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Chernobyl’s Lingering Scars via New York Times

By JOE NOCERA
Published: July 11, 2011

Oddly enough, the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history has been marked by journalism about animals. Two magazines, Wired and Harper’s, have published lengthy articles about the rebirth of animal life in the so-called exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.

All well and good, but given the recent Japanese nuclear accident, wouldn’t you rather know what has happened to the, er, people who were affected by Chernobyl?

I know such a person. Her name is Maria Gawronska. Thirty years old, smart and attractive, Maria is a native of Poland who moved to New York in 2004. I met her through my fiancée maybe four years ago. She always wore a turtleneck, even on the hottest of days.

Maria’s hometown, Olsztyn, in northern Poland, is more than 400 miles from Chernobyl. She was 5 years old in April 1986 when the reactor melted down, spewing immense amounts of radioactivity upwind, where it spread across Ukraine, Belarus and, yes, northern Poland.

Continue reading at Chernobyl’s Lingering Scars

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