1993-09-13 – NRC – Chernobyl – Fire at Chernobyl Unit 2

,,; .. -. UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION WASHINGTON,... View Document

Post

1987-03-31 – BAT – Chernobyl – European Tobaccos – Italian Tobacco – Food regulations

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/nxnf0194
RESTRICTED
B.A:r (UK.and ExportJ Limited
RESEARCH • DEVELOPMENT CEHT~E
TO
REF
Mr. R.D. Lowe
Leaf Dept.
BATCo.
AAB/BCH
SOUfMAMPTON INQLAND
FROM Miss A.A.Bottomley
DATE 31 March 1987
Re: Chernobyl
Further to lllY memo of 17 Deceri>er 1986. I am enclosing a co111pleted summary
of the gamma-activity scans covering a wide range of European tobaccos.
I am holding all the Certificates received from Harwell on a ‘master
file’ but if you would prefer to hold them (or have copies) please let me
know.
Apart from five grades of Italian tobacco supplied by Wintermans. we
have no further outstanding samples for analysis at Harwell.
I am also enclosing a paper published by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Fisheries and Food whfch Davfd Robinson obtained. He has asked the
M.A.F.F. to keep us up-dated on limits set by various countries. We
understand that the M.A.F.F. are only making discreet enquiries as they
do not wish to encourage authorfties to set limits!
Although the list covers food products. ft does give us so111e fdea of how
various countries are reacting to the situation and. of course. ft ts not
unknown for food regulations to also cover tobacco products. As I advised
you recently. the Egyptians have asked B.A.T. Suisse to provide a •Radiation
Free• Certfffcate covering their export of cut blend to Egypt. I also
note that the Singapore authorities are continuing to take a very strict
lf ne.
On your return from the u.s .• I would like to visit you tn Mfllbank to
dfscuss the Chernobyl exercise. In particular. I think we should establish
a sanipliog regime for manipulated 1986 crop and cured 1987 crop Oriental
tobaccos as soon as possible. so that we can give our buyf ng team tn
Izmir adequate notice of our requirements.
A.A.
c.c. Mr. J.W. Dru1111110nd, M111bank
\.Mr. J.A. Wfchers. Woking
Dr. R._.81nns
Dr. ~rjf/Dr. R.A. Crellin
Dr. D.P. Robtnson
Dr. P.C. Beven
Mr. D.E. Creighton
Mr. I.G.M. Anderson
Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/nxnf0194
Crop
Year Area
TURKEY
IZMIR BLEND
YAB 1985 N/A
Village Samples 1986 Sfndfrgf
” Soma
ti Akhfsar
” Manisa
” Turgutlu
II Salfhlf
Kemalpasa
.I.I Gavurkoy Kiraz
II Tavas
” Mug la
SAMSUN BLEND
Sl/4 1985 N/A
Vfl lage Samples 1986 Bafra
” II Evkaf
” It Maden/Dere
II ” Canfk
ex R&D stock Sl/4 1984 N/A
137
~
<4 46 103 45 53 52 37 42 <10 109 32 88 (4 16 26 17 (.4 Caesium Activity 134 Total ~ ~ <:Z <.6 16 fi?. 41 IH lZ 57 13 66 16 68 11 48 10 52 ~5 (15 40 149 17 49 39 127 <2 <6 6 22 12 38 4 21 £2 "6 <10 ~ 0 0 v..i U1 N U1 Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/nxnf0194 Caesium Activity Crop 137 134 Total Year ~ ~ ~ SPAIN Burley S/11/86 1986 qo S/16/86 1986 <.10 Virginia S/1/86 1986 dO S/2/86 1986 ·'10 S/3/86 1986 <::10 S/4/86 1986

Post

1987-04-08 – BATCo – U.K. Atomic Energy Authority – Cesium in Italian Tobacco Samples

