One of the more frustrating aspects for doctors and scientist is the depiction of the people with radiation sickness in Chernobyl. He broke his glasses and tried to slit his wrists with a piece of lens, which delayed the trial. This includes the helicopter crash, the miners digging under the reactor, and the biorobots clearing the roof. Emily Watson's character is fictional and was created to be an amalgamation of all of these individuals.Exploring the truth about Chernobyl led us to discover that Khomyuk's actions are equally fabricated. Nuclear reactors can produce a blue hue from Cherenkov radiation, but that's not what caused the unique light. Yes. 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. This has been a frustrating bone of contention for critics of the show. Had Craig Mazin, the show’s creator, stuck with the exact story, the show would have been dry, complicated, and boring for most people. 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. No. Unfortunately, with HBO's miniseries, Hollywood is once again attempting to steer the public's perception through the use of fiction and fear. 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. "He gave us 24 hours to gather our belongings," says miner Vladimir Naumov (, Lyudmilla Ignatenko did lose her husband and four-hour-old baby. 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 events and following aftermath changed the world forever — so it's no wonder HBO and Sky's new series "Chernobyl" has been met with such phenomenal intrigue. She recalls the harrowing experience in Svetlana Alexievich's Nobel Prize winning book. Ad. 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. Three perished at the scene and 28 died a number of weeks later. According to his daughter, Inga Legasova, he was indeed seriously ill with radiation sickness during the last few months of his life (RT News). How accurate is the Chernobyl miniseries on HBO to the actual events ? In Episode 2, Emily Watson's character, Ulyana Khomyuk, tells an apparatchik (Communist Party official), "I am a nuclear physicist. 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. "I need someone to explain to me how it is at all okay to live on the east coast when this is the situation." An estimated 700 tons of radioactive graphite had been blown around the plant during the explosion. The chance of the groundwater being contaminated was too great to not carry out the project. Legasov had been working as head of the laboratory at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. This scene is full of stereotypical nonsense and a lack of understanding of the socioeconomic divisions in the Soviet Union. They're covered in a cloud of radioactive ash and dust that is blowing their way. -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. 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." However, unlike what's implied in the HBO miniseries, the Chernobyl helicopter crash had nothing to do with radiation. 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. Why? 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. The Bhopal chemical disaster in 1984 claimed the lives of approximately 15,000. 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. -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. It is far easier for audiences to follow one character than dozens and it provides a way for writers to keep the story succinct. 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. There are other survivors who watched from the bridge and offer similar accounts as to what they saw. No. 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. The show's creator, Craig Mazin, says that the photo is what inspired their fictional friendship in the miniseries. -The New York Times. This is a gross exaggeration. They were then sent away from Chernobyl. "Their characters are distorted and misrepresented, as if they were villains. 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." -ForbesTo put things into perspective, the most severe energy disaster was the 1975 collapse of the Banqiao Hydroelectric Dam in China, which killed between 170,000 and 230,000 people. 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. A Soviet scientist would not have traveled to Chernobyl uninvited or took it upon themselves to investigate the accident. 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. That is how we keep the people from undermining the fruits of their own labor." Close. The city won't be suitable for human habitation again for at least 24,000 years. Oops, should have checked Wikipedia first. This reflects the HBO series' general failure to accurately depict the significant divisions between different socioeconomic classes in the Soviet Union. The truth is that Legosov presented his evidence at another time. The other three reactors continued to operate after the accident. 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. The HBO miniseries Chernobyl, which recently wrapped up its five-episode run, has been met with widespread acclaim and praise from critics and viewers. 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. further reading: HBO’s Chernobyl is More Terrifying Than You Think. He was 51. 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. 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. Posted by 1 year ago. With Jessie Buckley, Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Adam Nagaitis. After it appears to slow and possibly malfunction, its blades hit a chain dangling from a crane, which sends it crashing down. 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. In fact, it was more necessary for Chernobyl for one main reason: the show is based on a complicated scientific accident whose details would easily go beyond a layman’s understanding of how nuclear reactors and nuclear fission work. The miniseries puts much of the blame on the actions of one man, Chernobyl Deputy Chief Engineer Anatoly Dyatlov. This intense scene is misleading in relation to the Chernobyl true story. ... As can be seen from this side-by-side footage of the actual event and HBO… 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). Close. "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. Roughly 300,000 people were displaced from their homes. Depending on their total exposure, some of the men chose to go out on the roof more than once. This is fictional. 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