Chernobyl: Everything fans need to know after watching the series

Chernobyl: Everything fans need to know after watching the series

The world has been shook to the core many times throughout history. However, Chernobyl was an accident like no other and is thought to have taken the lives of thousands of people. However, the extent of the pain and suffering was not widely broadcast at the time, and it took the world a long time to really come to terms with what happened. The HBO show ‘Chernobyl’ caught the attention of millions of people around the world, who were interested to know about the events that unfolded on April 26, 1986.

Of course, the show can’t depict everything accurately, word-for-word, moment-to-moment, and shows viewers in its dramatized way, what happened. However, since watching the show, people have had their own questions about the events that occurred at Chernobyl, and what’s happened since. The show highlighted some of the scientific facts behind radiation, which has also raised questions about the site as it stands today as well as filling in some of the gaps the show struggled to bridge. Here are some of the questions we’ve been left with since watching Chernobyl.

How many victims did the explosion claim?

The explosion itself claimed the lives of two people who were in the direct way of the reaction. These people did not survive and likely passed away instantly. However, there were at least twenty-nine other lives who were subjected to the severe radiation that followed.

Workers were not made aware that the safety test was going ahead, so they had no idea that anything could go wrong when disaster struck. This proved fatal to the workers in the nuclear power station.

What happened to Chernobyl’s ‘suicide squad’?

In the series, viewers witnessed three men take on what seemed to be an impossible mission, but it saved millions of people from disaster. While the series dramatized the events, a recount of what happened did explain that the men did head into a pitch black basement that sat underneath a melting reactor that was ‘slowly burning’ down to them.

These men seemed to survive despite everything. One decided to write and publish his experiences. Another chose to remain in the industry and still works anonymously today. While they lost track of the third volunteer, he was still living life in 2015.

What are the health effects on people exposed to radiation?

It depends on how long someone is exposed to radiation. However, if someone is exposed to large quantities of radiation within a short period of time, then they are likely to develop acute radiation syndrome. This is called radiation sickness.

People exposed will feel nauseous and vomit within hours of being exposed. This will then lead to the person passing away painfully after several days or weeks. It takes a vast amount of radiation to trigger this reaction, but the consequences are severe and mostly irreversible. People who suffer from being close to a reaction and coming in direct contact may also suffer from radiation burns.

What was the size of the affected area?

The areas that suffered the worst are now apart of something called the ‘Exclusion Zone’ which circles a thirty-kilometer radius around the site. These areas are still considered uninhabitable as a result of the radiation that remains in the area.

However, the effects of the radiation were felt on a far larger scale than simply Chernobyl itself. The fallout stretched as far as the rest of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. The radiation spread and carried on the wind, affecting thousands of people who lived miles away. Scientists are still trying to work out how many people it has effected within these areas.

Do people still live there?

People were evacuated once officials took the disaster seriously. However, it meant that they had no time to gather up any of their belongings and were told to only bring necessary documentation with them. People even had to leave their pets behind.

This cause some people to try and return to their homes, to collect money, heirlooms, clothes, or simply to return and stay where they called home. One source suggests 2000 people live in Chernobyl, 150 of which live illegally within the exclusion zone. Some of these people now include workers of the plant as well as those who found there way back.

What are the consequences of living in Chernobyl?

Chernobyl is still considered a ghost town, these people are living in a dilapidated environment that has been left to its devices, except for the plant itself, and in some instances, the nearby town of Pripyat.

The people living within the exclusion zone will be subjected to various levels of radiation that will significantly increase the risk of cancer. Their lifespans will be reduced considerably as a result, and this effect continues as they continue to be exposed to radiation.