/ Chernobyl

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MonkeyPuzzle 26 May 2019

Has anyone else been watching this? Absolutely A+, gold star TV drama. Would be poignant if fiction, but considering that, as much as I know about Chernobyl, this is pretty much how it happened, it's gut-wrenching in its intensity.

summo 26 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I've read the film is pretty true apart from the completely fictional female head scientist who never really existed. 

Tom V 26 May 2019
In reply to summo:

Excellent and very moving. Talk about heroes!

MonkeyPuzzle 27 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

I remember reading about the divers knowingly going into the hideously radioactive water on my lunch one day and having to have a little walk before I could go back to my desk.

Post edited at 01:12
sanguine 27 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

There is a pretty decent HBO podcast on Chernobyl where the creator of the show is interviewed after each episode is released and they go through behind the scenes details, and also writing decisions they made regarding events and characters - worth a listen.

pavelk 27 May 2019
In reply to summo:

Aside from the fact that the helicopter crash happened half year later, thirty megatons steam explosion is nonsense (there was a risk of second steam explosion similar to the first one), the divers did not go to death (One of them died 2005, two are still alive. Alexei Ananenko still works in nuclear industry and wrote the memoars), no one would dare bother Michael Gorbachev with questions about few lives of ordinary people and  everything is a bit too clean and organized for the Soviet standarts of that time the film is as real as western people can make and I realy like it

btw: There are organized trips to Chernobyl and its really strange experience

http://www.chernobyl-tour.com/english/

1
summo 27 May 2019
In reply to pavelk:

I think they call it artistic licence! 

Tom V 27 May 2019
In reply to pavelk:

Not to detract further from an excellent piece of TV but real footage shows that the helicopter didn't just "fall out of the sky".  It seemed to clip a suspended cable.

Post edited at 10:08
Trangia 27 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I well remember the real Chernoble. I was back packing and wild camping in the Brecon Beacons with one of my sons, and we were totally unaware of the breaking news and the warnings being issued about not drinking from mountain streams in Wales and the West Country. So far no ill effects on either of us, although I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. 

I have often wondered if my cancer originated from this contamination, but given the high incidence of prostate cancer in men over 50, I suspect it was purely coincidental, and it is impossible to prove a link.

MonkeyPuzzle 27 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

It clipped a crane's load line in the TV programme as well if you look closely.

cb294 27 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

The effects are highly local. In some parts of Bavaria along the Czech border, even now all wild boar that are shot must first be tested for radioactive Caesium before they can be butchered. It really depends on which side of a hill they ate which plants or mushrooms, and of course where the rain showers fell that carried the radioactivity west back in 1985. In the area, soil contamination changes between natural to almost Chernobyl levels over a few dozen meters.

Last year we staid in a small hotel in Lam, and the guy running the hotel had successfully bagged nine wild boar, none of which were fit for human consumption.

That said, the thresholds are set so carefully that I would not worry about eating radioactive mushrooms or roast boar once or twice year, while the same levels in everyday food such as wheat, rye, or milk would be a problem. Similarly, brief exposure to radiation even if you did drink from a contaminated stream is unlikely to be problematic. Anyway, the prostate is an unlikely target for radioactivity induced cancer. Much more likely would be bone (caesium incorporation) or thyroid (from radioactive isotopes of iodine. 

CB

baron 27 May 2019
In reply to cb294:

It wasn’t until 2012 that some welsh farms had restrictions due to Chernobyl lifted.

pavelk 27 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

They told us nothing in Czechoslovakia. They even moved one stage of the international cycling race called Race of Peace to Kiev to show that nothing is happening

craig h 27 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I remember the event and following days well, aged 16 I was wandering around the Yorkshire Dales in torrential rain, stopping at a couple of Youth Hostels which were spring fed. The day the news broke I ended up having a couple of pints in Hawes with 2 walkers who worked at Sellafield.

I'm old enough to remember TV adverts explaining how to build your own nuclear shelter at home in the event of a missile strike, anything nuclear made the hackles stand up on the back of my neck. Since then I've worked on many nuclear power stations and now do radiography as part of my work.

I've now had 2 visits to Chernobyl, Pripyat and the surrounding area, when I first heard of the potential of the 2nd explosion and the sacrifices which went into preventing this occurring it was a real eye opener. Was lucky enough to have a chance to talk to the engineers who are still based at reactors 1, 2 and 3 as well as scientists, guides and the local work force. The second explosion is something the majority of people outside the immediate area were not aware of.

