‘Terrifying sight’: General portrayed in HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ shares what disaster was really like
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HBO’s new ‘Chernobyl’ show recreated his part in the 1986 nuclear disaster accurately, Major General Nikolai Tarakanov told RT, adding that the heroes weren’t commanders or officials, but soldiers who put their lives on the line.
Tarakanov, who was portrayed by British actor Ralph Ineson in the miniseries, described the casting as “a perfect match.”
The man, who oversaw the removal of highly-radioactive elements from the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, told the RT Documentary channel that he had “no complaints” about the recreation of the historic events in the show as only “the ending differed from what actually happened.”
The nuclear plant was “a terrifying sight” after the disaster, he recalled.
I was hovering above the reactor in a helicopter and just couldn’t imagine what had happened there. It was such a powerful blast that it demolished a construction made of reinforced concrete [the sarcophagus].
Tarakanov explained how the decontamination of Chernobyl was carried out. “300,000 cubic meters of soil around the plant was extracted, put in trucks and taken to the burial sites. They were replaced with 300,000 cubic meters of crushed stone, which was sealed in concrete and covered with heavy concrete plates.”
The measures led to radiation levels falling “hundreds of times” around the site, allowing work, which was “all done by the soldiers,” to begin at the crippled plant.
The Soviet troops who took part in the Chernobyl liquidation were “the main heroes,” Tarakanov said. He confirmed everyone was given a chance to refuse working at the station, but all volunteered to take part, putting their health and lives at great risk.
The major general, how is now 85, has been living with a so-called radiation disease for the last 33 years. He said that one of the leading Soviet doctors, Evgeny Chazov, was right when he warned the liquidators: “You’re going to suffer till the end of your life. Chernobyl won’t let you go.”
The sickness revealed itself through “bleeding gums and bloody diarrhea,” among other things.
“You made a tiny cut, while shaving, and it didn’t heal for two weeks after that.”
“I took all types of drugs. I have eight types of meds in the kitchen right now, which I take in the morning, at dinner and at night,” Tarakanov said.
The full interview with Major General Tarakanov will air on RTD.
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