After the miniseries aired, Reuters reported a 40% increase in tourism to the Exclusion Zone. And now I'm in charge." At his desk, the apparatchik then pours himself a glass of vodka from a carafe. No. They wouldn't have gone around threatening to kill everyone as they attempted to deal with the Chernobyl disaster. Most of the artistic liberties taken by Chernobyl’s creators were cleaned up and explained in the epilogue, but this urban legend remained. This has been a frustrating bone of contention for critics of the show. This intense scene is misleading in relation to the Chernobyl true story. The Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy’s 2018 book on Chernobyl reconstructs the sequence of events and assigns blame. None of the men served a complete sentence, in part due to health reasons. Legasov had been working as head of the laboratory at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. Eventually, Soviet officials were left with little choice but to acknowledge the risks posed by the RBMK nuclear reactor. This is one of the worst stereotypes in the HBO Chernobyl miniseries (the other being the ever-present KGB). "Is it war? HBO's five-part series Chernobyl is a compelling drama about one of the world's worst nuclear accidents. It made for great drama in Episode 1, but should have been cleared up at the end. The United Nations most recent findings from 2017 concluded that only 25% (5,000 cases) can be ascribed to Chernobyl radiation. But to adapt the story … They were then sent away from Chernobyl. It's been praised for its production, it's writing and the performances by the cast. Nuclear reactors can produce a blue hue from Cherenkov radiation, but that's not what caused the unique light. The producers of the mini-series "don't sanitise the disaster", Fountain wrote, but in some cases have gone too far, such as with the images of injuries caused by radiation exposure. From the production to the writing to the acting, it is unquestionably a great watch. No. No. Citizens of Belarus and the Ukraine were "exposed to doses slightly above natural background radiation levels," states the WHO. Like in the miniseries, following the explosion of Chernobyl's Reactor Number 4, they first tried using two Soviet STR-1 lunar rovers to remove the radioactive debris from the two lower level regions of the rooftop. But some volunteered to go twice or even three times," says General Nikolai Tarakanov, portrayed by Ralph Ineson in the HBO show. They were nothing like that," says former Chernobyl engineer Oleksiy Breus of the historical accuracy surrounding the show's three main antagonists. This is emphasized in the miniseries when Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson) steers him in the right direction at times as he works on the Chernobyl problem. Author Michael Shellenberger, the president of Environmental Progress who also writes about energy and the environment for publications like The New York Times and Forbes, says that nuclear disasters like Chernobyl are fictionalized because in reality they kill a relatively small number of people when compared to other man-made disasters. Such false logic was used to isolate, terrify, and stigmatize people not only in Chernobyl, but also in places like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and more recently in Fukushima. He also would not have boasted, "I'm in charge." According to his daughter, Inga Legasova, he was indeed seriously ill with radiation sickness during the last few months of his life (RT News). We're told at the end that Boris Shcherbina died at age 70 on August 22, 1990, four years and four months after he arrived at Chernobyl. In the HBO miniseries, Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) attempts to explain to Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård) and the pilot that if they fly over the reactor, either the radiation they'll be exposed to will quickly kill them or the electronics on the helicopter will be destroyed and it will fall from the sky. We're told this by Jared Harris's character, scientist Valery Legasov, who says that radiation is like "a bullet" and Chernobyl is like "three trillion bullets in the air, water and food... that won't stop firing for 50,000 years." Chernobyl concludes with a dramatic trial that mixes in flashbacks to the accident with audiences seeing the cause for the first time from inside the power plant. Chernobyl wasn't belching out clouds of thick black smoke. Rather than worry about the actors using accents that could be poorly done or hard to understand, they decided to just use the natural accents of the actors, for the most part. "Their characters are distorted and misrepresented, as if they were villains. This isn't to say that Chernobyl deaths weren't tragic, not to mention the health consequences, but in reality, nuclear accidents haven't been all that deadly.The Chernobyl miniseries attempts to arouse our fears, in part by playing on the fact that nuclear disasters remind us of nuclear bombs. Approximately 50,000 Chernobyl refugees died from alcoholism, heart disease and suicide in the decades following the accident. It's hard to say how many millions more lives could have been saved if fact and not fiction had won the battle for the public's perception of nuclear energy. However, the lava never reached the pad. The Oxford review found that research that does show an increase in birth defects fails to include "data about confounding risk factors such as maternal alcohol intake and diet." This is an inaccurate portrayal of Soviet life in the 1980s. Nobody gave us any information but we knew it was serious. Similar films like 1979's The China Syndrome helped to fuel paranoia over the safety of nuclear energy, which contributed to the halting of the construction of nuclear power plants and the