Chernobyl (2019) mini TV Series: 5 episodes

Gary

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Also, I'm told that a dozen or so Russian-made docu-dramas on Chernobyl have been made, beginning soon after the event in the 1980s, so this notion that 'the Americans beat the Russians to the TRUTH about Chernobyl' is unfounded.
Indeed. This RT documentary about Chernobyl's 1986 blast was released in back in 2008.

Chernobyl blast: Valery Legasov's battle

 

Approaching Infinity

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Why are those who were directly affected by this 'catastrophe' among the least militant about banning or limiting nuclear power?

Correlated with this, why is Russia the leading advocate/builder/trader of nuclear energy today, when other countries which were only indirectly affected by Chernobyl either temporarily banned it or drastically cut back on it?

The fact that wildlife in this 'nuclear wasteland for thousands or millions of years' is basically fine after just 33 suggests that there's a significant gap between public perception of the horrors of nuclear energy and the reality.
I haven't looked too deeply at the issue yet. From the outside looking in at the topic, I've seen plenty of activists against nuclear over the years. Their perspective seemed to be that nuclear is the worst thing imaginable, obviously so, and anyone who disagrees must be an idiot or pure evil. But like you said above, it's entirely possible that there's a very large gap between public perception and reality. I saw this article a few days ago, for instance:


Excerpts:
This is a point that the creator of “Chernobyl,” Craig Mazin, has stressed. “The lesson of Chernobyl isn’t that modern nuclear power is dangerous,” he tweeted. “The lesson is that lying, arrogance, and suppression of criticism are dangerous.”
...
Having now watched all five episodes of “Chernobyl,” and seen the public’s reaction to it, I think it’s obvious that the mini-series terrified millions of people about the technology.
...
Many thought the mini-series was, indeed, about nuclear power.
...

What “Chernobyl” Gets Wrong

In interviews around the release of HBO’s “Chernobyl,” screenwriter and show creator Mazin insisted that his mini-series would stick to the facts. "I defer to the less dramatic version of things,” Mazin said, adding, “you don’t want to cross a line into the sensational."

In truth, “Chernobyl” runs across the line into sensational in the first episode and never looks back.

In one episode, three characters dramatically volunteer to sacrifice their lives to drain radioactive water, but no such event occurred.

“The three men were members of the plant staff with responsibility for that part of the power station and on shift at the time the operation began,” notes Adam Higginbotham, author of, Midnight in Chernobyl, a well-researched new history. “They simply received orders by telephone from the reactor shop manager to open the valves.”

Nor did radiation from the melted reactor contribute to the crash of a helicopter, as is strongly suggested in “Chernobyl.” There was a helicopter crash but it took place six months later and had nothing to do with radiation. One of the helicopter’s blades hit a chain dangling from a construction crane.

The most egregious of “Chernobyl” sensationalism is the depiction of radiation as contagious, like a virus. The scientist-hero played by Emily Watson physically drags away the pregnant wife of a Chernobyl firefighter dying from Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS).

“Get out! Get out of here!” Watson screams, as though every second the woman is with her husband she is poisoning her baby.

But radiation is not contagious. Once someone has removed their clothes and been washed, as the firefighters were in real life, and in “Chernobyl,” the radioactivity is internalized.

It is conceivable that blood, urine, or sweat from a victim of ARS could result in some amount of harmful exposure (not infection) but there is no scientific evidence that such a thing occurred during the treatment of Chernobyl victims.

Why, then, do hospitals isolate radiation victims behind plastic screens? Because their immune systems have been weakened and they are at risk of being exposed to something they can’t handle. In other words, the contamination threat is the opposite of that depicted in “Chernobyl.”

The baby dies. Watson says, “The radiation would have killed the mother, but the baby absorbed it instead.” Mazin and HBO apparently believe such an event actually occurred.

HBO tries to clean-up some of the sensationalism with captions at the very end of the series. None note that claiming a baby died by “absorbing” radiation from its father is total and utter pseudoscience.

There is no good evidence that Chernobyl radiation killed a baby nor that it caused any increase in birth defects.