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lmbf0203
RESTRICTED
Our Ref: AAO/BCH
Hr. J, Aerts
Henri W1ntermans Sigarenfabrieken B.V.
P.O. Box 2
Eersel
Netherlands
Dear Mr. Aerts,
8 April 1987
Re: Chemob,rl
Please ffnd enclosed copies of Certiffcates from the U.K. Atomic Energy
Authority covering thef r Caesium activity analyses on your Italian tobacco
samples.
The results are summarised as follows:
Sample
CFB4
CF85
GK85
A86
086
Bq/l

Post

1987-09-10 – B.A.T. – Chernobyl – Cesium activity results in 1986 tobacco crops

Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/gxnf0194
RESTRICTED
B.AI (U.K. and Export) Limited
RESEARCH • DEVELOf’MENT CENTRE
TO
REF
Mr. R.D. Lowe
Leaf Dept.
BATCo.
Mill bank
AAB/BCH
SOUTHAa#TON ENOl.ANO
FROM Miss A.A.Bottomley
DATE 10 September 1987
Further to iny memo of 1 September 198 • am enclosing a summary of the
Caesfum actfv1ty results covering the final twelve samples taken from
BATCo’s 1986 crop manipulations.
·Al~~
A.A. BOTIOMLEY
c.c. Mr. J.A. Wfchers – BAT (UK&E) Woking
Mr. P.R. Fisher – B&W Loufsvflle
Mr. J.C. Downie – Izmfr, Turkey
ODrr.. TR. .f ~ ))
Dr. D. • ob son )
Mr. D.E. Cre ghton ) R&O
Mr. I.G.H. Anderson )
Or. P.C •. Bevan )
..
Source: http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/gxnf0194
BATCo. ‘s 1986 Crop Manipulations
Grade Supplier Sample No.
AFl/4 Panagopoulos Freres 28
(for BAT (UK&E))
AFl/4 ” Z9
AFl/4 • 30
AFl/4 ” 31
AFl/4 Panagopoulos Freres 32
(for Wills Australia)
AFl/4 • 33
Basma I/II r Missfrfan 34
CAB (sp) Austro-Hellenique 35
(for BAT Suisse)
BAB Bulgartabac 36
BAB • 37
BBN • 38
PRILEP Not known 39
UNl-3
Caesium Activity
137 134
~ ~
16 5
11 4
20 7
15 5
14 5
25 9
40 14
37 13
41 15
39 14
38 14
18 6
Total
~
Zl
15
27
20
19
34
54
50
56
53
52
24
A
0
0
(.N
U1
N
U1
0
U1

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2012-10 – Lift & Hoist International – Cranes at Chernobyl – Work continues in the aftermath of the nuclea power plant disaster of 1986

