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HBO's Chernobyl |OT| Do you taste something metallic?

Oct 26, 2017
1,189
Tampa FL
Every single World leader along with every single person involved in the creation, construction, maitenance, and deployment of Nuclear facilities, and/or weapons should watch this series.

Holy FUCK. I knew about the effects of radiation poisoning, and I considered myself pretty well versed in how it affects human beings and how it disperses through the atmosphere, but this fucking show has really illuminated me to the actual fucking horror that it truly is.

Strike my previous remarks. Every single person alive should watch at least the first fucking episode, as if only to obtain some real understanding of the true destructive power of Nuclear radiation.
 
I'm loving this show so far. I've had an interest in Chernobyl since the Stalker games and I appreciate just how atmospheric the show is. The mix of English and Russian is a bit weird but the acting in general is top notch. I'm looking forward to the rest.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,489
watching episode 1 again. i really can't get over dyatlov. the guy sees graphite and still believes he can put out this out with water. he basically kills akimov, other plant workers, firemen, and threatens the lives of so many people with just this one decision.
 
Apr 4, 2018
7,965
Every single World leader along with every single person involved in the creation, construction, maitenance, and deployment of Nuclear facilities, and/or weapons should watch this series.

Holy FUCK. I knew about the effects of radiation poisoning, and I considered myself pretty well versed in how it affects human beings and how it disperses through the atmosphere, but this fucking show has really illuminated me to the actual fucking horror that it truly is.

Strike my previous remarks. Every single person alive should watch at least the first fucking episode, as if only to obtain some real understanding of the true destructive power of Nuclear radiation.
We as a civilization need to be moving wholesale onto nuclear energy as soon as humanly possible so I’d rather they not continue to take the wrong lessons from this disaster.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,405
That last shot of blackness with the audio was a total "daaaaammnnn" moment.

Hitting my girlfriend pretty hard though, her parents had friends and relatives that lived in the area. I've never seen her react to a tv show this intensely before.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,548
One thing I'm noticing on a rewatch is that the brief American news broadcast is an actual clip from ABC, while the Russian one is a slightly altered recreation. I wonder if they just weren't able to acquire the rights to use the original version.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,364
Every single World leader along with every single person involved in the creation, construction, maitenance, and deployment of Nuclear facilities, and/or weapons should watch this series.

Holy FUCK. I knew about the effects of radiation poisoning, and I considered myself pretty well versed in how it affects human beings and how it disperses through the atmosphere, but this fucking show has really illuminated me to the actual fucking horror that it truly is.

Strike my previous remarks. Every single person alive should watch at least the first fucking episode, as if only to obtain some real understanding of the true destructive power of Nuclear radiation.
Nuclear radiation has little to do with it. The root causes of Chernobyl were basically a combination of everything that could go wrong going wrong and the staff deliberately turning safety measures off to conduct their scheduled test.

The real bogeyman in this case is a slow moving bureaucracy that is oftentimes more interested in covering their own asses and preferring easy lies they benefit from believing in to the hard truth. And that bogeyman is still horribly relevant today.
 
It's a small moment but I love when Shcherbina hears about the west finding out and Germany taking public health measures while the children of Pripyat are playing right outside. Skarsgard's performance is amazing when he lets the mask of resolve briefly crack, which happens a few times in episode 2.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,548
It's a small moment but I love when Shcherbina hears about the west finding out and Germany taking public health measures while the children of Pripyat are playing right outside. Skarsgard's performance is amazing when he lets the mask of resolve briefly crack, which happens a few times in episode 2.
Dude had a whole character arc in one episode.
 
Oct 30, 2017
1,652
Every single World leader along with every single person involved in the creation, construction, maitenance, and deployment of Nuclear facilities, and/or weapons should watch this series.

Holy FUCK. I knew about the effects of radiation poisoning, and I considered myself pretty well versed in how it affects human beings and how it disperses through the atmosphere, but this fucking show has really illuminated me to the actual fucking horror that it truly is.

Strike my previous remarks. Every single person alive should watch at least the first fucking episode, as if only to obtain some real understanding of the true destructive power of Nuclear radiation.
And yet, that is not necessarily what this show is about.
 
