Is Chernobyl still harming children today?

Thirty years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster near the border between Ukraine and Belarus, residents and scientists remain concerned about the possible genetic effects of the fallout.


Among the people worst hit by the radiation were so-called "liquidators" brought in to clean up the ruined reactors. They have suffered severe pathologies in the years following the nuclear accident, but now worry they have passed on their illnesses to their children and even their grandchildren.

Scientists are divided on the issue. Some rule out that radiation-linked disease can be inherited, while others say there is clear evidence of systematic genetic damage in the blood samples of the liquidators and others who were exposed to the radioactive fallout.

Residents in the area have little faith left in authorities, with many convinced the Chernobyl radiation and the afflictions it causes are part of their unlucky inheritance.

A programme prepared by Patrick Lovett and Elise Duffau.

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