SHOW REVIEW
Lifting and rigging
equipment in the
spotlight at PLASA 2012,
staged at London’s Earls
Court
INTERVIEW
Spain-based material
handling specialist and
weighing systems
provider Airpes has
adapted in the wake of
recession
SHOW PREVIEW
Now in its eighth year,
LiftEx 2012 takes place
29-30 November at the
Ricoh Arena, Coventry, UK
AERIAL WORK
PLATFORMS
A German-made compact
tracked lift was used for
maintenance work at a
unique facility in New York
ISSUE NUMBER 6 • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012
LIFT & HOIST
INTERNATIONAL
CRANES AT
CHERNOBYL
liftandhoist.com
EVERY ISSUE: Overhead Cranes and Hoists • Access Platforms • Lift Trucks • Controls and Components
WORK CONTINUES
IN THE AFTERMATH
OF THE NUCLEAR
POWER PLANT
DISASTER OF 1986
LIFT AND HOIST INTERNATIONAL • LIFTANDHOIST.COM 5
LHI welcomes special report from one of the most
fascinating overhead crane projects in the world.
Five years ago I chaired an overhead crane
breakout session at a conference in London.
The day concluded with a presentation from
Eric Schmieman, who, at the time, was safety
manager at the Chernobyl containment project,
where overhead cranes would work in the aftermath of
the shocking, devastating Chernobyl accident that
occurred on April 26, 1986, destroying Unit 4 at the
nuclear power plant.
Conference delegates listened as Schmieman
explained how cranes would work in the
deconstruction and safe disposal of the accident
consequences in a New Safe Confinement (NSC) on the
site of the most catastrophic disaster in the history of
commercial nuclear power.
I was hooked on the project and have kept in touch
with Schmieman—he works at the global research and
development organisation, Battelle Memorial
Institute—ever since. I am delighted that we can
publish in this issue a special report from Chernobyl by
Schmieman, corresponding author Vijay
Parameswaran, of Bechtel International Systems, Inc.,
and their colleagues.
An international tender was initiated in 2004 for
design and construction of the NSC. A subcontract for
the design and manufacture of the main crane system
was awarded to US-based PaR Systems, Inc.
One of many fascinating dimensions of the project
is the mobile tool platform, which is connected to the
crane carriage. The tool platform is a custom-made tensile truss that
will serve as a stable platform for remotely operated tools. A robotic arm
is attached to a rotating mounting plate to allow work to be performed
in a complete hemisphere. Remotely operated high radiation cameras
will provide full coverage of the Chernobyl plant and all operations
during the next phase of the project as workers are located remotely and
will perform nearly all operations using cameras.
The authors believe that this is the largest implementation of a
tensile truss design for these purposes—and I certainly can’t contest
that. Because it is first of a kind, the manufacturer constructed a 25
percent scale prototype in the US, which is this issue’s cover image.
Read more about the project from page 18.
CONFERENCE
DELEGATES HEARD
HOW CRANES
WOULD WORK IN
THE
DECONSTRUCTION
AND SAFE DISPOSAL
OF THE CHERNOBYL
ACCIDENT
CONSEQUENCES IN A
NEW SAFE
CONFINEMENT
EDITOR’S LETTER
RICHARD HOWES, EDITOR
HOOKED
SUBSCRIPTIONS TO LIFT & HOIST INTERNATIONAL
1 year (6 issues) UK & Europe £55.00/€70.00 • USA & Canada $102 • Rest of the World $162
INTERNATIONAL
LIFT & HOIST
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012
ISSUE 6
Lift & Hoist International
18 Southbourne Gardens
Lee, London, SE12 8UQ, UK
+44 (0)20 8318 7551
President Guy Ramsey
[email protected]
Director of Business Development
Mark Bridger
+44 (0)1403 264 164
[email protected]
Associate Publisher and Editor
Richard Howes
+44 (0)20 8318 7551
[email protected]
Vice President of Operations
Barbara Benton
[email protected]
Contributing Editor Katie Parrish
[email protected]
Advertising Sales
Mark Bridger
+44 (0)1403 264 164
[email protected]
Richard Howes
+44 (0)20 8318 7551
[email protected]
Events Coordinator
Franci Motz
[email protected]
Design
dsquared, The Old Scotgate,
5 Scotgate, Stamford,
Lincolnshire, PE9 2YB, UK
www.dsq.co.uk
Maximum Capacity Media LLC
Publisher of Industrial Lift & Hoist, Lift and
Access, and Crane & Rigging Hot Line; and ILH
eNews and Lifting 360 eNewsletters
SPECIAL REPORT – CRANES AT CHERNOBYL
18 LIFT AND HOIST INTERNATIONAL • LIFTANDHOIST.COM
BACKGROUND The Chernobyl nuclear power plant
(ChNPP) accident that occurred on April
26, 1986 destroyed Unit 4. After the
accident situation was stabilised, it became
apparent that sequestration of the damaged
reactor was necessary to minimise long term
radiological impact on personnel and the
environment. A temporary confinement
building, the Object Shelter (OS), was
designed and constructed between May and
November 1986.
The primary purpose of the Object
Shelter was to prevent further spreading of
the radioactive dust and debris. It was built
under extremely difficult and hazardous
conditions and was intended to last 30 years.
Upon completion of construction, the
building had more than 1,000 sq m of
openings that allowed some dust to escape
