Chernobyl (2019) s01e04 Episode Script

The Happiness of All Mankind

Why didn't you press the AZ-5 button? We did.
And that's when it exploded.
I don't want my men here one more second than they need to be.
If these worked, you'd be wearing them.
Vasily We're gonna have a baby.
Do you have any idea what you're dealing with? People are going to hear.
What is everyone gonna hear? We have to pursue every possibility, no matter who is to blame.
This entire region must be completely evacuated.
How many men do you require? Approximately 750,000 men.
It's time to go.
Did you hear me? This is an evacuation.
You understand? You have to come with me.
Why? Because they told me, so now I'm telling you.
Everyone in this village, everyone.
It's not safe here.
There's radiation in the air.
What's wrong with you? Do you know how old I am? I don't know.
I'm 82.
I've lived here my whole life.
Right here, that house, this place.
What do I care about safe? I have a job.
Don't cause trouble.
Trouble? You're not the first soldier to stand here with a gun.
When I was 12, the revolution came.
Czar's men.
Then Bolsheviks.
Boys like you marching in lines.
They told us to leave.
Then there was Stalin and his famine, the Holodomor.
My parents died.
Two of my sisters died.
They told the rest of us to leave.
Then the Great War.
German boys.
Russian boys.
More soldiers, more famine, more bodies.
My brothers never came home.
But I stayed, and I'm still here.
After all that I have seen so I should leave now, because of something I cannot see at all? No.
Just one moment! It's time to go.
Please stand up now.
This is your last warning.
It's time to go.
Come on.
Point four.
Point six.
I'll meet him there.
The atom is a humbling thing.
It's not humbling, it's humiliating.
Why is the core still exposed to the air? Why have we not already covered it up? We want to, but we can't get close enough.
The debris on the roof is graphite from the core itself.
Until we can push it off the roof back into the reactor, it'll kill anyone who gets near it.
You can see the roof is in three levels.
We've named them the small one here is Katya.
One thousand roentgen per hour.
Presume two hours of exposure is fatal.
The one on the side Nina.
Two thousand roentgen.
One hour, fatal.
We used remote-controlled bulldozers in Afghanistan.
Too heavy.
They'd fall right through.
- So then? - Moon rovers.
Lunokhod STR-1's.
They're light.
And if we line them with lead, they can withstand the radiation.
We couldn't put a man on the moon.
At least we can keep a man off a roof.
That is the most important thing, General.
Under no circumstances can men go up there.
Robots only.
What about this large section here? Masha.
Twelve thousand roentgen.
If you were to stand there in full protective gear head-to-toe for two minutes, your life expectancy would be cut in half.
By three minutes, you're dead within months.
Even our lunar rovers won't work on Masha.
That amount of gamma radiation penetrates everything.
The particles literally shred the circuits in microchips apart.
If it's more complicated than a light switch, Masha will destroy it.
It would be fair to say that that piece of roof is the most dangerous place on Earth.
So what do we do? That's what we wanted to ask you.
Tent 181? It's all right.
It's free.
It's a little early.
- Yeah? - Mm.
What unit were you in? Uh, they had me in motor pool in Kiev, - but then they - Not this bullshit.
In Afghanistan.
Oh, um, I wasn't in Afghanistan.
I'm not in the military.
They're running out of men.
Those guys, they dig up the ground.
Those guys, they cut down trees.
Those guys, they evacuate people, I think, like villagers.
What about them? I don't know them.
Fuck them.
Janek! - What do you want? - Give me an egg basket.
- No, I've only got the one - Give me the fucking basket! He's with me, you understand? Nobody fucks with him.
We make these from lead scrap.
- Put it on under your balls.
- Now? No, no.
You can wait until the radiation gives you a cunt.
Yes, now.
Over your clothes.
Fucking shit.
- You ever go hunting? - No.
Well today's your lucky day.
You, me, that ugly Armenian in the tent, Garo, we do animal control.
Animal control? Yeah, they're radioactive, so they have to go.
But it's not hard.
They're mostly pets.
They're happy to see you.
They run right up to you.
Bang! You load the bodies on the truck, dump them in a pit, bury them in concrete.
And then we drink.
As much vodka as you want, plus a thousand rubles.
Let's go get you a gun.
Yes? I need to see the following documents.
They're listed as permission only.
I'm working for the Central Committee.
Comrade? She can have that one.
Thank you, Comrade.
All clear.
Bring up the cameras.
- Signal? - Acceptable.
Running onboard diagnostics.
Tell me when we're ready to move it.
To think that's what we put on the moon.
Well, not that one.
I know not that one.
This rover was in storage.
They can build two more.
That should cover Nina and Katya.
And Masha? The Central Committee have informed me that they may have found something that could work up there.
From the outside.
American? Of course not.
It's a German police robot.
West German, so, as you can imagine, that wasn't an easy conversation to have.
Diagnostics complete.
Ready to engage main power and motor.
Can we move it? Valery, what's that? A smile? I see your condition has improved, Comrade Dyatlov.
I need your help.
Akimov initiated AZ-5.
- When you gave the order - Order? What order? Toptunov called it out, Akimov pressed it.
