Thursday 18 May, 19:30

The hours that stopped

A Chronicle of the Heroes of Chernobyl

To mark the 20th anniversary of the meltdown and the opening of the exhibition "Once upon a time, Chernobyl" the CCCB is organizing a debate about a catastrophe that has marked the lives of millions of people and that even today continues shrouded in invisibility and silence.


Thursday, 18 May, 7.30 p.m.

The Chernobyl accident was the twentieth century's most serious technological catastrophe and the full extent of the damage is still difficult to gauge. In just a few seconds, the life of thousands of people changed for ever, under the permanent effect of contamination. Since 1986 between 600,000 and 800,000 people have participated in the tasks of taking control after the accident and evacuating the population, thus exposing themselves to huge doses of radiation. These people, who are called "liquidators", have suffered some of the catastrophe's worst consequences but, with their work and their sacrifice, they prevented a nuclear explosion that would have rendered much of Europe uninhabitable.

The CCCB presents this debate on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the accident to accompany the exhibition Once There Was a Chernobyl. Two liquidators will speak of their experiences in a catastrophe that marked the end of the Soviet Union and that, in the present-day circumstances of the political and economic crises besetting the new republics of the Ukraine and Belarus, remains cloaked in silence and invisibility.


Georgy Lepin
, Doctor in Technical Sciences, liquidator in Chernobyl from 1986 to 1992.

Alexandre Zelentsov
, liquidator, president of the Promin 5-2, Ukraine.


Pilar Bonet, journalist, El País correspondent in Moscow.