“We’ve now had a chance to observe all the children that have been born close to Chernobyl,” reported UCLA physician Robert Gale in 1987, and “none of them, at birth, at least, has had any detectable abnormalities.”

Indeed, the only public health impact beyond the deaths of the first responders was 20,000 documented cases of thyroid cancer in those aged under 18 at the time of the accident.

The United Nations in 2017 concluded that only 25%, 5,000, can be attributed to Chernobyl radiation (paragraphs A-C). In earlier studies, the UN estimated there could be up to 16,000 cases attributable to Chernobyl radiation.

Since thyroid cancer has a mortality rate of just one percent, that means the expected deaths from thyroid cancers caused by Chernobyl will be 50 to 160 over an 80-year lifespan.

At the end of the show, HBO claims there was “a dramatic spike in cancer rates across Ukraine and Belarus,” but this too is wrong.

Residents of those two countries were “exposed to doses slightly above natural background radiation levels,” according to the World Health Organization. If there are additional cancer deaths they will be “about 0.6% of the cancer deaths expected in this population due to other causes.”

Radiation is not the superpotent toxin “Chernobyl” depicts. In episode one, high doses of radiation make workers bleed, and in episode two, a nurse who merely touches a firefighter sees her hand turn bright red, as though burned. Neither thing occurred or is possible.

“Chernobyl” ominously depicts people gathered on a bridge watching the Chernobyl fire. At the end of the series, HBO claims, “it has been reported that none survived. It is now known as the "Bridge of Death.”

But the “Bridge of Death” is a sensational urban legend and there is no good evidence to support it.

“Chernobyl” is as misleading for what it leaves out. It gives the impression that all Chernobyl first responders who suffered Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) died. In reality, 80 percent of those with ARS survived.

It’s clear that even highly educated and informed viewers, including journalists, mistook much of “Chernobyl” fiction for fact.
...

Why “Chernobyl” Got Nuclear So Wrong
...
In the end, HBO’s “Chernobyl” gets nuclear wrong for the same reason humankind as a whole has been getting it wrong for over 60 years, which is that we’ve displaced our fears of nuclear weapons onto nuclear power plants.

In reality, Chernobyl proves why nuclear is the safest way to make electricity. In the worst nuclear power accidents, relatively small amounts of particulate matter escape, harming only a handful of people.

During the rest of the time, nuclear plants are reducing exposure to air pollution, by replacing fossil fuels and biomass. It’s for this reason that nuclear energy has saved nearly two million lives to date.

If there is a silver lining to “Chernobyl” and pseudoscientific dreck like MIT professor Kate Brown’s book, Manual for Survival, it’s come in the form of newly outspoken radiation scientists and honest journalists like Higgenbotham.
And I've noticed in recent months that Scott Adams has been pushing nuclear as the safest energy, in reference to the climate change/renewable energy debate. Just throwing this stuff out there. Like I said, I haven't looked at it very deeply yet.
 

Windmill knight

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For Spanish speakers. A Spanish youtuber went for a visit to the exclusion zone in Pripyat and even got inside the power plant - not the building of reactor 4, which exploded and is now covered by a structure, but he did go to the building of reactor 3. At first I thought the guy was crazy, having probably sneaked in for the sake of youtube views. But when watching it, it turns out that there's an organization that guides people with special permits in as a sort of 'tour'! Yes, there is still lots of radiation, and they have to carry their gizmo meters at all times, and inside the plant they need to wear a mask, gown, gloves and protection for shoes. There are checkpoints where people are controlled for their personal radiation levels for face, hands, feet, etc. And they need to refrain from touching anything and are required to wash their hands with cold water in the end. But they're still basically tourists and some people seem to work there on a daily basis. I was quite surprised that after only 33 years the place didn't seem to be anywhere nearly as bad as I expected.

