The Greater Chernobyl Cause

News Archive

The Greater Chernobyl Cause and its work has featured prominently in both regional, national and international publications over recent years.



To coincide with the 30th Anniversary of The Chernobyl Disaster, The Greater Chernobyl Cause will send a shipment filled with Humanitarian Aid. It will  leave the Port of Cork bound for the our newly built hospice in Semipalatinsk Kazakhstan.

The aid includes vital hospital equipment, new clothes, therapy aids, household goods, etc. which will also go to the neglected hospitals, homeless shelters, care centres and impoverished villages in Kazakhstan.

As we commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster, it is important to note that the people of Kazakhstan were also involved in the dreaded clean up at The Chernobyl Plant. In fact Leonid Petrovich Telyatnikov, who was born  in  1951, in, Kostanai Kazakhstan, was the head of the fire department at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and led the team of firefighters to the fire at Reactor Number 4 which became the Chernobyl disaster.

Despite the radiological dangers, they had no radiation suits, no respirators, and no working dosimeters. From the results of a blood test, it was estimated he received 4 grays of radiation.

Telyatnikov headed the firefighting effort at Chernobyl Reactor Unit 4 after the explosion on April 26, 1986. At that time Telyatnikov was the chief of military fire prevention at the Chernobyl nuclear-power station. Telyatnikov and his colleagues, a number of those also from Kazakhstan (as these countries were all part of the USSR), ascended the badly damaged and heavily radiation-contaminated roof of Reactor Unit 4 more than once in order to prevent the fires from spreading and endangering Reactor Unit 3. In 1987 Telyatnikov was named a Hero of the Soviet Union. Two of his assistants, Vladimir Pravik and Viktor Kibenok, were given the award posthumously, as they died from acute radiation sickness soon after the disaster.

Telyatnikov continued his service in the Ministry of the Interior of the USSR and, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, in Ukraine.

In 1998, Telyatnikov headed the volunteer fire department of Kiev, and designed the "Junior Firefighter" program.  He died of cancer at the age of 53. On April 26, 2006, the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, a monument was dedicated to him at the Baykove cemetery in Kiev where he is buried.

This 30th anniversary marks the starting point – not the limit – of the Chernobyl catastrophe which continues to unfold even today. Chernobyl is not in the past. Its repercussions are still being felt by some five million people living in areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia who were contaminated as a result of the accident. They have to cope with the ongoing political, social, environmental and health consequences of the disaster.

We must ensure that no more Chernobyl's ever take place again. The only way we can do this is to ensure that nuclear power has no future, whilst investing in renewable alternatives. Those who speak about the benefits of nuclear power should look deeply into the eyes and souls of the innocent victims, generations of alienated and forgotten people.  Whatever the obstacles we encounter along the way, we are certain of one thing … the plight of its abandoned people cannot be forgotten.

They are bereft of everything: we appeal to you to send whatever you can to The Greater Chernobyl Cause Unit 4 Southside Industrial Estate Pouladuf Rd Togher Cork Ph 021 4323276  / 087 9536133. Email:.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Concluded Fiona Corcoran Greater Chernobyl Cause




The Greater Chernobyl Cause, in association with Cork City Council,  held a Commemorative Service at Bishop Lucey park Cork on the 26th of April at 11.30am

The ceremony is an annual one and is symbolic and respectful, remembering those who have lost their lives at the Chernobyl plant, also remembering those who suffer today. The event incorporated poetry readings, an ecumenical service involving various religious groups, a roll call of those who died at the plant and a candlelit vigil.  The service was opened by Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Chris O Leary. Attendees included H.E. Mr. Maxim Peshkov Russian Ambassador to Ireland,  Serhii Romanenko  Chargés d'affaires Ukranian Embassy, City Fathers, personnel from the Navy, Cork City Fire-Brigade, Chamber of Commerce, Defence Force, schools, and the general public.




