35 years on: Jersey's response to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

  • Report by ITV Channel's Sophie Dulson & Greg Banner

Thirty-five years ago the world experienced the worst nuclear disaster in history.

On 26 April 1986, the number four reactor in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR.

It was an accident that shook the world. Many families and children are still affected with radiation sickness today.

Fewer than 100 deaths were directly attributed to the accident. This number remains contested. Credit: ITN

There are many memories from the night of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster with vivid accounts recalled worldwide, not least in Jersey.

Paul Patterson was one of Jersey's scientific advisors at the time. He was on duty the night the number four reactor exploded.

  • Paul Patterson MBE recalling the night of the nuclear disaster

Jersey's Civil Defence Bunker, near Springfield Stadium, is where Paul Patterson worked at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Credit: ITV Channel

After the disaster, Jersey played a significant role in the charitable efforts that followed.

The island joined forces with the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline Charity, which saw hundreds of affected children from Belarus visit Jersey for a short break.

For the children who visited, it was a welcome reprieve from the worries back home.

Hundreds of children from Belarus visited Jersey. It was a chance for them to breath clean air and eat uncontaminated food. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Twenty-five-year-old Katya Izotova was one of the children from Belarus who visited Jersey in 2006 for a month long trip. The visit gave her the chance to breathe some clean air and eat uncontaminated food.

Katya (pictured far right) on Long Beach in Jersey with children from her host family. Credit: ITV Channel TV

In the accident's aftermath, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness, of which 31 died within the first three months.

The effects of radiation sickness are still felt today, especially from those residing in Ukraine and Belarus.

Many families and children are still affected with radiation sickness today. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Katya was one of the children affected by the blast. She was told by doctors she may never have children but she defied the odds and gave birth to a healthy baby girl just nine months ago.

Katya believes her trip to Jersey contributed significantly to her improved health and life today.