Chernobyl: The Final Warning (TV Movie 1991) Poster

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Harrowing True Story About Chernobyl's Accident
astymegoesby18 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I bought this movie several years ago and after watching it, could not get the images of those people out of my mind. The movie chronicles what happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, USSR, 1986. The story unfolds with a doctor seeing the images of a disaster on television and consults another doctor (Jason Robards) and is sent to Chernobyl to cover the events. He spends time with the wife (Sammi Davis) of a burnt victim who attempted to put the flames out of the reactor. The movie has some intense, emotional scenes which are graphic and children should not watch. Certain parts were hysterical, especially about the centrifuge in the hospital. I remember them asking how they got the machine in if it didn't fit in the doorway. The reply was, that the machine was in first and they built the room around it. Though it was filmed on location, some of the actors' accents were not Russian. And only few actually had the proper accent and were believable. Still, this is the only movie of it's kind and thus serves as the only documentary of the disaster. I give Chernobyl: The Final Warning 9/10.
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10/10
A true-to-life representation
dblatchd26 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have been closely involved with the peaceful applications of nuclear energy nearly all of my professional career. I have also traveled in Russia. I can therefore vouch for the accuracy of this film.

It is no secret that the accident was caused by a highly risky experiment unauthorized by the higher-ups in Moscow. The local operating staff desired to check the recovery of this unit (one of four at the site) following a turbine trip, wherein the turbine-generator was intentionally tripped off-line. What they didn't understand in detail was the response of the nuclear reactor to such an event, and they failed to immediately engage whatever active reactor safeguards were installed to prevent such an accident. Also, unlike general practice in the US, France, the UK, and elsewhere, the plant was not equipped with containment vessels or structures to withstand the physical pressures of credible (let alone hypothetical) reactor accidents.

In short, due to the unique physics characteristics of this particular type of reactor (of which several were built in various countries,) it underwent a predictable positive reactivity transient and exploded. The neutron moderator is graphite, which burned. Hence the fire. The nuclear fuel containing all of the radioactive fission products was dispersed in the explosion. Lacking a pressure containment, these lethal compounds and elements were free to travel wherever the atmosphere carried them.

The entire accident, in all of its manifestations, was carefully reviewed in detail by the international technical community long after the event. This review was conducted over a period of many months, with almost unanimous consensus. As one result, a similar facility in the US was shut down and decommissioned.

As another, management heads rolled in Chernobyl, Moscow, and places in-between. Precious lives were (and still are being) lost. The penultimate far-reaching effect of this tragedy is also yet to be dispelled - the public's fear of nuclear power and its potential consequences.
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