University of South Carolina

SCETV Chernobyl special April 26 to feature USC experts

Four University of South Carolina experts will share their expertise and insights in a pair of SCETV specials on the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, set for broadcast from 7 - 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 26.

The first show, “NatureScene: Chernobyl” will air at 7 – 7:30 p.m.

The second, “Nature Comes Back – 25 Years After Chernobyl,” will air from 7:30 – 9 p.m. and will include three episodes: “Pulling Back the Curtain,” “Reflecting on the Impact” and “Observing the Return of Life.”

The shows also will air on the SC Channel (SCC) from 3 – 5 p.m. April 24 and 9 – 11 p.m. April 26.

The special commemorates the 25th anniversary of the largest nuclear disaster in history, which occurred April 26, 1986, in the Soviet Union. It examines a variety of topics, including nuclear science, US-Soviet relations, the people of Chernobyl and the effects of the disaster on nature.

USC participants include the following:

Charles Bierbauer, dean of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, who was CNN’s senior White House correspondent in 1986 at the time of the Chernobyl incident and reported on President Ronald Reagan’s trip to Indonesia and Japan as Chernobyl’s radiation cloud drifted across two continents.

Dr. Tim Mousseau, USC vice president for research and professor of biological sciences. Mousseau has made numerous trips to Chernobyl to study the impact of radioactive contaminants on the area and is a leading authority on the impact of radioactivity on birds and insects in the area surrounding Chernobyl.

Dr. Gordon B. Smith, USC professor of political science and director of the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies. Smith is a noted authority on Russian politics and author of numerous books, including “Soviet Politics: Struggling with Change” and “State-Building in Russia.”

Rudy Mancke, naturalist-in-residence and the naturalist on ETV’s “NatureScene” that aired nationally on PBS for 25 years. Mancke has made four trips to Chernobyl to document the natural history.

They will be joined by Dr. Eduardo B. Farfan, who worked with the Chernobyl Center’s International Radioecology Laboratory and who is the principal engineer in environmental studies and biotechnology at Savannah River National Laboratory; Sherry Beasley, who made four trips to Chernobyl to chronicle and report on the activities in the area and wrote feature articles for The State newspaper and other media; Allen Sharpe, director of photography for ETV’s “NatureScene,” whose photographs produced of Chernobyl and Kiev appear in the program.

The show includes footage and photos from when “NatureScene” visited the site of the reactor in 2003.

“I think we had an incredible opportunity that most people couldn’t have because we were able to take our camera to see what other people hadn’t seen before,” Mancke said. “I believe our program on Chernobyl is the only program on the natural history – looking at the plants and animals – of the event that has been done.”

Chernobyl was evacuated and fenced to keep people out. But since April 26, 1986, nature has shown its resiliency, with plants and animals returning to the deserted site. And, re-settlers have returned too.

SCETV specials

  • What: “NatureScene: Chernobyl” and “Nature Comes Back – 25 Years After Chernobyl”
  • Who: USC experts featured include Charles Bierbauer, Tim Mousseau, Gordon B. Smith and Rudy Mancke
  • When: Tuesday, April 26, 7 - 9 p.m. (also on the SC Channel Sunday, April 24, 3 - 5 p.m., and Tuesday, April 26, 9 - 11 p.m.)

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 04/22/11 @ 3:30 PM | Updated: 04/22/11 @ 3:32 PM | Permalink