STORIES

Chernobyl 25

On April 26, 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Ukraine exploded, releasing a large cloud of radioactive material into the atmosphere which spread over much of Western Russia, Europe and Scandinavia. The worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the march 11, 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident being the second). Only after radiation levels set off alarms at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden,  over one thousand kilometers from the Chernobyl Plant, did the Soviet Union admit that an accident had occurred. Approximately 336,000 people were evacuated from the sourrounding area, an exclusion zone of 30 km (19 mi) remains in place today. According to the BBC almost 2,000 cases of thyroid cancer have resulted from the reactors explosion.

I was 12 years.

A few days after that April 26 was playing football in a courtyard with some friends, when suddenly it started to rain.

I started running strong without saying goodbye, to quickly reach my house and be finally safe. My mother told me what had happened so far away from us, that a dangerous cloud was coming over Italy and the rain could be radioactive. I did not understand well what the term “radioactive”, but surely those drops of rain were not clean.

That race has remained as a frame fixed for ever in my life, so that even now I can not understand what I have unconsciously influenced to choose after 25 years, to approach this issue of Chernobyl, sadly back in the news of the Japan catastrophe.