and water to enter the steel structure.
Although some measures have been
taken in the past 26 years to stabilise the
structure and reduce corrosion, the risk of
collapse of the Object Shelter continues to
increase over time. Its confinement function
needs to be performed by a new structure,
and the Object Shelter needs to be dismantled
in an orderly manner.
The structural elements being
dismantled will be large and heavy. Nuclear
fuel material and other radioactive waste will
be placed in heavy shielded containers. The
dismantling activities and handling of heavy
shielded waste disposal casks will require
large and sophisticated cranes that are the
subject of this paper.
In 1997 the G-7 nations prepared the
Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP) for the
conversion of the OS into an ecologically safe
system. The SIP consists of 22 tasks, the
largest of which is the design and
construction of a New Safe Confinement
(NSC).
The NSC will be constructed adjacent to
the OS to minimise radiation doses to
construction workers, then slid over the OS
on a runway system using hydraulic power.
The NSC is an enormous arch-shaped steel
structure which will protect the OS from the
elements, confine any radioactive dust
releases, and support a massive and unique
crane system. The approximate dimensions of
the NSC arch are 250m wide, 150m long, and
100m tall. A section of the NSC is illustrated in
Figure 1.
A donor community, consisting of 46
countries and organisations, support the
work of the SIP. Funds are administered by
the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD). The facility owner is
State Specialised Enterprise Chernobyl
Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP). Oversight of
SIP work is provided by a Project
Management Unit (PMU) staffed by
MASSIVE AND UNIQUE
The design and manufacture of the main cranes system was integral to the New Safe Confinement
project at Chernobyl, the scene of a nuclear power plant disaster in April 1986.
THE AUTHORS
N. A. (Vijay) Parameswaran, corresponding author, Bechtel International Systems, Inc.
(USA); Igor Chornyy, State Specialised Enterprise Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
(Ukraine); François de Saint Victor, Bouygues Travaux Publics (France); Dan Kedrowski
and Rob Owen, both PaR Systems, Inc. (USA); Eric Schmieman, Battelle Memorial
Institute (USA).
Figure 1: New Safe Confinement section looking East
SPECIAL REPORT – CRANES AT CHERNOBYL
LIFT AND HOIST INTERNATIONAL • LIFTANDHOIST.COM 19
representatives of ChNPP and a consortium of
Bechtel International Systems Incorporated
(Bechtel) and Battelle Memorial Institute
(Battelle).
An international tender was initiated in
2004 for design and construction of the NSC.
The contract was awarded in 2007 to
NOVARKA, a joint venture between Vinci
Construction Grands Projets and Bouygues
Travaux Publics. NOVARKA subsequently
awarded a subcontract for design and
manufacture of the Main Cranes System
(MCS) to PaR Systems, Inc.
(Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA).
The MCS is installed just below the NSC
ceiling, approximately 80m (275ft) above
ground level. The MCS will be installed in two
large lift operations inside the NSC by
NOVARKA under technical supervision
provided by PaR. The MCS will be installed
and tested in the non-radioactive assembly
area before arch sliding.
The following presents some
engineering details and unique features of
the MCS:
PAR SCOPE OF WORK
• Two 96m (315ft) bridges (approximately
7m [25ft] wide)
• Six runways, top running, under
hung design
• One classic carriage hoist
• Single hoist configuration; 50
tonnes capacity
• One secure carriage hoist
• Dual hoist configuration; 40 tonnes
capacity (personnel)/50 tonnes
capacity (materials)
• May be utilised to transfer
maintenance personnel throughout
the facility in a shielded protective
box
• One mobile tool platform carriage (MTP)
• Quantity of six hoists operating
simultaneously to hoist and lower a
platform with a tool arm on the
underside
• Lower platform attachments such
as hydraulic power unit, vacuum
system, arm/tooling supplied by
others
• Runway rails and conductor bars
• Control system and camera system
• On site erection supervision
Figures 2 and 3 provide an appreciation
of the extraordinary size of the MCS
components. To demonstrate scale, a Boeing
777 is illustrated parked below the bridges
and in front of the NSC.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION AND FUNCTIONS OF
EACH MAJOR MCS COMPONENT:
CRANE BRIDGES
Two crane bridges are top-running
underhung, suspended from crane rails
oriented East-West and located at an
elevation of 76m inside the NSC. Due to their
considerable length (96m), each bridge
moves on six crane rails. Each girder has five
individual pinned spans to provide the
flexibility to maintain wheel contact for
different load cases and arch movement. The
bridges are designed such that two fully
loaded carriages may be on the same bridge
with a separation of at least 22m centre-to
centre. The control cabinets are located on
the bridge with wireless communication to