Here's the video in 2 parts:


 

mkrnhr

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Haven't seen the series yet (will make time for it sometime). I wonder however if they didn't include the errors on purpose. If they have said from the beginning that it's a work of fiction or a drama, none of this debate would have been possible. The way the safety of a nuclear accident would play out is its extrapolation to Fukushima, the use of depleted uranium in civilian bombings (Yougoslavia, Iraq, etc.) and to nuclear explosions in the atmosphere. And if nuclear pollution is safe, therefore smoking is bad.
 
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Laura

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Haven't seen the series yet (will make time for it sometime). I wonder however if they didn't include the errors on purpose. If they have said from the beginning that it's a work of fiction or a drama, none of this debate would have been possible. The way the safety of a nuclear accident would play out is its extrapolation to Fukushima, the use of depleted uranium in civilian bombings (Yougoslavia, Iraq, etc.) and to nuclear explosions in the atmosphere. And if nuclear pollution is safe, therefore smoking is bad.
A few peeps here watched part of it, but it was so full of over-dramatization and egregious errors, they said they weren't going to finish it as it was a waste of time.

It's obviously anti-nuclear power propaganda.
 

Joe

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A few peeps here watched part of it, but it was so full of over-dramatization and egregious errors, they said they weren't going to finish it as it was a waste of time.

It's obviously anti-nuclear power propaganda.
Just for comparison, it's estimated that during the nuclear bomb testing by nuclear powers, about 1,000 times more radiation was released as that released by Chenobyl.
 

genero81

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Dmitry Orlov has a fairly long and very interesting essay about nuclear reactor accidents, including both Fukushima and Chernobyl, and specifically about this TV series, which is at: Nuclear Meltdown at HBO .
Very interesting! I would not have guessed that, but it makes a lot of sense. I guess that's why it "takes a village" (network) to get to the truth of things.
 

luc

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About nuclear power... I'm no expert either, but here are a few thoughts.

First, it is important to understand that the so-called alternative/renewable energy is a scam from start to finish. It doesn't work, it cannot work, and it will never work. All it does is mess up the grid, cause serious health issues, divide the population, make some people rich on the taxpayer's dime and waste resources. It's fantasy and insanity. (There are some details in this thread.)

So what are the other options for energy production? Coal, gas and nuclear, basically. Coal has its issues because it causes serious air pollution (not the CO2 nonsense, but real pollution). Gas is great: it can produce lots of electricity, plus it can be dynamically increased or decreased depending on the load. You can't do that with coal or nuclear.

As for the "renewable" thing, in the Western world, people believe that oil and gas are finite. Russian science (in line with what the Cs said) believes that the gas/oil reserves are constantly repleted, i.e. they ARE a form of renewable energy.

However, gas is also widely used for heating, so I suspect the supply just isn't enough to produce the electricity necessary for an industrialized country/continent.

Anyway, if the above premises are true, then there IS no alternative to nuclear power at the moment. It must be part of the mix.

But - what about the apocalyptic danger of nuclear energy? Well, if you look at the official death tolls from nuclear accidents, they are minuscule. There's a wikipedia page with details. For example, a UN report lists a total of 45 confirmed deaths as a result of the Chernobyl incident - in 2008! The WHO issued a report that estimated cancer-deaths as a result of Chernobyl to be 4000, and a report by the German Green party estimates 30-60 thousand deaths, and a Greenpeace report 600k. But frankly, these latter numbers are probably motivated by ideology and have little basis in reality. So yeah, accidents can happen, and they might even cause some issues, but it's NOT the planet-destroying madness the Green ideologues want us to believe it is.

Fun fact: More people died from wind energy in 2012 than from nuclear energy...

An article called It goes completely against what most believe, but out of all major energy sources, nuclear is the safest sums it up like this:

Discussions with regards to energy safety often incite the question of: how many died from the nuclear incidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima? We addressed this question in a separate blog post. In summary: estimates vary but the death toll from Chernobyl is likely to be of the order of tens of thousands. For Fukushima, the majority of deaths are expected to be related to induced stress from the evacuation process (standing at 1600 deaths) rather than from direct radiation exposure.