26TH APRIL 2016


11.30am   Greater Chernobyl Cause Introduction

11.40am   Opening Ceremony Hon. Lord Mayor of        

                   Cork Cllr Chris O Leary

11.50am   Address by H.E. Mr. Maxim Peshkov

                   Russian Ambassador to Ireland

11.55am   Address by Serhii Romanenko

                Chargés d'Affaires Ukranian Embassy

12.00am   Poetry Reading

12.10am   Ecumenical Service

12.20pm   Evgenia.Nesterenko.Trophy

                Recipient   Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai

12.30pm  Goggins Hill Primary  School Choir

12.40pm   Roll Call of Victims of Chernobyl

                     Candle Light

12.45pm   Minute Silence

12.46pm   Last Post-Bugle-Lower Flag to Half Mast

12.56pm   Candle Vigil










Mercy Mission


Article from Tengri re Greater Chernobyl Cause

Greater Chernobyl Cause Mercy Mission 2

Greater Chernobyl Cause Mercy Mission 3

Greater Chernobyl Cause Mercy Mission 4

Air Astana

Once again, we at the Greater Chernobyl Cause owe Air Astana a heartfelt thanks for directly sponsoring flights to Kazakhstan for our founder Fiona Corcoran, as she made one of her bi-annual visits to bring aid to the neediest and most vulnerable of its population.


Fiona Corcoran visits Kazakhstan, thanks to Air Astana

Without the valued assistance from the airline, we would not be in a position to travel to the country where we participate in a number of projects such as overseeing the construction of a brand new hospice for the elderly in the city of Semipalatinsk. 

On one of her trips to Kazakhstan, Fiona visited a home for the elderly in the industrial city of Semipalatinsk. The lack of any nutritious food or medical provisions, along with the absence of basic hygiene, had left the old and vulnerable residents of this institution in a desperate state. Skeletal figures, sprawled across broken bed springs without even the most basic of bedding, were abandoned without any hope, being deprived of even the most rudimentary of comforts. 


Good news: through years of toil and fundraising, and with the support of sponsors such as Air Astana, The Greater Chernobyl Cause has financed the construction of an entirely new hospice within the grounds of the city’s General Hospital.  The hospice will open shortly, providing amelioration to the lot of the elderly, the frail and the forgotten. Together, we have given these vulnerable people light and hope where they for many years saw darkness and desperation. We have replaced that squalor and degradation with warmth and dignity. 


Having widely travelled countries of the former Soviet Union on charity missions since the 1990s, Fiona has seen Kazakhstan’s emergence and development from its Soviet-era days first hand. Kazakhstan is becoming known as an alternative travel destination for tourists who wish to take in all the country has to offer: its distinctive style of architecture (seen in the Zenkov Cathedral in Almaty and the Baiterek Tower in Astana) and its natural beauty, observed by taking a trip to Big Almaty Lake or hitting the slopes at Shymbulak ski resort. Tourists can unwind in the bars and nightclubs of Almaty and experience live jazz and opera shows beneath the city’s twinkling lights.Traditional cuisine is available for those brave enough to sample fare such as ‘beshbarmak’, washed down with the national beverage of ‘kumis’, derived from mare’s milk.   
For those visiting mainly for commerce instead of leisure, there is the advantage of doing business in a country regarded as having the largest and strongest economy in Central Asia, spurred by Kazakhstan’s exploitation of its significant oil and gas supply. This marketplace has attracted numerous foreign investments from many multi-national companies over the last decade, totalling hundreds of billions. As a result, thousands of expats from all corners of the globe now call business centres such as the capital of Astana ‘home’. Direct foreign investment into Kazakhstan has also provided much employment for the well-educated Kazakh population, noted for their academic prowess in the fields of mathematics, chemistry and astronautics.
Since May 2002, Air Astana has been leading the way for aviation in Central Asia and is constantly expanding in terms of new routes and fleet development. The airline has significantly contributed towards Kazakhstan’s fast growing economy by forging important links between Kazakhstan’s major cities and the rest of the world. Currently, the airline operates over 60 domestic and international routes, including flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bangkok, New York and Tokyo, to name but a few. Air Astana boasts impeccable safety standards and implements a series of core values including reliability, hospitability and efficiency.  In research conducted by Skytrax Research, Air Astana has been voted the only 4-star airline in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The airline is going from strength to strength, backing up their deserved laudation with a string of awards and certificates.
We at the Greater Chernobyl Cause are proud to be affiliated with and travel on Air Astana, an airline who's staff goes above and beyond in terms of customer service. We wholeheartedly appreciate that Air Astana can support charities working in Kazakhstan such as ourselves, as well as meeting the ever-changing needs of both the business and leisure traveller.
We would like to offer Air Astana sincere thanks for their assistance over the years, and we hope to enjoy many more years of their service in the future.

