How accurate is the Chernobyl series from the point of view of science?

Do not have time to calm down the passion aboutSuccessful / unsuccessful completion of the nine-year epic fantasy “Game of thrones”, as the American TV channel HBO together with the British Sky launched a new “bomb” in the form of a five-series mini-series “Chernobyl”, based on real events telling about one of the most terrifying nuclear disasters in the history of mankind - the explosion of the reactor of the fourth power unit of the Chernobyl NPP, which occurred on the night of April 25-26, 1986. Dozens of books have been written on this topic today, a huge number of articles and reports from eyewitnesses and participants of events. Acquaintance with the first series really leaves no doubts: the authors of the series got acquainted with a significant part of this material.

According to the creators of the series, it is based onreal stories of participants in the liquidation: Minister of Construction of Oil and Gas Enterprises of the USSR and a chemist who investigated the causes of the accident. It is their characters that we see in the series. Indeed, from the very beginning, “Chernobyl” amazes with its realism and the way the Soviet entourage is transferred from those years. Attention to detail is literally manic. And this is taking into account the fact that people who were completely close in spirit and mentality shot it. Nevertheless, some moments in it still raise questions not only from a narrative (historical), but also from a scientific point of view.

Chronology of events and not quite adequate actions of residents

At the beginning of the series shows how the inhabitants of Pripyatat night and with the children watching the fire. The camera focuses on the radioactive dust deposited on them. In reality, most residents of the city learned about the fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant only in the morning. Yes, and the families of nuclear specialists would hardly have decided to stand under the ashes of a burning nuclear power plant.

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Chronological inaccuracy is also observed inscene with a helicopter carrying a mixture to backfire a burning reactor. No, the tragic accident itself happened in reality, but much later, several months after the accident, and not the next day, as shown in the film. There is also a hint in the series that the crash of the helicopter was due to the fact that the aircraft flew too close to the reactor and received a huge dose of radiation, which knocked out its electronics. In fact, the liquidators helicopter crashed after colliding with a crane, hooking its cable.

Fire in the 4th power unit

According to the former engineer of the 4th power unit andliquidator accident Alexei Breus, in contrast to the film, to burn in the reactor was really nothing. “The nuclear reaction continued there. When people went to the reactor and looked inside in order to understand what state it was and what to do ... The film shows that they were actually forced, they did not want to, but they left. In fact, it was enough just to understand that it needs to be done. And the people themselves agreed and left. Yes, then it cost them their lives. The first, as far as I know, went Alexander Kudryavtsev, then Anatoly Sitnikov. Soon they died. ”

There were no powerful dosimeters at the Chernobyl NPP

In one of the initial episodes, after the accident,station staff are trying to measure the background radiation at the station, using weak dosimeters, showing a maximum threshold of 3.6 x-rays. According to Vladimir Mikhailov, one of the liquidators of the Chernobyl accident, there really weren’t any powerful dosimeters at the station. Just because no one imagined that this could happen.

Later in the series it was shown thatradiation in a destroyed reactor is 15,000 x-rays. In reality, on the approaches to the fourth power unit, the background at that time ranged from 1500 to 3000 roentgens. A monstrous excess of the norm, but still not 15 thousand, as shown in the series. Significantly higher values ​​were noted above the reactor itself, above the breach in the roof, from which tons of radioactive substances were erupted into the atmosphere.

The effects of radiation on the human body

Description of the collision of people with radiation authorsThe show is largely transmitted accurately. It demonstrates all the symptoms that eyewitnesses talked about: nausea, taste of metal in the mouth, of course, Eritrema, "nuclear tan" or blush, which is a consequence of radiation damage to the upper layer of the skin. This is one of the signs of acute radiation sickness. At the same time, there was a place of inaccuracy: the fireman lifting a piece of graphite from the reactor for a few seconds, and after a while he was taken away in an ambulance because of the skin peeling off his hand. The station worker keeps the steel door open and presses against her thigh, and after a moment, his trousers are soaked with blood — the metal was so irradiated. In reality, application radiation burns appear 1-3 days after the injury.

However, in general, the history of the firespecial attention is paid and at first glance it seems to be a figment of writers who want to give the plot more drama, in fact, true. This can be seen by reading the book of Belarusian journalism, and Svetlana Aleksievich, a writer and Nobel Prize winner in literature, “The Chernobyl Prayer. Chronicle of the Future. The story is written from the words of the fireman's wife.

