Yet, they dug the tunnel believing it was absolutely necessary. Share Article. Approximately 50,000 Chernobyl refugees died from alcoholism, heart disease and suicide in the decades following the accident. 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. The HBO miniseries Chernobyl, which recently wrapped up its five-episode run, has been met with widespread acclaim and praise from critics and viewers. At the end of Episode 5, in the epilogue, the show states “Of the people who watched from the railway bridge, it has been reported that none survived. He was 51. Some of the people living at higher elevations, who are exposed to the most bullets, like residents of Colorado, actually live longer. However, the lava never reached the pad. Yes. The Guardian interviewed former Pripyat resident Pasha Kondratiev in 2016. Chernobyl spreads its attention to the local residents, and the miners called in to quick-fix a meltdown deterrent, and the soldiers tasked with clearing out the infected creatures from the dead zone. https://www.newsweek.com/hbo-chernobyl-fact-vs-fiction-1416474 Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) later makes references to the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed a combined total of 129,000–226,000 people. Although the rovers worked for a total of around 10 hours, they ultimately succumbed to radiation exposure and failed. A quick Chernobyl fact check reveals that in real life, Legasov wasn't present at the trial. The Soviet press simply said that he passed away after "a serious illness" (Express.co.uk). No. Yes. 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. The reactor wasn't "burning" fuel, so there wouldn't have been any carbon to be causing smoke like that. 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). We’re bringing back some of our favorite stories of the past year. 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. They had been assigned to dig out an area under the concrete pad so that a heat exchanger (refrigeration unit) could be installed that would cool the space above it using liquid nitrogen. They faced similar denunciation as Legasov, in addition to arrest and imprisonment. Natasha Yuvchenko, wife of Chernobyl engineer Alexander Yuvchenko (the man who held the steel door open), says that for many years people literally ran away from them, afraid of being contaminated (The Guardian).In addition, those who were exposed to elevated radiation outside the vicinity of Chernobyl were four times more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In real life, how it affected their health would have depended on how long each resident remained outside watching and how much radioactive debris was actually reaching them during that time. What's not shown in the miniseries is that Legasov had attempted suicide prior and recovered in the hospital. Summary executions were not common in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin in 1953. 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. Chernobyl is a fantastic miniseries and it won’t be a surprise if it cleans up at the Emmy Awards in September. It's true that Legasov dictated his memoirs about the disaster into a recording machine. Soviet scientists spent several years working to raise awareness about the reactor's design flaws, which led to the Chernobyl disaster. He would have worked in an office at the factory. 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. This intense scene is misleading in relation to the Chernobyl true story. 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. No. It was named Slavutych. -Express.co.ukAccording to creator Craig Mazin, the trial scene was "inspired by factual circumstances" instead of being a literal version of what happened. No. The miniseries implying that radiation is contagious like a virus is essentially zombie logic, that anyone who suffers from radiation poisoning is therefore poisonous themselves. Before you were Deputy Secretary, you worked in a shoe factory." An estimated 700 tons of radioactive graphite had been blown around the plant during the explosion. In Episode 2, Emily Watson's character, Ulyana Khomyuk, tells an apparatchik (Communist Party official), "I am a nuclear physicist. This was another conscious choice by Chernobyl’s creators. But some volunteered to go twice or even three times," says General Nikolai Tarakanov, portrayed by Ralph Ineson in the HBO show. This is also a smart decision, because everyone understands that this is a dramatic recreation and there is no reason to get bogged down in distracting accidents. Implying that radiation caused spontaneous bleeding seems to be a way to conflate the victims of the disaster with victims of war or a horror movie, only here the radiation is the enemy. The scientists were basing the project on probabilities. Before building began, the area was covered in two meters of uncontaminated soil. The new town of Slavutych was built to house the workers. This has been a frustrating bone of contention for critics of the show. It was completely destroyed and there was a cloud of smoke coming from it. 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. It’s a brilliant piece of storytelling and an excellent way to keep the cause a mystery until the conclusion. Very early on in Episode 1 of Chernobyl, a scene shows many of the townspeople gathering on a railroad overpass to watch. HBO's limited series Chernobyl is nominated for 19 Emmys. Organizations like Greenpeace place the number much higher (93,000), but their estimates are arguably elevated for political reasons. This is most often shown in the scenes with the character Lyudmilla Ignatenko, played wonderfully by Jessie Buckley. No, and thankfully, the miniseries clarifies this in its epilogue. Most of the artistic liberties taken by Chernobyl’s creators were cleaned up and explained in the epilogue, but this urban legend remained. 