Chernobyl Disaster Documentary
This hour and a half video documentary below presents the true story of the Chernobyl Disaster of 1986. Instead of presenting a whitewashed version, this video describes the lack of knowledge and preparedness as well as attempts to cover up what really happened. Consequences to first responders and the population at large are detailed. Although this is about the Chernobyl disaster, one cannot help but think of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster and similar consequences and cover-ups.
About 30 minutes into this Chernobyl disaster documentary, physicist Vassili Nesterenko is interviewed. He had come from working on nuclear weapons to help with the specialized abatement procedures needed to prevent the very real possibility of the somewhat contained Chernobyl disaster undergoing a secondary explosion which could have taken out half of Europe. (This was kept out of both the Russian and international press). He undertook great personal risk for radiation exposure and was key to extinguishing the original fire. Dr. Nesternko later co-authored the 24 year follow-up study, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. Due to his disclosures about the true consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster, he subsequently received a number of threats, including two assassination attempts and possible internment in a psychiatric asylum by the State Security Agency of Belarus. We consider him to be one of the heroes of the Chernobyl disaster. He was not the only one.
The “Liquidators” – Heroes Of The Chernobyl Disaster
The documentary also covers the extraordinary courage shown by the 500,000 firefighters, miners and “Liquidators” (both soldiers, nicknamed “bio-robots” and concerned citizens) and who worked on the Chernobyl disaster cleanup, “to do the right thing and stop the spread of radiation to the world.” Starting with evacuation, cleaning and demolition of the surrounding contaminated neighborhoods, they moved on to the daunting task of cleaning up and closing up the reactor building itself. Graphite which originally enclosed the Uranium fuel rods was blown sky high during the Chernobyl disaster and littered the entire facility. The radiation they gave off was extremely high – enough to kill a person in less than an hour – yet the cleanup of the Chernobyl disaster needed to be done. Robotic machines were used wherever they could, but in some places, such as the roof, the radiation levels were so high that they ionized the electronics making the machines useless. This meant that the only recourse was to use human beings.
Donning the best protective gear they could manage, thousands of workers worked in 60-second shifts until the work was accomplished. Bio-robot Alexander Fodotov remembers, “Your eyes hurt, and there was a metal taste in your mouth. Those are the two things you felt, and once you felt that, you knew you had gotten more than your dose.”
Journalist Igor Kostin was fatally exposed as a consequence of covering the Chernobyl disaster. “You couldn’t feel your teeth up there. Your mouth was full of this lead taste. You went like this [clicks teeth together] but you couldn’t hear anything. Everything was covered in lead. Even today – 20 years later – I can still taste the lead in my mouth.”
More than twenty years after the Chernobyl disaster, the 500,000 are either dead or dealing with continuing health problems. “We’ve all got a bunch of symptoms; heart, stomach, liver, kidneys, nervous system. Our whole bodies were radically upset by the metabolic changes which is caused by radiation and chemical exposure.” The genetic changes in the population are also documented. Deformed Chernobyl disaster babies as well as mutations in the surrounding flora and fauna are documented.
One wonders what light this Chernobyl disaster documentary may shed on the ongoing situation at Fukushima, both in terms of what is being kept out of the presses and in terms of what will be necessary to halt the ongoing contamination. The lessons of the Chernobyl disaster, in terms of the cover-ups, consequences and the response provide a roadmap for understanding Fukushima Daiichi.
A footnote in the Chernobyl disaster: The sarcopagus around the stricken facility was designed to last 30 years. A new, larger sarcophagus is under way, but is behind schedule. The Chernobyl disaster is not over.