As a drama I'm enjoying it and is probably as close to the events which the mass majority will watch. Historical footage included, actual frontage of buildings which still stand in Pripyat and close to the best historical documentary I have seen about the event. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

Here's a link to the documentary, 90 minutes long but well worth the watch as it includes interviews with all the key figures involved as well as footage from the power station in the days, weeks and months afterwards.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5GTvaW34O0

If you want to see what it looks like now some photos from both of my visits. https://www.flickr.com/photos/21913923@N03/albums/72157669260013866 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/21913923@N03/albums/72157688843092365

Pursued by a bear 27 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Saving it to watch over a couple or three nights once it's finished. All reports good thus far, sounds like it'll be worth a watch.

T.

Pefa 28 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Me and a friend were camping whilst doing the Loch Lomond section of the West HW on that weekend in 1986 and yes drinking rainwater from streams running off the hills. 

I have been told by a few folk from Ukraine that they think it was sabotage at the time and have not changed their views since then. 

Post edited at 00:11
Blue Straggler 28 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> I have been told by a few folk from Ukraine that they think it was sabotage at the time and have not changed their views since then. 

Do you believe these few folk from Ukraine? Did they suggest a viable motive for such sabotage?

Wanderer100 28 May 2019
In reply to craig h:

Great photographs .

wercat 28 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

In the early 90s I carried one of these http://www.civildefensemuseum.com/southrad/brit-meter-1a.html from Keswick to Bassenthwaite via the Skiddaw House path and there appeared to be places where the background count was greatly exceeded.

When I think how many people I knew seem to have died of cancer in N Cumbria during the last 25 years it makes me think a bit.

Trangia 28 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle

Which channel is the TV drama on and what night?

althesin 28 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Great programme;

The miners who tunnelled under the reactor stand out.

The makeup for the men with the radiation poisoning in hospital is utterly gruesome, inhuman and horribly believable.

Fukushima seemed to repeat some of the same scenario.

Litvinenko suffered a similar fate to the casualties there.

Post edited at 09:22
balmybaldwin 28 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Sky Atlantic on Tuesdays

MonkeyPuzzle 28 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

As above, Sky Atlantic, or streamable on Now TV with an Entertainment Pass.

Trangia 28 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Thanks to you and Balmybaldwin.

but unfortunately I'm not able to access either.

cb294 28 May 2019
In reply to pavelk:

Similar in France, apparently the radioactive clouds stopped right at the Rhine....

CB

wercat 28 May 2019
In reply to cb294:

> Similar in France, apparently the radioactive clouds stopped right at the Rhine....

> CB

Indeed: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/chernobyl-still-causing-cancer-in-british-children-6102980.html

makes me think my old cold war meter was not lying

1
MonkeyPuzzle 28 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

If you waited until the series finishes you could buy a pass for a week and watch them all.

Rob Parsons 28 May 2019
In reply to craig h:

> I remember the event and following days well, aged 16 ...

So you were born in 1970 - right?

> I'm old enough to remember TV adverts explaining how to build your own nuclear shelter at home in the event of a missile strike ...

I associate the 'Duck and Cover' style of film with '50s America.

What adverts are you thinking about, and where did you see them?  The 'Protect and Survive' stuff (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_and_Survive) was apparently never broadcast.

1
wercat 28 May 2019
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I saw them in the 80s, not adverts but Public Information Films.   I can remember people aping the words from the films in the back of our club minibus a propos noxious rear end emissions after eggy meals in Greasy Spoons.  I always thought Runrig's Song "Protect and Survive" from that era was a reference to these well known films.

I did not, however, see the War Game film until I visited Hack Green this century.

Post edited at 17:20
craig h 28 May 2019
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Born late 68, so may have been 17 on the 26 April 1986, it was before I could dive though hence thinking 16. The adverts were on the TV, not sure which of the 3 channels it appeared on. This is and example of what was broadcast late 70's and early 80's  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0OPVi90-lg

You also had the road crossing adds, playing around a farm, construction site and by water to name a few.

Tom V 29 May 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Been rated at 9.6 by IMDB which makes it the highest scoring TV series ever.

aln 29 May 2019
In reply to wercat:

Me and a pal were hillwalking and camping around Ben Lui at the time, unbeknownst to us. Towards the end of our trip we we were vomiting and feeling very ill. We heard later that the radioactive cloud had travelled across the Scottish Highlands, I've occasionally wondered if we were affected.