While I was re-watching the first episode... again... I was trying to find the right word to describe the emotion this show evokes so well. I feel the closest to it having a name would be Dread, because I kept thinking "scary" wasn't heavy enough for the enormity of it all. The consequences just seem so horrific and far-reaching it's hard to fathom. I was legit holding my breath during more than one moment in the second ep, yeesh.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,400
I was also rewatching the first episode, the thing that is really terrifying outside of the usual soviet type of thinking is the basic human groupthink that gets people killed. Like the stupid fireman saying, “go on grab the fire hose and go up there, come on what are you waiting for?”
 
Oct 27, 2017
359
The work that the fireman did was very important.

If they had not put out the fires, particularly the ones on the roof, then it might have spread to the other three reactors

This would have resulted in a much larger disaster.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,072
The Netherlands
Oh God dammit why did they have to stretch things.
I think it's a fair tradeoff, both the actor and writer talk about it in the short 'behind the episode' bit. Sure, it's less true to the actual events, but it's a better option than having 10s of extra characters in the narrative, or have Legasov conviently know everything or getting all important info handed to him with a bunch of phonecalls. Many scientists who aided during the incident got threatened and/or got ignored, this is a sensible way to work that into this story.
 
Oct 30, 2017
696
You wouldn't be able to get me down there. Absolutely brilliant show thus far. Pikalov volunteering to do it himself after hearing that even his men likely wouldn't be protected was incredible. It was interesting to see how self delusional the people in charge of the facility were in that situation. Not being able to explain how it could happen doesn't means it's impossible. Despite being such a bleak show, I must admit I laughed or maybe was in relief when shcherbina said " I may not know much about nuclear reactors, but I know a lot about concrete" basically cutting through the bullshit and delusion that was going on. In a way, despite being a bureaucrat and incredibly stubborn kind of character, he's also shown to be capable of adapting and recognizing his mistakes.
That hotel scene when Harris said they'd be dead in 5 years was so powerful.
Love this scene as well. Wrestling with the idea you won't have much time left to live because of the exposure and basically counting the end of your days. The same kind of look he gives when they're asking for permission to kill three people. Was listening to the podcast about this episode with the creator which is fascinating to listen to as well about this particular part and how the decision does take a emotional toll despite perceptions of soviets.
 
Oct 28, 2017
211
Man, what a brilliant second ep. Felt like watching your own parents fix one of your fuck ups as a kid but you know that this one mistake that can't be fixed. The actors who play Scherbina and Legasov absolutely nail their roles.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,800
UK
Watched both episodes. Really great TV. Anyone worrying if it would be too much for them, I don't think so. I thought I might find it too harrowing, but it's not gratuitous or torture porn in any sense. Very well done so far.
 
Oct 27, 2017
746
SW England
Here's some stuff I've learned from the book Midnight In Chernobyl this week. I'll spoiler this, as although they are well reported facts now, some of you will likely want to learn this from the show.

Yes there were many mistakes made in the plant. But these were mistakes that could have been rectified. What no one at the plant knew - not even some folks at the top - was that the RBMK1000 reactor was a badly designed death trap that had inherent instabilities that should not have been allowed to exist. Many of those involved in the design and those that forced it upon the plants knew this.

For example the control rods that were designed to slow down the reaction didn't work as planned in this reactor. In the original design it was found when retracted they still stopped the reaction too much. So they added graphite moderators to the end of them, meaning the ends of the rods would actually speed up reactions around them. This would have been less important if the rods could be dropped quickly in an emergency. But they were set to deploy slowly - 18 seconds - a lifetime in an emergency. Imagine in a fire reaching for an extinguisher and find before the six litres of water, the first litre out of the top is kerosene.

Also reactors are often designed so that if the coolant gets too hot and forms more steam the reaction actually slows down. So the reaction inherently corrects itself if things start going wrong. The RBMK1000 worked the other way around, too much steam means the reaction would speed up.

So imagine this situation. The safety test is carried out wrongly - but in theory this shouldn't be a major problem. Certainly not one on the scale of what happened. But the coolant is getting too hot and too much is steaming. The reaction level increases. So they deploy the rods that should stop the reaction. But the ends of the rods speed up reaction around them. And they deploy slowly. So slowly that the bottom of the reactor where the tips of the rods are goes into full overload and the result is a massive steam explosion destroying the reactor.