It was the only good decision they made.
Incompetent morons.
Can you confirm that the reactor exploded after they attempted to shut it down? How do I even know it exploded, huh? I found this in the state archive.
Written in 1976.
It's about the operation of RBMK reactors under extreme conditions.
So? The names of the authors have been redacted, and two pages have been removed.
Well, the State must protect its secrets, Comrade.
Do you dare suggest otherwise? They made a mistake.
They didn't redact the table of contents.
The missing pages apparently refer to a positive void coefficient and AZ-5.
Does that mean anything to you? What are you after here? Why are you asking me this? You worked with the reactor.
You know it better than I do.
So everything's my fault, then? Is that what this is? I'm not here to blame you.
I'm here to find out what happened.
And whether you realize it or not, I'm your best chance to avoid a bullet.
Can you help me or not? I have no idea what would've gone here.
Void coefficients have nothing to do with AZ-5.
Now you can go.
- You're not even curious? - What for? You think the right question will get you the truth? There is no truth.
Ask the bosses whatever you want and you'll get the lie.
And I will get the bullet.
I only have two rules.
Don't point this gun at me.
That's easy, right? You can point it at this piece of shit.
I don't give a fuck.
Never me.
If you hit an animal and it doesn't die, keep shooting until it does.
Don't let them suffer, or I'll kill you.
Understand? I mean it.
I've killed a lot of people.
Then we're ready.
Once we start, they'll run inside where they feel safe.
So we go door-to-door.
Okay? Good.
Hey! Do your job.
Go away.
Go! Don't let them suffer.
You're dragging that to the truck.
You gonna eat? Drink.
Look This happens to everyone their first time.
Normally when you kill a man.
But for you, a dog.
So what? There's no shame in it.
You remember your first time, Garo? My first time Afghanistan.
We were moving through a house, and suddenly a man was there and I shot him in the stomach.
Yeah, that's a real war story.
They're never any good stories like in the movies.
They're shit.
A man was there boom, stomach.
I was so scared, I didn't pull the trigger again for the rest of the day.
I thought, "Well, that's it, Bacho.
You put a bullet in someone.
You're not you anymore.
You'll never be you again.
" But then you wake up the next morning, and you're still you.
And you realize that was you all along.
You just didn't know.
The happiness of all mankind.
What? "Our goal is the happiness of all mankind.
" Yeah.
I'm happy.
I'm happy every day.
All right.
Back to work.
Come on.
It's here.
All right.
Get over.
Hang on.
Easy now.
Hold it! Joker.
It's what the Germans named it: "Joker.
" - Is it ready? - It's ready.
Good signal.
Motors, good.
Signals, good.
All right, let's take this easy.
Forward one meter, reverse one meter.
Forward one.
Reverse one.
Did you lose the signal? It's not the signal.
It's the vehicle.
It's dead.
Of course I know they're listening! I want them to hear! I want them to hear it all! Do you know what we're doing here?! Tell those geniuses what they have done! I don't give a fuck! Tell them! Go tell them! Ryzhkov! Go tell them he's a joke! Tell fucking Gorbachev! Tell them! The official position of the State is that a global nuclear catastrophe is not possible in the Soviet Union.
They told the Germans that the highest detected level of radiation was 2,000 roentgen.
They gave them the propaganda number.
That robot was never going to work.
We need a new phone.
What if we don't clear it? We have to clear it.
If we don't clear the roof, we can't build a cover over it.
If we can't cover it, that's 12,000 roentgen.
That's nearly twice the radiation from the Hiroshima bomb.
- Every hour, hour after - I know, I know, I know.
What about lead? We could I don't know.
We could melt it and pour it from above, like a coating.
First of all, we've already used most of the lead we had There's lead sheeting around the instruments in the other reactor buildings.
The soldiers are stripping it for their armor.
Are you serious? Even if, we're still talking about boiling metal in a helicopter.
And it's lead, Boris, it'll weight a ton.
What if we shoot the graphite into the hole? We've got high-caliber bullets, exploding bullets.
They wouldn't just ricochet, they'd push You wanna shoot exploding bullets at an exposed nuclear reactor? - Well - No, no.
Let's go light that roof back on fire.
It was so easy to put out the first time.
What are we talking about here? We need another robot.
One that can withstand the radiation.
I've asked.
There is nothing.
The Americans? If the Americans had that kind of technology, do you really think they'd give it to us? And even if they would, the Central Committee will never stoop to ask.
You know it, I know it.
There are no robots.
What was that? We use biorobots.
A lot today.
Where do they get their food? They eat the chickens.
Then they eat each other.
Pavel? Pavel! You don't hear me? I'm talking to you.
Just go outside.
Comrade soldiers, the Soviet people have had enough of this accident.
They want us to clean this up, and we have entrusted you with this serious task.
Because of the nature of the working area, you will each have no more than 90 seconds to solve this problem.
Listen carefully to each of my instructions, and do exactly as you have been told.
This is for your own safety and the safety of your comrades.
You will enter Reactor Building Three, climb the stairs but do not immediately proceed to the roof.
When you get to the top, wait inside, behind the entrance to the roof and catch your breath.