Vavilov-Cherenkov effect

In one of the scenes of the series, a dialogue takes place betweenby two heroes, in which one says to the other that the air in the city glows, to which he replies that this is the Vavilov-Cherenkov effect. In fact, the Vavilov-Cherenkov effect is a glow that occurs in dense transparent media when high-energy particles pass through them. It can be observed, for example, in the coolant of an operating reactor, where the fluid actually glows under the influence of a stream of neutrons bombarding it.

The explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was compared with Hiroshima

The series claimed that due to a fire onThe Chernobyl nuclear power plant releases more radiation every hour to the atmosphere than from a bomb detonated in Hiroshima. However, such a comparison is not entirely correct.

The impact of radiation on the inhabitants of Hiroshima wasstraight. In other words, the dose of their exposure depended primarily on how close they were from the epicenter of the explosion. If we talk about the case of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the radiation had a long-term impact on the environment, due to emissions into the atmosphere of a huge amount of radioactive material that has spread over a large area.

In Hiroshima, the main striking factors wereflash from a nuclear explosion and the release of alpha-beta-gamma radiation. In Chernobyl - they were completely different. That is why these two events are incomparable. The only aspect that unites both events is a high level of radiation.

The likelihood of a second explosion and the consequences for Europe

In the vision of the authors of the series, Soviet scientistsfeared the possibility of a second explosion due to contact of corium (a molten mixture of uranium fuel cells, lead, which was sprinkled on the reactor, graphite and other materials) with water from a bubbler located in the reactor building. One of the heroes of the series was stressed that the power of this explosion could be 2-4 megatons. Within a radius of 30 kilometers everything will be destroyed. In addition, it was said that the explosion would cause a shock wave capable of "destroying the entire population of Kiev and part of Minsk," having a generally disastrous effects of radiation emissions for most of Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

In reality, the hero of the series clearly overestimatedpower and effects of the second explosion. Apparently the writers did it to give their material even more gloomy colors and drama. Moreover, the very possibility of a second explosion is also being questioned. A hypothetical explosion of molten fuel when mixed with a bubbler water would also be not nuclear, but thermal. The reactor core by that time no longer existed.

However, despite the fact that the probabilityIt was hypothetical, it was decided to remove the risks. Three NPP workers, being no more than knee-deep in radioactive water, went into the room, found valves, opened them without problems, provided drainage of water, and returned successfully. In the series, their fate was sealed. In reality, all three of them later participated in other tasks to eliminate the accident. One died 20 years after the accident, the other two are still alive.

How did the “Red Forest” of Chernobyl appear?

In one of the scenes of the series shows how green forestsuddenly became rusty-red. In reality, this was not entirely true. More precisely, it took several days, and not several hours from the moment of the accident. The fact is that the pine forest adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant took over the largest share of the release of radioactive dust during the explosion of the reactor and in a few days it dried out and “rusted”. Trees, like filters, retained radioactive dust, rapidly flying from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant with the wind. For two years, the “fondings” on the Geiger counters were felled by pines and buried with leaded bulldozers.

Dead birds and shooting animals

Terrible moment of the series - on the heads of the pioneers felldead birds. Was it in reality? Not. This could not happen, because Pripyat is located three kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. According to historical data, birds hit by a high dose of radiation actually fell, but only in the vicinity of a destroyed reactor within a radius of 200-300 meters.

One more thing. The series shows how a detachment of Soviet soldiers leads the shooting of stray animals in abandoned settlements. It's true. Approximately 36 hours after the explosion, the inhabitants of Pripyat were given only 50 minutes to collect their belongings and evacuate on the buses that came after them. Taking pets was not allowed. Residents of the city believed that they could return home in a few days, but as you know, this move was permanent.

As a result, the whole city was filled with orphaned animals. To avoid the spread of radiation contamination and rabies, the soldiers were instructed to shoot them.

Use of robots to eliminate the accident

The series shows how the robots sent to eliminate an accident one by one fail due to exposure to radiation. As a result, people clear the pad by hand.

In fact, it was so. According to the accident liquidator Vladimir Mikhailov, German and Japanese cars were used, which quickly broke down. Nevertheless, a way out was found for land-based types of work. And this is not a lunar rover, as suggested by one of the film’s heroes. For this purpose, radio-controlled bulldozers developed at the Sibtsvetmatavtomatika enterprise were used. Bulldozers cleared the site near the station from debris and prepared it for the foundation for the sarcophagus. Then they, as well as other equipment there, were abandoned: it was already impossible to clean these cars.

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