There are lots more complications and design flaws. But from reading the book these seem the two major ones. Give it a read, it's a superb piece of work.

Those in the control room that many are criticising right now were under massive workload pressure. The reactor was so tricky to operate that men would sweat throughout their shifts due to the amount of work, constantly playing the controls like a piano, to keep it all together. The worlds hardest videogame. People make poor decisions in those kind of situations, but it's the situation they were in that was more at fault than their own frazzled exhausted decision making.

Initially those at the plant were blamed and punished. Over time the truth of the reactor design came out. And those that were initially seen as to blame were shown to be much less to blame, and their massive bravery in the situation rewarded. It's a horrible sorry tale of failures from the top to the bottom of the USSR, but the biggest factor is the design of the RBMK1000, not the poor lied-to souls who had to run the damn thing.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
888
The real bogeyman in this case is a slow moving bureaucracy that is oftentimes more interested in covering their own asses and preferring easy lies they benefit from believing in to the hard truth. And that bogeyman is still horribly relevant today.
This is exactly right. While nuclear radiation is absolutely a threat, the real fear should come from the fact that this mindset and procedural failure can be applied to a great number of situations today. We need to learn the underlying lesson, not just build different kinds of power plants.
 
you know it's a good show when just thinking about and reading about it in a thread gives you goosebumps.

I am going to pick up Voices of Chernobyl and Midnight in Chernobyl because I need more. On the official podcast the creator said he used many accounts from the Voices of Chernobyl book as inspiration, and many things didn't make it in. The reviews make it clear that it is not for the faint of heart....
 
Oct 25, 2017
888
This is a terrific show. Have to wonder how many people this show prompted to turn to looking up info on the Internet and spending hours looking into Chernobyl and other events.

For me personally, I got to reading more about Hanford out in Eastern Washington. I'm about 240 miles away and from what I read, WOW. I didn't know some specifics, around how they need to stir the mixture "periodically" that is kept there to keep it from exploding?!

Some fun reading:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/welcome-most-toxic-place-america-n689141
https://thebulletin.org/2017/05/a-predictable-nuclear-accident-at-hanford/
"America's Chernobyl waiting to happen" is not much of an exaggeration. The lies, cover-up, and disregard for human life are utterly shameful. A quote from the second article grabbed me: "Ironically, since 1945, American nuclear weapons, intended to keep the country safe, have mainly killed Americans."
 
you know it's a good show when just thinking about and reading about it in a thread gives you goosebumps.

I am going to pick up Voices of Chernobyl and Midnight in Chernobyl because I need more. On the official podcast the creator said he used many accounts from the Voices of Chernobyl book as inspiration, and many things didn't make it in. The reviews make it clear that it is not for the faint of heart....
I just finished Midnight In Chernobyl today, it's really good.
 
Oct 27, 2017
359
Incredibly dumb question: if someone stumbled on uranium in the wild, like in a cave, would they get radiation poisoning? Would it burn them like the graphite does in the show?
The radiation in that scene was slightly exaggerated - most symptoms took hours to appear.

It's unlikely that natural Uranium would be anywhere near as pure. Most likely short exposure would be of little consequence - unless you breath or ingest it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
166
Incredibly dumb question: if someone stumbled on uranium in the wild, like in a cave, would they get radiation poisoning? Would it burn them like the graphite does in the show?
There’s a story about 2 homeless men in South America who broke apart an X-ray machine in an abandoned hospital and gave themselves radiation poisoning. Not quite what you’re asking but it could happen!
 
Mar 17, 2019
11
Incredibly dumb question: if someone stumbled on uranium in the wild, like in a cave, would they get radiation poisoning? Would it burn them like the graphite does in the show?
99% of naturally occuring uranium is U-238 which is only weakly radioactive. In general uraniun is also found in ores and minerals in small quantities and not solid nuggets.

Only man-made or purified materials are as strongly radioactive as the irradiated graphite in the show.

The biggest natural radiation hazard is probably radon gas that tends to accumulate in poorly ventilated basements.