The Bhopal chemical disaster in 1984 claimed the lives of approximately 15,000. Alas, the trial is not exactly historically accurate. Much of the miniseries focuses on the heroic scientists, specifically Legasov and the fictional Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson), trying to discover what caused Chernobyl's Reactor Number 4 to fail. What's not shown in the miniseries is that Nikolai Fomin had a mental breakdown before the trial and he attempted to kill himself. Roughly 300,000 people were displaced from their homes. Had Craig Mazin, the show’s creator, stuck with the exact story, the show would have been dry, complicated, and boring for most people. He responds, "Yes, I worked in a shoe factory. Many of them were imprisoned for their outspokenness. 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. 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. HBO's Chernobyl begins with the introduction of Valery Legasov, the deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. Fans of the show took to Twitter to express similar fears, with some Googling the closest nuclear power plants. It is far easier for audiences to follow one character than dozens and it provides a way for writers to keep the story succinct. 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. -The New Yorker. Unfortunately, with HBO's miniseries, Hollywood is once again attempting to steer the public's perception through the use of fiction and fear. -Express.co.ukAccording to creator Craig Mazin, the trial scene was "inspired by factual circumstances" instead of being a literal version of what happened. 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). It was named Slavutych. Breus admits that Dyatlov was strict but says that he was "still a high-level professional." No, and thankfully, the miniseries clarifies this in its epilogue. 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 … Chernobyl has been a critical success on HBO, we spoke to experts in the nuclear industry about how accurate the show actually was. An estimated 700 tons of radioactive graphite had been blown around the plant during the explosion. 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. Chernobyl wasn't belching out clouds of thick black smoke. 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. Of course, if you type "Chernobyl birth defects" into Google, you'll find plenty of troubling images and websites that display them. "Fly the helicopter over that reactor or I'll have you shot." Discover schedule information, behind the scenes exclusives, podcast information and more. 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. 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This has been a frustrating bone of contention for critics of the show. The nurses and doctors are adamant about her not seeing her husband for fear that she could be affected by the radiation. No. 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. Copyright © 2020 HistoryvsHollywood.com, CTF Media. However, unlike what's implied in the HBO miniseries, the Chernobyl helicopter crash had nothing to do with radiation. 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. Organizations like Greenpeace place the number much higher (93,000), but their estimates are arguably elevated for political reasons. The official website for Chernobyl, the Emmy and Golden Globe winning miniseries on HBO. In addition, this was during the time of Gorbachev's Anti-Alcohol Campaign, when alcohol was sometimes not even found at weddings, let alone consumed at work by a party official. 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 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. He is shown threatening his underlings into carrying out the test, all because he wants a promotion. After the Soviet Union finally acknowledged the potentially fatal design flaws in the RBMK reactors, the remaining reactors were retrofitted to help ensure that a disaster like Chernobyl would never happen again. None of the men served a complete sentence, in part due to health reasons. Yes. Chernobyl would remain a functioning plant until it was shut down in 2000. The trial was heavily compressed for the film. It is impossible to know exactly how many civilians died as a result of cancer from radiation exposure in the affected areas. -Business Insider. HBO's five-part series Chernobyl is a compelling drama about one of the world's worst nuclear accidents. Khomyuk's gender, however, is somewhat realistic. Let’s take a deeper look. No. The firefighters also reportedly complained of tasting metal as they battled the fire. The chance of the groundwater being contaminated was too great to not carry out the project. That question can certainly apply to the miniseries as well, which has ramped up the public's fear of nuclear power by resorting to sensationalism. The Guardian interviewed former Pripyat resident Pasha Kondratiev in 2016. -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. They were nothing like that," says former Chernobyl engineer Oleksiy Breus of the historical accuracy surrounding the show's three main antagonists. 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. Contain the spread of misinformation. Approximately 50,000 Chernobyl refugees died from alcoholism, heart disease and suicide in the decades following the accident. It's also a look at the dangers of a government where politics are … Chernobyl is a fantastic miniseries and it won’t be a surprise if it cleans up at the Emmy Awards in September. Nuclear reactors can produce a blue hue from Cherenkov radiation, but that's not what caused the unique light. No one leaves. https://www.newsweek.com/hbo-chernobyl-fact-vs-fiction-1416474 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. A fleet of 1,200 buses carried more than 49,000 people out of Pripyat never to return. 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 show's creator, Craig Mazin, said that he was never able to find out how Legasov disseminated the tapes, so he just fictionalized it by having a confederate come pick them up. 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. No. His big moment in court in the miniseries is fiction. Before you were Deputy Secretary, you worked in a shoe factory." This is a gross exaggeration. A fireman picked up a piece of graphite that had come from the core of Chernobyl's Reactor Number 4 when it exploded. a plant worker asks early in the miniseries. The miniseries puts much of the blame on the actions of one man, Chernobyl Deputy Chief Engineer Anatoly Dyatlov. While there is a lot of dramatic license taken, as to be expected, the creators also took great pains to make sure that most of the basic facts of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl are historically accurate and for that they deserve a lot of credit. Audiences are preoccupied by how much of HBO's Chernobyl really happened. 