“I don’t want to watch the Chernobyl series”
We were sitting and drinking coffee with Sergey Chechulin, an ex-chief engineer of military radio technologies, whos hobby is a nuclear physics. We met him to ask questions about the destinies of Soviet engineers after 1991. But we ended up with a whole other story…
While waiting for our cappuccino, we were having a small talk:
TWIFT: By the way, have you seen the Chernobyl series by HBO already?
Sergey Chechulin: No, and I do not want to
T: Why not? It sure is good stuff and worth watching
SC: It’s too difficult for me to recall everything that was happening there… people were removing radioactive Uranus from the roof with the shovels only. It’s just insane. And not only that…
T: Is it the only reason?
SC: I still can’t believe that the only way out was by sacrificing people’s lives…
T: Are there any moments that have stuck in your head for life about that catastrophe? What were you doing at that time?
SC: I was working for a military engineering laboratory… working on some classified military stuff. Each of us (me and my colleagues, I mean) couldn’t believe that it all happened, those rumors (before it was officially notified). Cause the scale of the disaster was enormous. And not even a word from the Government… It took them several days to start doing something… I mean basic precaution, minimum actions to protect people…
T: Do you think it should have been done in a different way? Do you believe people should have been evacuated not only from Pripyat but also from Kyiv?
SC: Well, let’s put it this way – I did evacuate my wife and kids from Kyiv right away.
T: Why and how far?
SC: My father-in-law, who was working for national aviation, told me, that the government and soviet party members been evacuating their families by planes. 2 days after that, my wife and kids flew to Kazakhstan for 2 months. I was afraid that nuclear radiation will not be stopped and a new explosion will take place. And in that case, Kyiv would be dead… And not only Kyiv.
T: Do you think it’s safe to go to Chernobyl zone now?
SC: Some people like to play with fire. Yes, they might have checked and kinda secured some routes for tourists. But what about rain, wind, storms? It might bring minor dust pieces from areas, where the radiation level is high. You can simply google what elements had been released after the catastrophe and their half-life period. Do you want to risk your health and life? Not me for sure!
Let me tell you a story: in 1986 I was visiting my parents who lived in Zhytomyr region in a small town not far from Pripyat (around 120 km). I had my detector with me so I decided to check the radiation level around their house. And I was shocked. The level was too high. So we had to remove the top level of soil there and move it as far as we could where no people lived. But, nevertheless, I wasn’t able to check each area around… In 10 years my mother died of oncology. My father passed away a few years later from leukemia. He was sick for more than 6 years. And my wife, she had her thyroid gland removed. The reason is the same. Coincidence, you may say?
So I kinda know what radiation can do to you, and people you love. And I don’t want to take a risk… And it is quite painful for me to see and recall how it all started…
Though I am really happy that HBO released these series. It is a lesson for all humanity and we should not do the same mistake again…
Be sure to check our opinion on the Chernobyl series in here