrem Lukatsky. SENT: 830 words, photos.
CHERNOBYL-30 YEARS LATER, from CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR POWER STATION, Ukraine — Thirty years after the world’s worst nuclear accident, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is surrounded by both a hushed desolation and clangorous activity, the sense of a ruined past and a difficult future. By Dmitry Vlasov. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.
MONDAY, APRIL 25
AP EXCLUSIVE: CHERNOBYL-RADIOACTIVE FOOD, from GUBAREVICHI, Belarus — As his cows graze peacefully in a field just 25 miles from the exploded Chernobyl nuclear reactor, farmer Nikolai Chubenok offers a taste of their fresh milk as a welcoming gesture. That milk looks grim, however, when taken to a laboratory, where it shows 10 times the accepted level for the carcinogenic isotope strontium-90. Belarus is bringing agriculture back to lands contaminated by Chernobyl fallout and amid the authoritarian government’s repression of dissent, there’s little awareness that the farms are producing tainted food — some of which is shipped abroad. By Yuras Karmanau. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 5 a.m., photos, video.
With: LIVE video at 5 p.m. — SLAVUTYCH, Ukraine: Commemoration church service in the town built for those who were evacuated following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Edits to follow.
With: CHERNOBYL-BY THE NUMBERS. UPCOMING: 400 words by 9 a.m.
TUESDAY, APRIL 26
CHERNOBYL, from MINSK, Belarus — On the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident, the countries most heavily affected commemorate the victims and express concern about the future in ceremonies, church services and protests. Ukraine and Belarus worry about health problems believed connected to the fallout that spewed from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and Belarus’ beleaguered opposition plans protests against the authoritarian government and its efforts to resettle Chernobyl-contaminated areas. By Yuras Karmanau. UPCOMING: 130 words by 5 a.m., 750 words by 10 a.m.; photos.
LIVE video at 4 a.m. —CHERNOBYL, Ukraine: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Edits to follow.
LIVE video at 4 a.m. — KIEV, Ukraine: Church service for families of victims and those who cleaned up the Chernobyl site after the nuclear disaster. Edits to follow.
FRIDAY, APRIL 29
RUSSIA-BEFORE CHERNOBYL, from KYSHTYM, Russia — A generation before the Chernobyl blast, there was a nuclear disaster just as frightening, but almost unknown for decades. When a huge tank of radioactive waste blew up at the Mayak nuclear complex in 1957, the Soviet Union didn’t acknowledge it for decades. And while the Chernobyl plant is derelict and undergoing a multibillion-dollar program to clean up its waste, Mayak is still operating — and still leaking. By Katherine Jacobsen. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 5 a.m., photos, video.
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