As stand-alone events these impacts are large. However, even as isolated, large-impact events, the death toll stands at several orders of magnitude lower than deaths attributed to air pollution from other traditional energy sources—the World Health Organization estimates that 3 million die every year from ambient air pollution, and 4.3 million from indoor air pollution.15 As so often is the case, single events that make headlines overshadow permanent risks that result in silent tragedies.
And all of this is assuming that the accidents in nuclear power plants were genuine and nothing fishy was going on, which probably was. Plus, as far as I know nuclear technology has improved a lot over the years, so keep that in mind.

All in all, my conclusion so far is this: Gas and nuclear are the way to go to power civilization. But wait... aren't those Russkies doing exactly that?? Surely that must be because they are evil and crazy!!
 

Hi_Henry

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As for the "renewable" thing, in the Western world, people believe that oil and gas are finite. Russian science (in line with what the Cs said) believes that the gas/oil reserves are constantly repleted, i.e. they ARE a form of renewable energy.
Luc, in places where I worked we saw no such effect. Production for wells dropped with time and that was it. As an example, Indonesia is importing oil because it is no longer a net exporter oil producing nation. No refilling of reservoirs.

30473
 

Beau

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Luc, in places where I worked we saw no such effect. Production for wells dropped with time and that was it. As an example, Indonesia is importing oil because it is no longer a net exporter oil producing nation. No refilling of reservoirs.
I don't think the abiotic oil theory posits that existing wells will just be refilled. Rather that the Earth is constantly producing oil/gas and while reservoirs may get used up, there will be new wells to tap around the world.

As an aside, proponents against abiotic energy production don't seem to consider that other planets in our solar system are also producing hydrocarbons without any biological intermediate forms, as well as comets that contain massive amounts of organic compounds.
 

Pashalis

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Anyway, if the above premises are true, then there IS no alternative to nuclear power at the moment. It must be part of the mix.
Well, if you deindustrialize the globe and put our civilization back to horseback times, then it is possible. It seems some high ranking "green" people think that exactly this is a good idea; basically destroying what makes our civilization able to exists as it does today.

Plus, as far as I know nuclear technology has improved a lot over the years, so keep that in mind.
It has indeed and Russia as far as I know has introduced and/or is working on much safer nuclear plants. Guess what though; the westerners don't seem to be willing to work with this technology. Their fault.

All in all, my conclusion so far is this: Gas and nuclear are the way to go to power civilization. But wait... aren't those Russkies doing exactly that?? Surely that must be because they are evil and crazy!!
Russia is obviously ahead in this and doesn't fall for the "green" BS all over the west now. As for the idea that oil is bad for the environment; recently it came to my attention that oil actually seeps out of the oceans daily in big quantities naturally and nature handles it actually quite well and even feeds on it, like forever. So much for the oil scare!

Luc, in places where I worked we saw no such effect. Production for wells dropped with time and that was it. As an example, Indonesia is importing oil because it is no longer a net exporter oil producing nation. No refilling of reservoirs.
Well, I'm not so sure that this is proof that oil isn't a renewable energy source. I can't find the source at the moment, but I read somewhere that in the oil business there is something that is called "peak oil" and other parameters that don't seem to match with reality more often than not.

Here is what L. Fletcher Prouty who wrote "The Secret Team" had to say about it back when he was still around. It does sound like he knows what he is talking about:

 

Hi_Henry

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Rather that the Earth is constantly producing oil/gas and while reservoirs may get used up, there will be new wells to tap around the world.
I have no problem with that. The Bazhanov Shale is the best know to be slowly (noticable) releasing oil to upper zones. In effect "refilling". But by the time the refill happens to levels we need today it will be at a far away point in time meaningless to anything we do today.

Climate has always changed and the Earth structure was never constant. But there are people in this World who want to make money on "fighting to stop XXX". Anyone that believes them is ......
 

Approaching Infinity

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Plus, as far as I know nuclear technology has improved a lot over the years, so keep that in mind.
Yep. Not sure if you're talking about improvements to existing tech (Gen II and III), or new stuff in the works, but apparently there are some Generation IV ideas that are being hyped as super-safe - no possibility of meltdown. For example:


That's the stuff Scott Adams has been talking about recently.
 
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