the control room. Although local control from
these panels is possible, the cranes are
normally operated from a control room
located in a building separate from the NSC.
The crane bridges are also equipped with
access ways for maintenance of the bridges.
CLASSIC CARRIAGE
The classic carriage is a top running trolley
with one drum. It has four driven wheels and
four idler wheels to support garage transfer
activities. The carriage wheelbase is 6.5m
(21ft) by 7.0m (23ft). Carriage travel speed is 0
to 15 m/min. Lifting capacity is 50 tonnes.
Lifting speed: 0 to 10 m/min. Vertical lifting
distance of 73m (240 ft). Continuous hook
rotation at 0.25 RPM. Carriage controls are
located on the trolley with wireless
communication to the control room.
SECURE CARRIAGE
The secure carriage is a top running trolley
with two drums. It has four driven wheels
and four idler wheels to support garage
transfer activities. The carriage wheelbase
is 6.5m (21ft) by 7.0m (23ft). Carriage travel
speed is 0 to 15 m/min. Lifting capacity is
50 tonnes (materials) or 40 tonnes capacity
(personnel). Lifting speed: 0 to 10 m/min.
Main hoist vertical lifting distance of 71.2m
(234ft). Recovery hoist lifting up 10m (33ft),
down 15m (49ft). Continuous hook rotation
at 0.25 RPM. Carriage controls are located
on the trolley with wireless communication
to the control room.
In order to allow worker access to high
radiation areas of the Object Shelter, the
Figure 2: NSC
compared to
Boeing 777, same
scale
Figure 3: MCS
bridges compared
to Boeing 777,
same scale
Secure carriage
Classic carriage
SPECIAL REPORT – CRANES AT CHERNOBYL
LIFT AND HOIST INTERNATIONAL • LIFTANDHOIST.COM 21
NSC is equipped with a shielded protective
box. Workers can be transported in the
shielded protective box only by the MCS
secure carriage. The secure carriage can be
used in cooperation with the classic
carriage to lift beams with a length >50m
and weight of up to 100 tonnes.
CARRIAGE EQUIPPED WITH MOBILE TOOL
PLATFORM (MTP)
The MTP is a custom-made tensile truss that
will serve as a stable platform for remotely
operated tools. The MTP is composed of two
triangular shaped platforms, upper and
lower, connected by six wire ropes. The six
hoists on the upper platform allow raising
and lowering of the lower platform to the
work area. The hoists also precisely control
tension on each wire rope so that the lower
platform can sustain significant horizontal
loads and torque generated by the use of
the tools. The MTP design is much more
than the standard anti-sway technology
used in the crane industry—it is an inverted
Stewart Platform and has the same
properties as a rigid structural element.
The rigid platform provides an ideal
delivery system for remote tooling that will
be required in the Chernobyl dismantling
efforts in the future. For the Chernobyl
application, a robotic arm is attached to a
rotating mounting plate to allow work to be
performed in a complete hemisphere below
the MTP. Remotely operated high radiation
cameras from Mirion IST will provide full
coverage of the Chernobyl plant and all
operations during the next phase of the
project as workers are located remotely and
will perform nearly all operations using
cameras.
The MTP is illustrated in Figures 4
and 5.
The mobile tool platform is an
exclusive design by the crane supplier and
has the following features:
• Provides 1.5 tonne side load capacity
with <0.5m deflection at full extension 35m (115ft). Could have the capability to move the lower platform laterally while the upper platform remains still through hoist control (flying); • Is used for tool deployment, including manipulator arm, core drill, concrete crusher and 10 tonne vacuum cleaner; • Power (175kW) is supplied throughout the vertical travel range 70m (230ft). The authors believe that this is the largest implementation of a tensile truss design for these purposes. Because it is first of a kind, the manufacturer constructed a 25 percent scale prototype in PaR’s facility in the USA (as shown on the cover of this issue). The prototype was used for proof of principle and to develop the sophisticated control system necessary for operation. The scale model tensile truss is fully functional and has been used by PaR Systems to prove the sophisticated software necessary to perform straight-line raising and lowering functions as well as develop complicated movements such as horizontal flying and rotation using motor control. Flying is achieved by precision control of the six hoists which moves the lower platform horizontally merely by varying the rope lengths. The lower platform can also be manipulated to various orientations which increases the functionality of the attached tools (see Figure 6). MTP PROTOTYPE TESTING Because of the physical size of the MTP, actual side load testing over the entire travel range of the MTP cannot be accomplished until final site installation. To help validate the full scale MTP performance PaR used the 1/4 scale version of the MTP to develop a Predictive Software package. Extensive load testing is being done on the 1/4 scale MTP. These results will be used to validate the accuracy of the Predictive