Author: Svilena Velcheva

We are celebrating 34 years since the most sinister nuclear accident – the one at Chernobyl, officially recognized as the worst accident in the history of nuclear energy.

We will not cite statistics, not because they are not important, but because it is too early for them. It is unlikely that the figures today can cover the effects that Chernobyl will have on us for decades to come.

But we must remember the mistakes so that we do not repeat them! That’s why we ask people over 40: Do you remember this week 34 years ago? Have you heard of radiation? What is your brightest memory since then?

Ilian Iliev, Public Center for Environment and Sustainable Development:

Why don’t I like nuclear power plants ?!

I was probably at school. We were told that there would be a demonstration on May 1. We rehearsed. On May 1, I was wearing a shirt and jacket in the block with the flags. One holds the Bulgarian, the other – the USSR. We are waiting for our turn somewhere in front of the Polygraphy in Varna. It was raining – from those of agricultural importance. Then we marched and chanted “BKP, USSR, glory!”. We came home wet, like mice. Two weeks later we were sent to military training, where we were fed plenty of green salads. All suffered en masse from intestinal disorder. Then we found out that there was an accident. Years later, we learned that they were hiding about its size. When I turned 45, they found a tumor in my bone. That’s why I don’t like nuclear power plants. I voluntarily join every initiative to close them. I hope we never build Belene. And to close Kozloduy when the time comes, without meaningless arrangements to extend his life. I am happy with the development of the new RES technologies.

Petko Kovachev, Institute for Green Policy:

We measured the radiation in the ward several times a day

I was in Plovdiv, in the barracks. I don’t remember the unit number. It was an artillery regiment. Immediately after the incident, the next day or the day after, we suddenly switched to canned food in the morning, at noon and in the evening. And they had just started giving fresh vegetables. We wondered what was going on, but there was no explanation. I was a senior schoolboy and together with the officers, we were ordered to measure the radiation background in the unit several times a day. All this was reported via an encrypted connection to Sofia. All the other units did the same. I don’t remember how long it lasted, but it wasn’t long. Canning certainly continued in the summer. Field exercises stopped and resumed in the summer with zero security measures.

We look forward to your stories! Let’s remember!

Translator: Valentina Vagge


Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations

The project “Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations” shall be implemented with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main goal of the project is to improve citizens’ awareness of the role of non-governmental organizations in society. This material is established with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The whole responsibility for the content of the document is held by the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development and under no circumstances can this material be considered to reflect the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria.