Chernobyl-American Oral History (ChAOH)

ChAOH project includes audio and video interviews with the survivors of the 

Chernobyl nuclear disaster (April 26, 1986) who are currently living in the United 

States. They were asked about their first thoughts, feelings, and actions related to 

the disaster, their experiences of living in a contaminated area, their abilities to 

cope with related stress, and their interpretations of the consequences of the disaster 

in their lives.


The mission of this project is to increase public awareness of the Chernobyl disaster, 

and to find resources for the separation of “radiation from people” and “people from 

radiation” in the Chernobyl contaminated area. Chaoh reminds us of the Italian word 

for goodbye. By ChAOH project, we would like to find a way to say the final goodbye 

to the radiation-contaminated environment in people's lives.

ChAOH was started by Dr. Aleksandr Kronik with the support of AVANTA and the

Institute for International Connections in 1999.

Here you will find the summaries and full transcripts of two interviews conducted in 


Russian by Dr. Kronik. The videotapes of these interviews are planned to be published.

INTERVIEW 1:  

"A wrong step could mean a lethal dose" 

Interview with Dr. Nikolai Smirnov, a nuclear specialist,

who, after the Chernobyl Disaster, served as Chief of

the Chernobyl Radiometry Department and now lives in

USA. (Translated into English by Anna Kronick.)

INTERVIEW 2:   

"You couldn't see it, you couldn't smell it"

Interview with Mr. Yakov Smertenko, a driver who drove 

clean-up workers to Chernobyl and now lives in USA.

(Translated into English.)