This film shows the terrifying images captured by the Russian filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko on scene at Chernobyl those dreadful days in April 1986. Shevchenko later died suffering from the radiation he exposed himself to. Sadly, his name is not among the official casualties of the accident.
Just 40 minutes of staying on the roof and human body begin fall to pieces
Really haunting footage in color of the first days of Chernobyl disaster. Young soldiers with mere paper-masks ordered to participate in the doomed clean up work. Miners working without protection under the reactor, trying to isolate it. Workers on the Chernobyl roof scoping radioactive graphite under conditions millions times the normal level of roentgen.
Filming on the roof. Chevechenko got his lethal dose of radiation
We arrived there at 10 or 15 minutes to two in the morning ... We saw graphite scattered about. Misha asked: "What is graphite?" I kicked it away. But one of the fighters on the other truck picked it up. "It's hot," he said. The pieces of graphite were of different sizes, some big, some small enough to pick up ...
We didn't know much about radiation. Even those who worked there had no idea. There was no water left in the trucks. Misha filled the cistern and we aimed the water at the top. Then those boys who died went up to the roof—Vashchik Kolya and others, and Volodya Pravik ... They went up the ladder ... and I never saw them again.
The radiation levels in the worst-hit areas of the reactor building have been estimated to be 5.6 roentgens per second (R/s) (1.4 milliamperes per kilogram), which is equivalent to more than 20,000 roentgens per hour. A lethal dose is around 500 roentgens (0.13 coulombs per kilogram) over 5 hours, so in some areas, unprotected workers received fatal doses within several minutes.
From eyewitness accounts of the firefighters involved before they died (as reported on the CBC television series Witness), one described his experience of the radiation as "tasting like metal," and feeling a sensation similar to that of pins and needles all over his face. (This is similar to the description given by Louis Slotin, a Manhattan Project physicist who died days after a fatal radiation overdose from a criticality accident.)