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. 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." Just how people have blamed vaccines for autism simply because the vaccine had been given at some point prior to a child being diagnosed, Chernobyl has similarly at times been blamed for birth defects.The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission's report concluded, "The available evidence does not show any effect on the number of adverse pregnancy outcomes, delivery complications, stillbirths or overall health of children among the families living in the most contaminated areas." -The New York Times, There is little evidence that scientist Valery Legasov and the chairman of the Chernobyl commission, Boris Shcherbina, developed a close friendship. Nobody gave us any information but we knew it was serious. Many of them were imprisoned for their outspokenness. "He gave us 24 hours to gather our belongings," says miner Vladimir Naumov (, Lyudmilla Ignatenko did lose her husband and four-hour-old baby. Audiences are preoccupied by how much of HBO's Chernobyl really happened. Yes. Our fact check confirmed that the real Valery Legasov hung himself on April 26, 1988, two years after the Chernobyl disaster (his body was found by his son on the 27th). The chance of the groundwater being contaminated was too great to not carry out the project. A fireman picked up a piece of graphite that had come from the core of Chernobyl's Reactor Number 4 when it exploded. 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. No. Depending on their total exposure, some of the men chose to go out on the roof more than once. 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. Chernobyl on HBO and Sky Atlantic is extremely historically accurate. Breus admits that Dyatlov was strict but says that he was "still a high-level professional." "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. Instead, they "simplify" it to meet the "demands of Hollywood and … A short time later, they watch as a helicopter assigned to drop a mixture of sand, clay and boron heads over the reactor. His book describes how the investigation into Chernobyl began almost immediately on several fronts. Chernobyl disaster: the true story and real people behind the HBO series – and how many victims there were The 1986 nuclear explosion in Ukraine is revisited with a new HBO drama. Upon the conclusion of their 1987 trial, Victor Bryukhanov, Anatoly Dyatlov and Nikolai Fomin were sentenced to 10 years in a labor camp. 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. None of the men served a complete sentence, in part due to health reasons. It appears that science has once again gone out the window in favor of dramatization. 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. This scene is full of stereotypical nonsense and a lack of understanding of the socioeconomic divisions in the Soviet Union. After that (you can look up satellite and site photos of the accident) the burning reactor was only releasing a thin white vapor. 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"I could see the ruins of the reactor. Luckily, the show is not and the dramatic license is used tastefully and respectfully. However, the real Legasov was assisted by dozens, if not hundreds, of scientists who worked on the problem of Chernobyl. The Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy’s 2018 book on Chernobyl reconstructs the sequence of events and assigns blame. As with any historical depiction on film, writers and creators must make changes for the sake of drama, and Chernobyl was no different. Author Andrew Leatherbarrow, who spent five years researching the disaster for his book. Yes. 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. HBO's chilling mini-series Chernobyl tracks the minutes, hours, days and weeks that followed the devastating explosion at the nuclear power plant. According to the show's writer and creator, Craig Mazin, this actually happened. In reality, it lasted several weeks and involved lots of people who were never introduced in the series. He says their portrayal is "not a fiction, but a blatant lie." Copyright © 2020 HistoryvsHollywood.com, CTF Media. Chernobyl, a 5-part series on HBO with 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, will have its season finale tonight at 9 p.m. This is what we're told at the end of the miniseries, but according to the World Health Organization, it's not true. And now I'm in charge." Yes. This is one of the worst stereotypes in the HBO Chernobyl miniseries (the other being the ever-present KGB). The HBO Chernobyl miniseries makes it seem like Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) didn't have much help as he investigated what happened at Chernobyl, except for fellow scientist Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson). However, this is what has been reported in the media over the years, earning the bridge, which lies between the town of Pripyat and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, its nickname The Bridge of Death. She recalls the harrowing experience in Svetlana Alexievich's Nobel Prize winning book. HBO, known for outstanding drama, will begin a five-part miniseries called Chernobyl on May 6, based on the 1986 nuclear accident in the Soviet Union. No. 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. "Tell me how a nuclear reactor works or I'll have one of these soldiers throw you out of the helicopter." He also would not have boasted, "I'm in charge." Then watch an interview with the miniseries' main villain, Anatoly Dyatlov. Viewers might see the Hollywood treatment and wonder what the relevance is outside the USSR. The show's creator, Craig Mazin, says that the photo is what inspired their fictional friendship in the miniseries. 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