Software. Full scale MTP side load and deflection information will then be estimated using the Predictive Software package. Figure 4: Mobile Tool Platform suspended from East bridge Figure 5: Mobile Tool Platform, detailed view Figure 6: Scale Model Tension Truss Lower Platform – using hoist control to achieve various orientations. SPECIAL REPORT - CRANES AT CHERNOBYL 22 LIFT AND HOIST INTERNATIONAL • LIFTANDHOIST.COM GARAGES: CARRIAGE TRANSFER AND MAINTENANCE The MCS consists of two bridges and three carriages. Any two carriages can be placed on either bridge at one time. There are two garages to enable transfer of carriages between bridges and to provide carriage maintenance space. Two carriages can be stored in either garage simultaneously. For example, suppose that it is desired to transfer the secure carriage from the eastern bridge to the western bridge. The eastern bridge is aligned with the single-story southern garage, the bridge is locked into place, and the carriage is driven into the garage. Then the eastern bridge is moved away, the western bridge aligned with the garage and locked into place, and the carriage is driven onto the bridge. The northern garage is a shielded three-story facility outfitted with hoists and other maintenance equipment to enable maintenance, repair, and, if necessary, complete disassembly of carriages at elevation. The lower platform of the MTP is lowered to a special stand at ground level for maintenance, to empty the vacuum collection system, and tool change-outs or replacement of consumables. CRANE CONTROL AND OPERATION If the MCS were to drop a heavy load over the Chernobyl Unit 4 reactor hall, a radioactive dust cloud would be generated. The NSC would prevent the dust from reaching the environment or endangering workers and the public outside of the NSC. However, the dust would be a significant hazard to anyone inside the NSC at that time. No personnel will be inside the NSC during such lifts. MCS operations will be performed by operators located outside of the NSC, without line-of-sight of the crane or its load. Consequently, the MCS is more heavily instrumented than a similar crane without this constraint. The radiation environment inside the NSC also impacts instrumentation and control design. The MCS Control Architecture consists of state-of-the-art programmable logic controllers (PLC), wireless and Ethernet hardware technologies along with human and machine interface (HMI). All operator commands are delivered to the crane system using a wireless control system. The operators sit at consoles equipped with joysticks and several touch screen monitors that provide MCS position and status, including load weighing system outputs. Other monitors display closed circuit television images of load and crane movement. There are also cameras located on the carriages and bridges used for common pre-operational checks. Two of the more complex operations executed by the control system are simultaneous operation and synchronous operation. Synchronous operation allows single point control for the Synchronous lifting or translocation of two carriages on the same or different bridges. This type of operation is necessary for lifting and moving long loads. Simultaneous operation allows single point control for the rotation of a long load being carried by two carriages on different bridges. INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS OF DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE The MCS components are designed, fabricated, and tested to the US codes and standards. The primary design code for the MCS is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Rules for Construction of Overhead and Gantry Cranes (Top Running Bridge, Multiple Girder), ASME NOG-1-2004. UkrKranEnergo, the leading Ukrainian expert in the design and manufacturing of crane equipment for various industrial applications, including nuclear power plants, performed reconciliation of ASTM materials standards, ASME-NOG-1, and AWS welding standards to the applicable Ukrainian codes and standards. These reconciliation analyses demonstrated that the MCS design either meets or exceeds Ukrainian codes and standards. Such code reconciliations are one of the most difficult aspects of international design and manufacturing. MTP compared to Test Platform DESIGN AND FABRICATION STATUS Since the issuance of the MCS contract, several design review meetings were held in the US and in Ukraine. At the time of publication, 99 percent of the MCS design is complete. PaR has issued purchase orders to its subcontractors for the supply of various components. The MCS carriages and bridge girders are very close to completion of fabrication. The factory acceptance testing of the MCS is scheduled in May 2013 and the shipment is scheduled in March 2014. The contract completion date for the New Safe Confinement is October 2015. IF THE MCS WERE TO DROP A HEAVY LOAD OVER THE CHERNOBYL UNIT 4 REACTOR HALL, A RADIOACTIVE DUST CLOUD WOULD BE GENERATED. THE NSC WOULD PREVENT THE DUST FROM REACHING THE ENVIRONMENT OR ENDANGERING WORKERS AND THE PUBLIC OUTSIDE OF THE NSC.

