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Photographer: Petr Toman
Organization: noba.collective
Title: The Chernobyl Republic: Liquidators
Location: Ukraine
  

NIKOLAI GAVRILEN

25 years ago, Northern Ukraine saw the biggest nuclear disaster on the face of the Earth, with the explosion on site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant destroying reactor 4. Nikolai Gavrilen worked as a clean-up vehicle driver from the first days following the event. He drove on daily basis through heavily contaminated areas, totally unprotected against radiation, the consequences of which were not long in coming. Some two months later he developed hand tremors, with his whole body fighting shakes soon after. Eventually he sustained a mental breakdown. So far, he has had two brain tumor surgeries, suffers from locomotive difficulties and considerable speech problems. Nikolai is a first group invalid, lives in the town of Ivankiv, Ukraine, and depends on his wife for help.

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