Five Part Mini-Series From HBO Looks Terrific

On April 26, 1986, a sudden surge of power during a reactor systems test destroyed Unit 4 of the nuclear power station at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union.

The accident and the fire that followed released massive amounts of radioactive material into the environment.

Emergency crews responding to the accident used helicopters to pour sand and boron on the reactor debris. The sand was to stop the fire and additional releases of radioactive material; the boron was to prevent additional nuclear reactions.

A few weeks after the accident, the crews completely covered the damaged unit in a temporary concrete structure, called the “sarcophagus,” to limit further release of radioactive material.

The Liquidators, these guys were the first responders and each had balls the size of King Kong’s.

Read more about The Liquidators (the first responders) over at Chernobyl Gallery’s site.

The Soviet government also cut down and buried about a square mile of pine forest near the plant to reduce radioactive contamination at and near the site. Chernobyl’s three other reactors were subsequently restarted but all eventually shut down for good, with the last reactor closing in 1999.

After the accident, officials closed off the area within 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the plant, except for persons with official business at the plant and those people evaluating and dealing with the consequences of the accident and operating the undamaged reactors.

The Soviet (and later on, Russian) government evacuated about 115,000 people from the most heavily contaminated areas in 1986, and another 220,000 people in subsequent years (Source: UNSCEAR 2008)

The Series

HBO will be dropping the miniseries Chernobyl, which chronicles the mistakes that led to the nuclear meltdown of the Power Plant, which was at that time part of the Soviet Union.

The meltdown released radioactive material across Europe and has remained not just a cautionary tale, but one that showed the immense misdeeds within the U.S.S.R.

Even though there’s not a whole lot of footage in this initial teaser trailer, this will be a must-see:

Jared Harris (Mad Men) is playing Valery Legasov, the leading Soviet nuclear physicist who was part of the response team following the accident. Stellan Skarsgard (The Avengers) is Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina, the government official leading the commission on the Chernobyl incident. And Emily Watson (Punch Drunk Love) is Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist trying to figure out what caused this situation.

The rest of the cast includes Paul Ritter as Chernobyl deputy chief engineer Anatoly Dyatlov; Jessie Buckley as Lyudmilla Ignatenko, a Pripyat resident married to a firefighter on the first response team; Adrian Rawlins as Chernobyl chief engineer Nikolai Fomin; and Con O’Neill as plant director Viktor Bryukhanov. Sam Troughton, Adam Nagaitis, Barry Keoghan, Ralph Ineson, Mark Lewis Jones, Fares Fares, and David Densik also star in this.

The miniseries is written and executive produced by Craig Mazin, the first foray into drama by The Hangover franchise writer. Johan Renck (Breaking Bad) is directing.

Chernobyl begins on May 6, 2019, only on HBO.