Post

1986-08-17 – Russian Department of Energy – The Accident At The Chernobyl AES And It’s Consequences




fOCY.ll.APCTBEHHblR HOMHTET
no Hcnonb30BAHHIO ATOMHOR SHEPfHH CCCP
State ColTITiittee for Using the Atomic EnPrgy of USSR
ABAPHH HA lJEPHOBbIJibCKOH · ABC
H EE IlOCJIE~CTBHH
THE ACCIDENT AT THE CHERNOBYL AES AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
HHopManH11, no·,n.roToBJJeHHBR AnJI coBeiuanHR
sHcneproe MAr AT3
(25-29 asryCTa 1986 r. BEHA)
Data rrepared for the
International Atomic Energy Agency
Expert Conference
(25-29 August 1986, Vienna)
WORKING DOCUMENT FOR CHERNOBYL
POST ACCIDENT REVIEW MEETING
-P -U -8 -L -t -C -A -T -l -0 -N
AsryCT
1986 r .
TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, NE-40
AUGUST 17, 1986
• CXNI’ENrS
Introduction
1. Descriptioo of the Chernobyl’ AES with RBMK-1000 Reactors
2. Chronology of the ‘Develq::ment of the Accident
3. Analysis of the Process ·Of Develoμnent of the Accident on a ¥.aat..’1-ierratical
Mcxiel .
4. causes of the Accident
5. Initial Measures to Increase Nuclear PCMer Plant Safety with RBMK Reactors
6. Preventing Developrent of an Accident and Reducing Its Consequences
7. M:mitoring RaC..ioactive Contamination of the Environrrent and the Health of
the Pop.llation
8. Rea:mrerrl.ations for Increasing the Safety of Nuclear Pa.Yer Engineering
• Developrent of 1′.uclear Pc:Me.r Engineering in the USSR

