Chernobyl: The tragedy of Valery Khodemchuk - who was he and how did he die?

Chernobyl HBO

Viewers of HBO's Chernobyl have been left truly harrowed by the events of the show but one of the key people in the disaster went almost without mention

HBO's Chernobyl, also shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK, has just come to a harrowing end. 

The show has shed new light on the terrifying events of the world-changing disaster, the effects of which can still be seen today. 

Despite not appearing physically in the show, Valery Khodemchuk does get a mention in the series' final episode and there's a very good reason why.

Who was Valery Khodemchuk?

Valery was the night shift circulating pump operator at the Chernobyl power plant and was on duty when the ill-fated test that caused the catastrophic reactor explosion happened. 

He was supposed to report on the results of the test once it had been completed but never got the chance.

How did he die?

Khodemchuk has the unenviable position of being the first person to die in the Chernobyl disaster as it's thought he was killed instantly when the number 4 reactor exploded.

On a more tragic note, Khodemchuk's body was never recovered from the wreckage of the reactor which has entombed his remains for the last 33 years.

Visitors photograph a memorial to worker Valery Khodemchuk at a wall that separates reactors three and four inside the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant on September 29, 2015 near...

At the Chernobyl power plant, there is a memorial shrine to Khodemchuk, just outside what was the old control room.

While Valery may not have appeared 'properly' in the HBO show, a photo of the real-life Khodemchuk is used in the series' final episode when he is mentioned.

If you've not had chance to watch Chernobyl, the series can be found on the NOW TV streaming service.  

  

 

Have something to tell us about this article?