You will need it for what comes next.
This is the working area.
We must clear the graphite.
Some of it is in blocks, weighing approximately 40 to 50 kilograms.
They all must be thrown over the edge here.
Watch your comrades moving fast from this opening, then turning to the left, and entering the workspace here.
Take care not to stumble.
There's a hole in the roof.
Take care not to fall.
You will need to move quickly, and you will need to move carefully.
Do you understand your mission as I have described it? Yes, Comrade General.
These are the most important 90 seconds of your lives.
Commit your task to memory, then do your job.
It's time to go.
After 90 seconds, I will ring a bell.
When you hear it, return immediately, drop your shovels in the bin, and proceed down the hallway for decontamination.
Above all, while on the roof, throw your debris over the rail.
Do not look over the rail.
Is that clear? Very well.
On my mark.
Whoa! Comrade soldier.
You're done.
Time to go.
Oh! Your glove! Mommy! Mommy! I'm sorry for all this.
But we needed to speak to you somewhere without They're going to put Dyatlov on trial, and Bryukhanov and Fomin.
We're going to be asked to give expert testimony, all three of us.
But that's Before that happens The Central Committee is sending Legasov to Vienna.
It's the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Yeah, I know what's in Vienna.
What are they asking you to do? Tell the world what happened.
Well, then you better know what happened.
I've constructed a timeline, minute by minute.
Second by second in some places.
Every decision, every button push, every turn of a switch.
And? Are they guilty? Yes.
Of gross incompetence, violation of safety regulations, recklessness beyond belief.
But the explosion? I'm not sure.
What do you mean you're not sure? I've analyzed the data.
Toptunov was telling the truth.
They shut the reactor down, and then it exploded.
I think this article my have the answer, but two pages have been removed.
You've seen this before.
Please, believe me when I tell you that I had no idea it could cause an explosion.
- None of us knew.
- None of you knew what? In 1975, in an RBMK reactor in Leningrad, a fuel channel ruptured.
The operators pressed AZ-5, but instead of the power going down immediately, for a brief moment it went up.
How is that possible? Well, this was the very question posed by a colleague of mine named Volkov.
He's the one who wrote this article.
When an RBMK reactor runs at low power, it's notoriously unstable.
Prone to swings in reactivity.
Under normal circumstances, the control rods can compensate for that.
Under normal circumstances.
The Chernobyl staff stalled the reactor during the test.
They pulled almost all the control rods out to bring the power back up.
This is what Volkov learned from Leningrad.
If the boron control rods are completely withdrawn from the reactor, when they're put back in, the first thing that enters the core isn't boron.
It's graphite.
The control rods have graphite tips that displace water and steam.
So the reactivity doesn't go down.
It goes up dramatically.
Why on Earth would they press that button? They didn't know.
Volkov warned the Kremlin, ten years ago.
But there could be no doubt about the supremacy of the Soviet nuclear industry.
The KGB classified it as a state secret.
When I saw the reactor blown open, I still didn't think it could be this flaw in AZ-5.
Because the flaw will not lead to an explosion unless the operators have pushed the reactor to the edge of disaster.
- So it is their fault? - Yes.
But not only their fault.
Is that what you're going to say in Vienna? You can't possibly be that naive.
There are 16 RBMK reactors running in the Soviet Union right now.
We have to fix them.
The only way to do that is to go public, force the Central Committee to take action.
What you're proposing is that Legasov humiliate a nation that is obsessed with not being humiliated.
We can make a deal with the KGB.
You'll leave this information out in Vienna, and they quietly let us fix the remaining reactors.
A deal with the KGB? And I'm "naive.
" They'll go after your family, they'll go after your friends.
You have a chance to talk to the world, Valery.
If that chance was mine But it isn't, is it? I've know braver souls than you, Khomyuk.
Men who had their moment and did nothing.
Because when it's your life and the lives of everyone you love, your moral conviction doesn't mean anything.
It leaves you.
And all you want at that moment is not to be shot.
Do you know the name Vasily Ignatenko? No.
He was a fireman.
He died two weeks after the accident.
I've been looking in on his widow.
She gave birth.
A girl.
The baby lived for four hours.
They said the radiation would have killed the mother, but the baby absorbed it instead.
Her baby.
We live in a country where children have to die to save their mothers.
To hell with your deal.
And to hell with our lives.
Someone has to start telling the truth.
Congratulations, comrades.
You are the last of 3,828 men.
You have performed your duties perfectly.
I wish you good health and long life.
All of you are awarded a bonus of 800 rubles.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
- Thank you.
- I serve the Soviet Union.
This session of court is now open.
The state calls Comrade Khomyuk.
To understand what happened that night, we have to go back to the first critical moment.
The time is 28 past midnight.
At the trial, you're going to tell the truth.
1:22 a.
Once it's over, we will have our villains.
We will have our hero.
We will have our truth.
1:23 and 35 seconds.
Comrade Boris Shcherbina.
It began with a safety test.
They died rescuing each other.
Putting out fires.
Tending to the wounded.
When your testimony arrives, insist on reform.
I've already given my life.
Isn't that enough? The state calls Comrade Legasov.