June 3, 2019. Are they bombing?" In reality, once all the radioactive clothing he was wearing was removed and his skin was washed, there is no serious radiation threat to those around them. 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. The miniseries also exaggerates the delayed response and the denial of the Soviet government. This includes the helicopter crash, the miners digging under the reactor, and the biorobots clearing the roof. The trial was heavily compressed for the film. There was a public trial and most of the facts of that trial are correct on the show, but there is some serious dramatic license taken here too. Before building began, the area was covered in two meters of uncontaminated soil. Fans of the show took to Twitter to express similar fears, with some Googling the closest nuclear power plants. The miniseries relies heavily on the stereotypical notion that the Soviet state used the fear of being shot (or executed in other ways) as a persuasive tool. This is one of the worst stereotypes in the HBO Chernobyl miniseries (the other being the ever-present KGB). Share Article. -Forbes. No. 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." 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. Their scenes together are entirely imagined, and the part they played in the response to the disaster was reworked and amplified to keep the plot moving along. ; Based on real events, creator Craig Mazin wanted the show to be as true to life as possible. This is a gross exaggeration. In the miniseries, Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) repeatedly warns Soviet politician Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård) that the radiation will shorten his life. Unfortunately, with HBO's miniseries, Hollywood is once again attempting to steer the public's perception through the use of fiction and fear. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was built between 1970 and and 1983, and located in the then-Soviet controlled Ukraine, 68 miles north of Kiev. Illustrated | Liam Daniel/HBO, AP Photo "We live in a time where people seem to be re-embracing … Yes. Khomyuk's gender, however, is somewhat realistic. However, the lava never reached the pad. "I'm in a full blown panic," wrote Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Sarah Todd after watching the first episode. The other three reactors continued to operate after the accident. Chernobylhas become one of the most talked about TV series of the year and fans are keen to know how accurate it is to the actual events and which bits were made up for television. The first thing to understand about the HBO mini-series “Chernobyl, ” which concludes its five-part run on Monday, is that a lot of it is made up. Nobody gave us any information but we knew it was serious. They were nothing like that," says former Chernobyl engineer Oleksiy Breus of the historical accuracy surrounding the show's three main antagonists. 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. If it were, we'd all be dead since we're constantly being shot by radiation bullets from cosmic rays that strike the Earth from outer space. The scientists were basing the project on probabilities. The only evidence is a photo of the two men looking at each other and smiling. The United Nations report attributes 31 deaths directly to the disaster. An estimated 700 tons of radioactive graphite had been blown around the plant during the explosion. Add to that the 100,000 to 200,000 terminated pregnancies that were largely the result of fear (rather than fact), and the sensationalism in both Hollywood and the media becomes far more troubling.Turning nuclear power into a horror movie villain might terrify audiences and make for good entertainment, but it's far from the Chernobyl true story. After that (you can look up satellite and site photos of the accident) the burning reactor was only releasing a thin white vapor. No. All health and epidemiological studies have concluded that long-term mental health effects led to far more health issues and deaths outside the immediate area than radiation ever did. Nuclear reactors can produce a blue hue from Cherenkov radiation, but that's not what caused the unique light. Warning: Contains Spoilers There’s an abundance of positives about HBO and Sky’s new show Chernobyl, but there are also a few plot points which are … They faced similar denunciation as Legasov, in addition to arrest and imprisonment. A fleet of 1,200 buses carried more than 49,000 people out of Pripyat never to return. Though Legasov (Jared Harris) tells Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård) this in the HBO miniseries, fact-checking Chernobyl reveals that Legasov actually wasn't an expert on Chernobyl's reactors. The United Nations most recent findings from 2017 concluded that only 25% (5,000 cases) can be ascribed to Chernobyl radiation. This is quite common in everything from Shakespeare productions to modern productions like Chernobyl. Then watch an interview with the miniseries' main villain, Anatoly Dyatlov. Soviet and Ukrainian records are notoriously poor and no one really knows how many people were affected by the radiation emitted during the accident, nor are there accurate studies showing the long-term effects, but there is significant evidence that the fallout has not been as deadly as it was anticipated to be, and it’s highly unlikely that everyone on the bridge was fatally affected. But HBO's new series about the Chernobyl is probably about as close as you'll get. 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". Every gram of U-235 holds over a billion trillion of these bullets. In the miniseries, the elderly Bolshevik tells the men at the emergency meeting, "We seal off the city. Most notably, Jared Harris’ character, Valery Legasov, was not actually at the trial and did not present the damning evidence that convicted the men responsible for the failed test that caused the explosion and meltdown. The series certainly implies his death was the result of radiation exposure, but in reality, an official cause of death for Shcherbina has never been released. 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. He responds, "Yes, I worked in a shoe factory. Chernobyl, a 5-part series on HBO with 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, will have its season finale tonight at 9 p.m. 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. A Soviet scientist would not have traveled to Chernobyl uninvited or took it upon themselves to investigate the accident. 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. The USSR had a history of training females for STEM positions.Like Valery Legasov (and Ulana Khomyuk in the miniseries), some of the other scientists who worked on the Chernobyl problem spoke out against the Soviet Union's official account of events. Ulana Khomyuk, played by Emily Watson in Chernobyl, is not based on one real person, unlike most of the other main players in the story. He would have worked in an office at the factory. 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 series was created and written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. Many of those scientists, like Ulana in the show, were the first to speak out against the dangers that the reactors like the ones in Chernobyl were dangerous. To house some of the people who were displaced, a new city composed of eight districts was built 30 miles northeast of the Chernobyl plant. The HBO miniseries Chernobyl, which recently wrapped up its five-episode run, has been met with widespread acclaim and praise from critics and viewers. 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. Hugh Scott doesn’t believe aliens are hidden at Area 51 or that Elvis is alive, but he does believe birds are real and Meghan Markle isn’t treated fairly by the tabloids. 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. No, and thankfully, the miniseries clarifies this in its epilogue. The true story reveals that a few of them didn't have helmets and some of them didn't have jackets, so they were just walking around in t-shirts. The reactor wasn't "burning" fuel, so there wouldn't have been any carbon to be causing smoke like that. -The New York Times. That is how we keep the people from undermining the fruits of their own labor." Editor’s pick: best of 2019. He then commits suicide in his … By using a character that audiences were already familiar with to explain what happened in a very basic way, it was much easier to digest the information. Of course, if you type "Chernobyl birth defects" into Google, you'll find plenty of troubling images and websites that display them. "He gave us 24 hours to gather our belongings," says miner Vladimir Naumov (, Lyudmilla Ignatenko did lose her husband and four-hour-old baby. A 1988 Soviet decree prohibited doctors from listing radiation as a cause of death or sickness. The HBO series "Chernobyl" gets plenty of things right about the nuclear power plant disaster that most likely exposed hundreds of thousands of people to radiation. No. Breus admits that Dyatlov was strict but says that he was "still a high-level professional." The Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy’s 2018 book on Chernobyl reconstructs the sequence of events and assigns blame. Depending on their total exposure, some of the men chose to go out on the roof more than once. Luckily, the show is not and the dramatic license is used tastefully and respectfully. The firefighters also reportedly complained of tasting metal as they battled the fire. However, it's unclear whether anyone got their foot caught or fell into a puddle. Chernobyl has been a critical success on HBO, we spoke to experts in the nuclear industry about how accurate the show actually was. Citizens of Belarus and the Ukraine were "exposed to doses slightly above natural background radiation levels," states the WHO. 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