A new documentary shows previously unreleased images of the shocking injuries and birth defects caused by a nuclear reactor explosion in Ukraine in 1986
The 1986 Chernobyl disaster is considered the worst nuclear accident in history – but new evidence shows the damage was far greater than previously thought.
A new Sky TV documentary, Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes, reveals the serious injuries rescue workers have suffered and horrific birth defects caused by radiation from the explosion in Reactor No 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
According to official information, two employees were killed in the first explosion and another 28 died from acute radiation poisoning.
CONTINUE READING: ‘Suicidal’ Russian troops disrupt radioactive dust in Chernobyl’s ‘red forest’
However, many more are believed to have died as a direct result of the disaster, with some estimates putting the death toll at as many as 985,000.
The number of birth defects caused by the cloud of fallout that stretched as far as Wales cannot be calculated.
Babies with patches of “bright” green skin can be seen in the footage obtained by Sky, along with many more dying from untreatable cancers that were considered incredibly rare before the Chernobyl accident.
The documentary also tells stories of incredible heroism from the rescue workers who were sent to deal with the initial explosion and fire.
Many of them were sent into the burning reactor building with little or no protective gear, and many were left with horrible scars.
Firefighter Leonid Shavrey told how his younger brother Petr was off duty when the alarm went off.
Petr didn’t have time to stop and pick up equipment: “Protection didn’t matter, but time was of the essence to stop the spread of the flames,” Leonid said.
Petr helped drive the fire trucks around the construction site, clearing obstacles out of the way.
Once Petr picked up a small metal object blocking a road, and the skin on his palms peeled off.
Leonid says it is unsafe to use water on the fire because of the danger from exposed power cords, so they instead fought the fire by throwing sand at it and hitting the flames with their canvas hoses.
The conditions are impossible, he says: “The bitumen immediately caught fire at the slightest rise in temperature. When you stepped on it, you couldn’t put one foot in front of the other – it ripped off your boots.”
Deadly radioactive isotopes such as cesium-137, iodine-131 and strontium-90 into the air. Risking dangerously high levels of radiation, some 600 Soviet pilots flew thousands of flights over reactor #4 to seal off the source of the radioactive radioactive cloud.
It was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that shocking footage of a Mi-8 helicopter crashing into the burning reactor surfaced, and for the first time in the documentary high-definition video of the incident is shown.
The Ukrainian government is still paying benefits to tens of thousands of relatives of the men who died as a result of the Chernobyl disaster.
In the past few months, Russian troops have once again occupied the decommissioned reactor site and whirled up the still radioactive soil of the so-called “Red Forest” with their heavy equipment.
Dozens, maybe hundreds, of them were hospitalized because of exposure to Chernobyl’s radioactive dirt and dust.