burning of more fossil fuels instead.Since nuclear power is an abundant, low-carbon source of energy, studies have calculated that 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths to date have been prevented as a result of using nuclear energy. A fleet of 1,200 buses carried more than 49,000 people out of Pripyat never to return. It is impossible to know exactly how many civilians died as a result of cancer from radiation exposure in the affected areas. Alas, the trial is not exactly historically accurate. The miners were essentially preventing a possibility that never happened. No. The Guardian interviewed former Pripyat resident Pasha Kondratiev in 2016. This creates a great deal of tension that is largely fictional. Vladimir Naumov, who was part of the mining crew, says that some of the miners took off their shirts (The Heroes of Chernobyl). Yes. The series is again attempting to weaponize the radiation to remind us of warfare.Radiation isn't like a bullet. He addressed his grievances over its handling, including the accusation that Soviet security had prevented plant operators from knowing about earlier accidents with RBMK reactors. However, the real Legasov was assisted by dozens, if not hundreds, of scientists who worked on the problem of Chernobyl. Before you were Deputy Secretary, you worked in a shoe factory." For example, Alexander Yuvchenko, the man who props open the door to the reactor hall in the HBO miniseries, begins to bleed excessively in patches on his body. Many of them were imprisoned for their outspokenness. A short time later, they watch as a helicopter assigned to drop a mixture of sand, clay and boron heads over the reactor. Though that particular speech is fiction, it's in line with the bureaucratic indirectness of Soviet speech, favoring the "fruits of labor" over the individuals who produced them, not to mention the complete lack of concern for human life. The show does make it clear at the end of Episode 5, in the epilogue, that the character is a composite, saying: “(Valery) Legasov was aided by dozens of scientists who worked tirelessly alongside him at Chernobyl. According to eyewitness accounts, the red skin of some of the first responders is historically accurate. It appears that science has once again gone out the window in favor of dramatization. -BBCTo a large degree, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was the result of a rotting political system composed of mostly pliant men and women, who ignored precautions and blew up a reactor because they were more concerned about adhering to a system based on lies and deceit, than they were about protecting the people. What's not shown in the miniseries is that Nikolai Fomin had a mental breakdown before the trial and he attempted to kill himself. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Chernobyl is a 2019 historical drama television miniseries that revolves around the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the cleanup efforts that followed. He concluded that Chernobyl was the "apotheosis of all that was wrong in the management of the national economy and had been so for many decades. Before you watch HBO's new miniseries, 'Chernobyl,' that dramatizes the nuclear power plant disaster, here's all the facts you need to know about the real Chernobyl disaster. It is another feather in HBO’s cap and further proving the channel's claim that “it’s not TV, it’s HBO" with its TV shows. In the HBO miniseries, Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) testifies at the trial and places part of the blame on the Soviet state's "cheap" nuclear reactors. In an articlefor the newspaper on 2 June, he wrote that the first thing to understand about the show is "a lot of it is made up". There is no strong evidence that Chernobyl led to an elevation in birth defects. Copyright © 2020 HistoryvsHollywood.com, CTF Media. This was likely inspired by actual footage of the Chernobyl biorobots, which shows a man stumbling. "I need someone to explain to me how it is at all okay to live on the east coast when this is the situation." They're covered in a cloud of radioactive ash and dust that is blowing their way. The idea that a Soviet citizen would have spoken out against the state in that manner in a Soviet court is entirely far-fetched.At the IAEA Chernobyl post-accident review meeting in Vienna in August 1986, Legasov did present a somewhat candid and detailed assessment of the circumstances and consequences of the accident, but he failed to reveal his complete findings and placed most of the blame on human error coupled with poorly designed reactors. In addition to not being at the trial, he never raised his voice at Gorbachev, nor did he openly challenge the top brass of the KGB. After that (you can look up satellite and site photos of the accident) the burning reactor was only releasing a thin white vapor. Three perished at the scene and 28 died a number of weeks later. This included the aptly named "egg baskets", or codpieces.A total of 3,828 biorobots worked to clear the radioactive debris off of Chernobyl's roof. Also, the real Valery Legasov was married and had children. Chernobyl Disaster Footage & Survivor Interviews, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, See aerial footage of the Chernobyl disaster ruins, this footage of the Chernobyl helicopter crash, See footage of the Chernobyl miners tunneling under Reactor Number 4, See video of the STR-1 lunar rovers clearing radioactive debris at Chernobyl, actual footage of the Chernobyl biorobots, IAEA Chernobyl post-accident review meeting in Vienna. Some of the people living at higher elevations, who are exposed to the most bullets, like residents of Colorado, actually live longer. The miniseries puts much of the blame on the actions of one man, Chernobyl Deputy Chief Engineer Anatoly