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. "He gave us 24 hours to gather our belongings," says miner Vladimir Naumov (, Lyudmilla Ignatenko did lose her husband and four-hour-old baby. Also, emotions and mood … No. 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. 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. The Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy’s 2018 book on Chernobyl reconstructs the sequence of events and assigns blame. They faced similar denunciation as Legasov, in addition to arrest and imprisonment. Legasov had been working as head of the laboratory at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. The scientists were basing the project on probabilities. Instead, they "simplify" it to meet the "demands of Hollywood and … He says their portrayal is "not a fiction, but a blatant lie." 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. The truth is that Legosov presented his evidence at another time. The black smoke was caused by the roof fires which were extinguished on basically the first night. 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. 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. More on that later. 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." That is how we keep the people from undermining the fruits of their own labor." A short time later, they watch as a helicopter assigned to drop a mixture of sand, clay and boron heads over the reactor. The first time audiences see this aspect is when Lyudmilla goes to the hospital to see her very sick husband, Pripyat firefighter Vasily Ignatenko, who is dying from severe radiation sickness. The initial fear of birth defects became so bad that women who lived in areas that were subjected to low levels of Chernobyl radiation terminated 100,000 to 200,000 pregnancies in a panic. 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. No. 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. 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. 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. 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. Nor would they have found themselves in the presence of Mikhail Gorbachev at the Kremlin not long after. So, in the least, we know that they were cordial with one another, but we don't know anything more about a potential friendship. What's not shown in the miniseries is that Legasov had attempted suicide prior and recovered in the hospital. Yes. ; Based on real events, creator Craig Mazin wanted the show to be as true to life as possible. It's true that Legasov dictated his memoirs about the disaster into a recording machine. That's a good message to include to set the record straight for all the Chernobyl viewers. No. From the production to the writing to the acting, it is unquestionably a great watch. Some of the people living at higher elevations, who are exposed to the most bullets, like residents of Colorado, actually live longer. Nobody gave us any information but we knew it was serious. 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. -RT NewsIn the miniseries, we see a biorobot stumble as he's coming in from the rooftop. The show's creator, Craig Mazin, says that the photo is what inspired their fictional friendship in the miniseries. "Only one was mandatory. At its core, HBO’s “Chernobyl” is a tragic tale of heroic individuals fighting against a government designed by its nature to thwart any who oppose it. This is, of course, a common thing that happens in dramatic adaptations. No. "Is it war? Why? Yes. This is fictional. However, the lava never reached the pad. 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. In the miniseries, the elderly Bolshevik tells the men at the emergency meeting, "We seal off the city. Share Article. Given that thyroid cancer has a very low mortality rate of just one percent means that only 50 to 160 people will likely die from thyroid cancers caused by Chernobyl (of course, this doesn't mean that we should ignore the thousands who have suffered from Chernobyl-related thyroid cancer and survived).According to the United Nations findings, the total number of long-term deaths expected from Chernobyl is approximately 4,000. 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." -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. Though there is evidence that the real Dyatlov was hoping for a promotion, he is largely a fictionalized villain. No. "Their characters are distorted and misrepresented, as if they were villains. According to his daughter, Inga Legasova, he was indeed seriously ill with radiation sickness during the last few months of his life (RT News). However, the real Legasov was assisted by dozens, if not hundreds, of scientists who worked on the problem of Chernobyl. Yet, they dug the tunnel believing it was absolutely necessary. The protective homemade uniforms with lead sheets that they wore were also discarded after each use since the material became highly radioactive. But to adapt the story … The only evidence is a photo of the two men looking at each other and smiling. Vladimir Naumov, who was part of the mining crew, says that some of the miners took off their shirts (The Heroes of Chernobyl). "I could see the ruins of the reactor. Yes. Yes. 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. But some volunteered to go twice or even three times," says General Nikolai Tarakanov, portrayed by Ralph Ineson in the HBO show. Because it could happen again one day," Tweeted one viewer.Perhaps the real question should be, "What is the cost of fear?" -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. That miniseries will likely never be made. As depicted in this footage of the Chernobyl helicopter crash, the chopper's blades struck a chain that was hanging from a construction crane. 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. In Episode 2, Emily Watson's character, Ulyana Khomyuk, tells an apparatchik (Communist Party official), "I am a nuclear physicist. 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. He also would not have boasted, "I'm in charge." 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