We Must Never Forget the Horror of Chernobyl

2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Fiona Corcoran, Chief Executive of the charity The Greater Chernobyl Cause, recounts the damage done, and says we must make sure such a tragedy cannot be repeated.

This was a human tragedy on an unimaginable scale. On April 26, 1986, at 1.23am, the world’s worst nuclear disaster took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Northern Ukraine. The people of Chernobyl were exposed to radiation 90 times greater than that from the Hiroshima bomb.

The aftermath of this, the world’s worst nuclear disaster, has left thousands of people suffering from terminal or chronic illnesses. The children with cancers and dehabilitating illnesses must be turned every 15 minutes in excruciating pain. The parents suffer from radiation-related diseases. The elderly have no option but to eat mushrooms and burn firewood from the forests that are radioactive. In fact soil samples from these forests are treated as radioactive waste in Western Europe.

The President of the Australian Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Professor Tilman Ruff, has estimated that there have been 8,930 excess cancer deaths in the three most affected countries, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. There have been 4,400 to 6,600 cancer deaths among the liquidators for whom risk estimates have not yet been made; 5,077 to 6,769 estimated excess heart-related deaths for all the liquidators; 10,920 excess cancer deaths outside the three worst affected countries, and there will be an additional 20% of cancer deaths, (4,850-5,290) in future generations. This yields an estimate of 34,200-38,500 deaths.

It does not include deaths from suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, genetic effects or other causes, all of which are significantly increased in the most severely contaminated zones and among evacuees. And it does not include the suffering of those who have not got a fatal illness, but who live in fear that they will die prematurely because of their exposure to radiation.

The biggest health problems so far have not been fatal illnesses but mental health problems among evacuees and liquidators. Chernobyl pulled communities apart, uprooted families and left them without work and /or their homes. A similar disaster must never be allowed to happen again.

The international community has failed the victims of Chernobyl. Not only by downplaying the extent of the human impact, but also by abdicating their responsibility for the failure to collaborate and take them out of the Chernobyl shadow to give them a better life, what remains of it.

In the words of Kofi Annan:

“Chernobyl is a word we would all like to erase from our memory. It opened a Pandora’s Box of invisible enemies and nameless anxieties in people’s minds, but which most of us probably now think of as safely relegated to the past. Yet there are two compelling reasons why this tragedy must not be forgotten. First, if we forget Chernobyl, we increase the risk of more such technological and environmental disasters in the future. Second, more than seven million of our fellow human beings do not have the luxury of forgetting. They are still suffering, every day, as a result of what happened. Indeed, the legacy of Chernobyl will be with us, and with our descendants, for generations to come.”

Fiona says:

On one of my visits, standing at the 30 kilometre checkpoint, I was surprised at just how beautiful and pristine the countryside looked with wild horses roaming on the plains but then I had to remind myself that everywhere around there was an invisible enemy - radiation- which is the creator of death, serious illnesses and deformities.

Equally shocking was my visit to the now deserted and ghostly city of Pripyat which had been built to house many of the plant’s workers and their families. In all, 50,000 people were evacuated. Imagine, they were told they would be returning in a few days, they left all their possessions behind. In one school classroom, I found the pencils and jotters pupils had been using on the day before the explosion. Government officials were totally irresponsible: they allowed the children to go outside when rain was falling from the sky and knowing that the land was contaminated.

We must ensure that no more Chernobyls ever take place again. The only way we can do this is to ensure that nuclear power has no future, whilst investing in renewable alternatives. Those who speak about the benefits of nuclear power should look deeply into the eyes and souls of the innocent victims, generations of alienated and forgotten people.

Whatever the obstacles we encounter along the way, we are certain of one thing. Chernobyl and the plight of its sick children cannot be forgotten. The legacy of Chernobyl will be with us and our descendants for decades to come.

I am appealing once again to the Irish tradition of spontaneous giving, even in these hard economic times here at home. Our work must continue. I urge you to make a donation now so that more lives can be saved. Your support however small, whether monetary, service or support will be very much appreciated.


§  Donations can be made at www.greaterchernobylcause.ieor to The Greater Chernobyl Cause Unit 2, Southside Industrial Estate, Pouladuff Road, Togher, Cork. Fiona can be contacted on 021 4323276 or 087 9536133.