Ridge 29 May 2019
In reply to aln:

If you're vomiting after a dose of radiation you've had about 1 Sievert, which is a massive dose way beyond anything you'd receive from the fallout from Chernobyl. Food poisoning or dodgy water?

cb294 30 May 2019
In reply to aln:

As ridge says, no chance. Hardly anyone in southernmost Belarus (where the first load of radiation was dumped before the wind turned) would have gotten that much. You probably would have to have been on site.

CB

Mike-W-99 30 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Our physics teacher at the time took a sample of water after it had rained from the school carpark. I can't remember what he did now but it showed the radioactive contamination had spread to NE scotland.

aln 30 May 2019
In reply to cb294:

Probably had more to do with poor dirtbag hygiene!

krikoman 30 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Why shouldn't you buy Russia underpants?

Chernobyl fallout

1
MonkeyPuzzle 30 May 2019
In reply to krikoman:

A*. Go to the top of the class.

krikoman 30 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> A*. Go to the top of the class.


I'm here all week

Tom V 30 May 2019
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

This week's episode:

To a bunch of rookie conscripts: "This will be the most important ninety seconds of your life".

Unforgettable.

Pursued by a bear 30 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

We'll aim to catch up this weekend. 

T.

balmybaldwin 30 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Jesus just caught up with this weeks episode.

"Soldier you are done"

craig h 30 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Many did more than the 90 seconds. When they ran out of manpower they sent the same lot in again, some more than twice. Even when they questioned why as they had reached their maximum dosage, the answer was we have no one else to do it.

I'm so glad this event is now being shown to a wider audience, the sacrifice many knowingly made should be told. I'm not sure those sacrifices would have been made if the event had happened in Europe or the USA, and at the time neither Europe or the USA had a better solution. 

Just watched episode 4 and still impressed with the series and the historical accuracy.

DubyaJamesDubya 31 May 2019
In reply to craig h:

> Born late 68, so may have been 17 on the 26 April 1986, it was before I could dive though hence thinking 16. The adverts were on the TV, not sure which of the 3 channels it appeared on. This is and example of what was broadcast late 70's and early 80's  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0OPVi90-lg

> You also had the road crossing adds, playing around a farm, construction site and by water to name a few.

I remember the ads being broadcast but as part of news or documentary programmes, never as actual 'adverts' on ITV etc

Rigid Raider 31 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

For anybody who's interested this is a fascinating website owned by Elena Filatova who was the daughter of a Chernobyl technician so had a good understanding of radiation. She used to enjoy riding a very powerful motorbike very fast along the deserted roads of the dead zone and her site contains some fascinating stuff including photos of the elephant's foot of molten uranium under the reactor.

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/chapter1.html

"The roads are blocked for cars, but not for motorcycles. Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want."

Post edited at 08:54
Tom V 04 Jun 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Just seen the final episode and it is a very informative and telling conclusion to what has been a memorable series: but I can't understand the IMDB rating which is now being used to promote it.

I'm pretty sure that most UKCers can nominate a British or American series which they consider better on the whole. I've just listed nine and I know there are more to come if I think back far enough.

SAF 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> I'm pretty sure that most UKCers can nominate a British or American series which they consider better on the whole. I've just listed nine and I know there are more to come if I think back far enough.

My guess would be that the high rating isn't simply about the content, style or quality of the series, but the significance the event had for a lot of people.  The other series presumably wouldn't have that if they are fiction, and wouldn't resonant with as  manyp if they were factual.

I was 5 when it happened, and remember it happening, it is the first newsworthy event of my life that I remember even if i only remember very little of it. That's pretty significant!

SAF 05 Jun 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

The quote at the end of the final episode about lies ,truths and science was very poignant, depressingly!

balmybaldwin 05 Jun 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Interesting piece on Sky news last night interviewing some of the surviving Miners. They seem to approve of the show overall and are grateful of the attention it has brought, although point out a few inconsistencies with reality (like: no -one drank vodka while they were working).

They also implied that many who wanted to go and help were turned down

Post edited at 10:54
adampoo 05 Jun 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Rated higher than Game of Thrones!  Im not sure if I agree with that.  

1
Tom V 05 Jun 2019
In reply to adampoo:

Yes, it was definitely short of tits and dragons.

Tom V 05 Jun 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Good news about the divers, though (touch wood)

balmybaldwin 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Indeed.

