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Thirty years ago the world’s worst nuclear accident happened in Ukraine. A radioactive cloud rose three miles in the air and was blown around the world.

Thousands of people are estimated to have died as a result and a large area of land was left as a wilderness, too dangerous for human life and slowly repopulated by wild animals.

The story of the human errors that led to the explosion – and the devastating consequences will be recalled in a performance of songs, poetry and historical narrative in St Albans on Tuesday May 3rd.

At the centre of the event will be the award-winning poems in Heavy Water written by Mario Petrucci – based on transcripts of the survivors. These will be performed at the Maltings Arts Theatre by members of the Company Ten.

Music to allow time for reflection will come from Jenny McNaught and Alan Halse of Redbourn Folk Club. And there will be a historical narration outlining the bizarre catalogue of human errors before and after the event.

Simon Bowden of Ver Poets says:”Mario has written a wonderful and terrifying sequence of poems, set in the mouths of those most closely affected. They show how people’s lives were transformed in the cataclysm – and how they responded.

“But the poems also raise an issue – is nuclear power simply too dangerous for us to use as a source of energy? Opinion is divided. We will be hearing from the poet himself, Mario Petrucci – and Professor Richard Bruckdorfer on the pros and cons of nuclear energy in the age of global warming.

“Our audience will hear some great music and poetry, which shows how human beings react to an ultimate horror. But we want to be fair and balanced – and leave a question for everyone – when you turn on the light switch or the heating or a computer, who might pay the price?”

The evening starts at 7.30 pm and advance tickets are available from the Malting theatre website for £7.