Dyatlov. The details on the actual fatalities caused by the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident are legendarily unreliable. Yet, they dug the tunnel believing it was absolutely necessary. There was a real-life meeting between the Deputy Minister of the Mining Industry and the Tula miners, which took place on May 12, 1986. The black smoke was caused by the roof fires which were extinguished on basically the first night. No. -Express.co.ukAccording to creator Craig Mazin, the trial scene was "inspired by factual circumstances" instead of being a literal version of what happened. This scene is full of stereotypical nonsense and a lack of understanding of the socioeconomic divisions in the Soviet Union. It’s a brilliant piece of storytelling and an excellent way to keep the cause a mystery until the conclusion. The nurses and doctors are adamant about her not seeing her husband for fear that she could be affected by the radiation. Russians have pointed out that the glassed-in balconies and insulated dual-pane windows visible in scenes of Pripyat would not have existed there in 1986, but that's likely more a constraint of the shooting location than a deliberate error. Share Article. Is HBO's Chernobyl historically accurate? He’s been writing about music, movies, and celebrities for most of his adult life after realizing stocking shelves in a paper warehouse in college wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. No, and thankfully, the miniseries clarifies this in its epilogue. -Chernobyl PodcastWith this perhaps being the biggest deviation from the Chernobyl true story, it's evident that Legasov wasn't the martyr figure that the miniseries makes him out to be. It was completely destroyed and there was a cloud of smoke coming from it. Each biorobot brought to Chernobyl could shovel radioactive debris for a total of approximately two minutes before they would reach their lifetime limit for radiation exposure. This is quite common in everything from Shakespeare productions to modern productions like Chernobyl. "Nuclear power plants emit no carbon dioxide and have been statistically safer than every competing energy industry, including wind turbines," notes Adam Higginbotham, author of Midnight in Chernobyl. In answering how accurate is Chernobyl, we learned that while the HBO miniseries makes it seem like more than a couple workers and firefighters were killed immediately, page 66 of the official United Nations report reveals that there were only two Chernobyl deaths in the first several hours of the explosion and neither of them succumbed to radiation. Henry Fountain, a science writer on the Climate desk of The New York Times, toured the Chernobyl plant and the exclusion zone around it in 2014. This is another case of the writers smartly keeping things clean and easy for audiences to understand the complicated nature of the trial and the very complicated scientific process that produces nuclear fission. One of the men, Valery Khodemchuk, was the … The truth about Chernobyl is that the disaster wasn't the result of one man's desire for a promotion, nor was it the collateral damage of one abusive boss. We’re bringing back some of our favorite stories of the past year. She recalls the harrowing experience in Svetlana Alexievich's Nobel Prize winning book. It is impossible to know to what extent his death was the result of radiation, but General Nikolai Tarakanov, who was in charge of the liquidators and knew Shcherbina "very well," said that Shcherbina "exposed himself to large doses of radiation, being the head of the government commission" (RT News). Despite being told it would be temporary, it is still forbidden to return. However, it's unclear whether anyone got their foot caught or fell into a puddle. HBO's Chernobyl is great television. If he did bleed, it would have had to have been due to thermal burns from the fires, steam burns, or where the hot steel door came into contact with his skin. He and his wife do wonder if the exposure is what led to their daughter Tatiana developing asthma two years later and ultimately dying from the condition at age 19. Chernobyl engineer Oleksiy Breus commented on the show's portrayal of the miners working completely in the buff, saying, "They took off their clothes, but not like it was shown in the film, not right down to nothing" (BBC). It's true that a helicopter crashed, but it happened over five months later on October 2, 1986. Viewers might see the Hollywood treatment and wonder what the relevance is outside the USSR. However, his specialty was inorganic chemistry, and though he was well-versed in the chemistry of radioactive materials, he was not an expert on the function of the RBMK Nuclear Reactor. But HBO's new series about the Chernobyl is probably about as close as you'll get. So, in the least, we know that they were cordial with one another, but we don't know anything more about a potential friendship. According to Midnight in Chernobyl author Adam Higginbotham, Soviet scientists "were well aware of the faults of the RBMK reactor years before the accident" and "reactor specialists came down from Moscow within 36 hours of the explosion and quickly pinpointed its probable cause." Russian journalist Alexander Kots, who is well-informed on the disaster, says that the miners working in the buff while tunneling under the reactor is fiction.In researching the true story behind the Chernobyl miniseries, we learned that the miners' work was for nothing. Disregarding the images that have clearly been Photoshopped, many display the effects of other diseases and conditions that people have blamed the Chernobyl disaster for. Although the rovers worked for a total of around 10 hours, they ultimately succumbed to radiation exposure and failed. 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