The deputy chief engineer of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was responsible for controlling the reactor on the fateful night of April 26, 1986. But is his portrait really portrayed in the newly released HBO movie (USA)? It is hard to answer without hearing the story and learning about the tragedy that struck his life.
A man who was hard-pressed, domineering and careless, deliberately blinded his eyes to the reality – it was an image of Anatoly Dyatlov appearing in the HBO series of Chernobyl nuclear tragedies. He swore, shouted, scolded his subordinates and neglected all safety procedures, eventually leading to the most serious nuclear reactor explosion in world history. A 2005 report by the Chernobyl Conference, organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), said 56 people died immediately and estimated to have About 9,000 people, out of nearly 6.6 million people affected, eventually died of some kind of cancer. Greenpeace alone estimates the total number of deaths is 93,000.
Mr. Anatoly Dyatlov in real life and in HBO films. Photo: RBTH
As one of the most hated characters in the film, but is it true that Dyatlov is as horrible as described? How did he come from and what happened to Dyatlov after being sentenced to prison?
Difficult, difficult nuclear expert
Born in 1931 in the small village of Atamanovo in Russia's Krasn Krasnoyarsk region, the boy Anatoly has just finished 7 years of study. In 1945, he enrolled in the electrical engineering department of Norilsk School of Mining and Metallurgy Engineering, then graduated five years later with an honors degree. After three years of working at Norilsk, Dyatlov was admitted to the Moscow Institute of Engineering Physics, where he continued to receive an engineering degree in automation and electronics, also with honors.
Dyatlov engineer in HBO movies. Photo: RBTH
Dyatlov is arranged in a position at the shipyard in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where he works in the No. 23 lab, specializing in equipping nuclear submarines with nuclear reactors.
In 1973, for family reasons, Dyatlov was transferred to the newly built Nuclear Power Plant at Chernobyl (in Ukraine) and worked there for 13 years – climbing positions from the deputy to the deputy manager. the chief monk and received two State awards (Medal of Honorary Medal and Red Labor Medal Medal).
As those who worked with him recall, Dyatlov is a competent expert, but often too difficult and demanding. While some people remember him as an unjust, stubborn, slow, and easily contradictory person, others comment that Dyatlov is a responsible, principle, honest and thorough person. pancreas.
"At that time, Dyatlov was not passionate about work, although he acted like a strict and demanding boss," recalled Raz Razim Davletbayev, a former employee at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. "Factory managers do not respect him. Dyatlov often rejects all proposals and demands him to make efforts." But another man, Anatoly Kryat, Ukraine's nuclear safety inspector remembered: "He can sympathize if employees make mistakes for explainable reasons, but absolutely not. endure carelessness, incompetence and neglect of their duties ”.
In his own book, "Chernobyl: How It Happened", Dyatlov himself argued that he was not the worst boss. "I never found a way to be loved by my subordinates. I I think I have the capacity and fairness to ensure normal working relationships. In any case, none of my employees ever quit because I can't work with me. may be too difficult, but only that, ”Dyatlov wrote.
The test of death
According to RBTH site (Russia), on the day of the tragedy, the work still took place as usual and was completely unexpected to the staff when they heard an explosion. In an attempt to complete a scheduled test (which had been tried unsuccessfully a few times), the operators tried to turn off the No. 4 reactor, but the heat inside the reactor increased significantly. They pressed the emergency button to stop the reactor, but it suddenly exploded. "It's a possible disaster in an energy reactor," Dyatlov recalls in his book.
The deadly ruins at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
Initially did not believe that the reactor was detonated, Dyatlov ordered water pumped into the reactor to cool, and in a state of shock, he sent two staff members to directly lower the control rods manually – a decision that Dyatlov then admitted was absurd. According to other data on the night of the tragedy, Dyatlov acted anxiously, constantly yelling at his subordinates and not wanting to believe an explosion had occurred in the reactor.
For his part, Anatoly Dyatlov wrote in his book: "Before 01: 23: 40, the central control systems did not record any change of parameters indicating the need to use SCRAM (one set). disconnected from the reactor, bringing all the control rods, including manually operated control rods, which had been recklessly drawn from before, into the reactor. The reason is that the reactor is simply disconnected when the experiment is completed ".
Because of the slow speed of the mechanism that puts the control rod inside (takes 18–20 seconds to complete), the hollow ends of the bars as well as the temporary occupation of the cooling water, SCRAM makes the reaction level increase. The increased energy produced causes the control rod deformation. The control rods are blocked after being inserted only in one third, and therefore cannot be stopped. At 1:23:45 the reactor jumped to 30 GW, ten times the normal operating capacity. The fuel rods began to drain and the steam pressure rapidly increased, causing a large vapor explosion, tossing and destroying the reactor cap, breaking the cooling water pipes and then blowing away an array. bare.
Radioactive pollutants escaped into the air after the explosion blew the first shell. Then, part of the roof collapsed, the oxygen poured in – plus the extreme heat of the reactor fuel and the regulator's graphite – burnt the graphite. This fire contributes greatly to the spread of radioactive fuel and elements that pollute surrounding areas.
Experts check radioactive content in the Chernobyl Plant area. Photo: The Irish Times
Prison and disease
After the explosion, Dyatlov showed the first signs of radiation exposure, he continuously vomited and was taken to Moscow hospital. On that fateful night, he was exposed to radiation up to 390 REM and later had to train for the second time in his life when radiological injuries on his legs healed.
Along with others responsible for the disaster (Director Brukhanov and chief engineer of the plant, Nikolay Fomin), Dyatlov had to go to court and receive a 10-year sentence despite being ill.
Dyatlov insists that he has checked every step of the evening and is absolutely certain that his responsibility in the tragedy is only one part. "The reactors did not comply with more than 30 standard design requirements – more than enough for an explosion. To explain the tragedy in another way: before the protection was lifted, the reactor was reached. coming to the same state as a nuclear bomb and not having an alarm signal. How can the employees recognize that state – through the sense of smell or touch? "he argued in his book. "Before talking about the employee's error, think about it – the reactor was detonated by its emergency system."
Despite illness and disability, Dyatlov was still in prison, initially in Kiev and then in the Poltava region, all of Ukraine. After 4 years and continuous letters of amnesty, including many letters from Russian nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov and his wife Dyatlov, in 1990, he was released for ill health. Dyatlov underwent medical treatment in Germany, but suffered a great deal of pain and died in 1995 due to radiation-induced heart failure.
From left, Director of NPP Viktor Brukhanov, Anatoly Dyatlov, and chief engineer Nikolay Fomin in court. Photo: Reuters
Until his death, Dyatlov continued to blame the tragedy for design errors and argued that the Soviet Union could not accept responsibility for this and therefore, blame those who had to work on equipment. error. To prove his point, he conducted an interview in 1994 and wrote a book in Russian.
Since then there have been conflicting views on Dyatlov's personality, depending on how individuals want to remember him. But one thing was officially acknowledged later that the defects of the Chernobyl Plant played a role and tragedy was not only Dyatlov's fault.