A new documentary features never-before-seen “lost tapes” of the Chornobyl accident, depicting the awful damage and misery that happened during and after the world’s greatest nuclear explosion. HBO released small snippets of footage of the heroic workers who fought to contain the fallout and the thousands of residents evacuating the area in a new trailer for the Sky Original documentary Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes, including the voices of locals who the documentary claims were “silenced” following the disaster.
The Chornobyl accident happened in 1986, when a perfect storm of operator incompetence and design defects culminated in a nuclear meltdown on a magnitude never seen before in the world. The reactor, located 130 kilometers (81 miles) north of Kyiv, sent a rainbow-colored cloud of radioactive debris into the sky, with contaminated particles being detected 1,100 kilometers (683 miles) away in Sweden and radioactive rain falling over the skies of the United Kingdom.
It is one of only two nuclear catastrophes to get a rating of 7 (the highest) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being Fukushima. The new movie provides a rare view into the life of people of Pripyat, a neighbouring town where the majority of citizens were evacuated and never returned. It depicts the frantic efforts of thousands of Soviet miners, bureaucrats, and technologists to prevent the tragedy from escalating into a worldwide calamity, all while seeking to conceal the events from the world’s prying eyes.
“Three decades after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in Soviet Ukraine, newly uncovered archival footage and recorded interviews with those who were present paint an emotional and gripping portrait of the disaster’s scope and gravity, as well as the lengths to which the Soviet government went to cover up the incident, including the soldiers sent in to “liquidate” the damage,” HBO said.
Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes will premiere on HBO Max on June 22 in the United States and Sky in the United Kingdom. The power facility is known in the West as Chernobyl, which is a romanization of the Russian word. Chornobyl is the romanization of the Ukrainian spelling. We used this spelling throughout the article to match the sources.