Just watched final episode, a fitting end to the series.

The Bravery of the people involved is pretty moving. I think 10 minutes after the credits I was still staring at the screen

JHiley 10 Jun 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Just finished this. I thought this was very well made and got a lot of things right. Based on what I've read the sequence of events triggering the explosion was quite accurately re-told. I've stood on the pile cap of a running nuclear reactor and watching those tiles 'jump' in episode 5 made me shiver. However I've also found the series very irritating at times due to the things they presented inaccurately or simply made up. Certain things they included were just sensationalist, Hollywood 'nuclear' tropes that have no basis in reality.

The claim that the reactor could explode with a force of 2-4 Megatons and the detailed description of the effects of such a blast were completely ridiculous. Nuclear reactors can't explode like nuclear bombs and 2 megatons would be much more powerful than the most powerful pure fission bomb ever made. This is a complete hollywood-ism and represents Vertical Limit/ Cliffhanger levels of stupidity.

They also strongly imply that the three guys who pumped out water to avoid a steam explosion died soon afterwards. One of them died of a heart attack in the 2000s and two are still alive now.

I found the story about the fireman and his wife particularly difficult and not just because it was horrifying. The filmmakers go out of their way to present radiation sickness as a contagious disease. People constantly tell the poor woman that if she touches her husband she or her baby will be at risk. That would be true if he was still covered in contamination but if he'd been washed there would be no risk to her. Its just another Hollywood trope. He might have some internal contamination meaning the body needs to be dealt with carefully but that wouldn't be a risk to someone touching him. I found this irritating because it promotes a sort of 'radiation terror' which affects people who've suffered radiation poisoning. In Japan people affected by the Fukushima disaster are treated with fear or even contempt/ hatred. In Brazil a radiation poisoned girl was left untreated because of people's irrational panic.

The final moments of the show makes up a story about civilians dying on a "bridge of death." This is just that: made up. Out of nowhere. In fact the show goes out of its way to imply the number of deaths were orders of magnitude higher than those actually traceable to the incident. The implication is that the Soviets covered up the majority of the deaths and that somehow this was maintained through glasnost, the chaotic 90s, the independent Ukraine and UN investigations without anyone saying anything about their missing relatives/ medical conditions. There are estimates in the thousands but these use the Lower No Threshold model for estimating radiation mortality and this is a disputed/ not proven method of estimation.

Inaccuracies like this shouldn't bother me as much but the overall theme of the series is truth/ lies so I feel like they should've more of an effort. The real disaster would've been just as horrifying and the overall message about the system would still have been valid. Episodes 1 and 5 wouldn't even change much. Instead the message is undermined.

4
JuneBob 10 Jun 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I think it's important that everyone does further research after watching "true" stories. Otherwise you just become another voice perpetuating one person's interpretation and dramatisation of real events.

I found this article a good starting point:

 https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-hbos-chernobyl-got-right-and-what-it-got-terribly-wrong

Steve Clark 10 Jun 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I like the format. Detailed & dramatic. 

Would be interesting, although horrific, to see Bhopal presented in the same way. 

Windscale would be incredible too if they could do 1950's Britain. 

Tom V 10 Jun 2019
In reply to JHiley:

The credits acknowledged that the three divers survived much longer than expected.

pavelk 10 Jun 2019
In reply to JHiley:

> Just finished this. I thought this was very well made and got a lot of things right. Based on what I've read the sequence of events triggering the explosion was quite accurately re-told.

Just a little note if I can.

The reason they were not able to stop the reactor was not because the reactor control rods had secret parts made of graphite (it was known and  had the reason to prevent water from flooding the entire reactor and keep it in full power) but because control rods shafts were deformed by heat and the rods did not plug in.

Anatoly Dyatlov wrote later that nothing indicatet any troubles. According to him they pressed the AZ-5 button simly because the experiment was over

JHiley 10 Jun 2019
In reply to JHiley:

*Linear No Threshold 

JHiley 10 Jun 2019
In reply to pavelk:

I guess they did simplify it a bit then. I did raise an eyebrow when they said the graphite was only there to save money but they got it roughly right and I was trying to say something positive.

1
steveb2006 16 Jun 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> If you waited until the series finishes you could buy a pass for a week and watch them all.

Also it seems they (Now TV) do a weeks free trial - dont know if any limitations in this - anyone tried it?

Tom V 16 Jun 2019
In reply to steveb2006:

I tried it two years ago and stuck with it. 


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