• PREFACE
The information presented here is ba.sed. on conclusions of the
Goverrment Carmission on the causes of the accident at the fourth milt of
the Chernobyl’ Nuclear Power Station and was prepared by the following
experts enployed by the USSR State Ccmnission Cotmittee on the.use of Atanic
Energy:
Aba.gyan, A. A. Mysenkov I A. I.
AsmJlOV f v. G. Pavlovskiy, O. A.
Gus’kova, A. K. Petrov, V. N.
Dernin, v. F. Pikalov, V. K.
Il’in, L. A. Protsenko, A. N.
Izrael’, Yu. A. Ryazantse\•, Ye. P.
Kalugin, A. K. Sivintsev, Yu. V.
Konviz, v. s. SUkhoruchkin, v. K.
Kuz’min, Ia I. Tokarenko, ·v. F.
Kuntsevich, A. D. Khrulev, A. A.
I.egasov, V. A. Shakh, O. Ya.
:Malkin, S • D.
Materials obtained fran the follONing organizations were used in
preparing the infonnation: The Io V. Kurchatov Institute of Atanic Energy,
the Scientific Research am Design Institute of PCMer Equiprent, the
v. G. Khlopin P.adium Institute, the s. Ya. Zhuk “Hydrodesign” Institute, the
All-Union Scientific Research Institute on Nuclear Power Stations, the

Institute of Biophysics, the Institute of Applied Geophysics, the f?tate .
· carmittee on Nuclear Energy, the State Camlittee on hydraneteorology
2
Ministry of Heal th, the State Ccmni ttee on Nuclear Safety, the Ministry of
Defense, the Main Fire Protection Administration of the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and the USSR Academy of ·Sciences.·

• An accident occurred at the fourth unit of the Chernobyl’ Nuclear Power
Station on April 26, 1986, at 1:23 AM with.damage to the active zone of the
reactor and part of the building in \obich it was located.
The accident occurred just before stowing of the powerplant for
scheduled maintenance during testing of the operating ncxies of one o~ the
turbogenerators. The pc:Mer outp.lt of the reactor suddenly increased
sharply, \tihich led to damage to the reactor and discharging of part of the
radioactive products aCCUltUllated in the active zoi:ie into the atm::>sphere.
The nuclear reaction in the reactor of the fcurth p:Merplant stopped in
the process of the accident. The fire which broke out was extinguished, and
operations -were begun for containing and eliminating the consequences of the
accident.
The poμilation was evacuated fran areas irme:iiately adjacent to the
area of the nuclear power plant and fran a zone with a radius of 30 km
around it.
In view of the extrete character of the accident ‘Which occurred at
Chernobyl’, an ~rations grc:up headed by Prine Minister of the u.s.s.R.
N. I. Ryzhkov was organized at the Polithlro of the 0: CPSU (c.entral
Ccmnittee of the Camunist Party of the Soviet Union) for coordinating the
activity of ministries and other g0\7emment departnents in eliminating the
consequences of the accident and rendering aid to the population. A
Govenment Camli.ssian ~ fonred and entrusted with studying the causes of
2
the accident and carrying out the necessary ercergency and reconstruction
ueasures. The necessary scientific,. technical _and econanic capabilities and
rescurces of the camtry were provided.
Representatives of M1GATE were invited to the USSR and given the .
opportunity to familiarize themselves with the state of affairs at the
Chemobyl’ Nuclear Powerplant and ireasures for overccming the accident.
They infoored the world ccmrunity about their assessrcent of the situation.
The governments of a nmnber of countries, many governmental, social and
private organizations and irrlividual citizens fran various countries of the
world appealed to varirus organizations of the USSR with proposals
concerning participation in overcaning the after-effects of the accident.
SCJre of these propJsa.ls were accepted.
In the thirty years of its develoi;:ment, nuclear power engineering has
.cx:cupied an essential place in \l,10rldwide p::Mer production and, on the whole,
has displayed high levels of sa.fety for man and the envirorment. One cannot
imagine the future of the \l,10rld econany without nuclear power. However, its
further develo?lElt rrust be a~ed by still greater efforts on the part
of science and engineering for ensuring its operatior..al reliability and
safety.
‘nle accident at Cllernobyl’ was the result of coincidences of several
events of law probability. ‘!be Soviet Union draws the proper conclusions
fran this accident.


3
Rejecting nuclear power sources ~ld require a eo~siderable increase
in prcduct.ion and canbustlon of organic fuels. ~s ·’WOlld steadily increase
the risk of h\Dan diseases and the loss.of-water-and forests due to the
continuc:us passage of haIInful chemical substances into the biosphere.
‘nle developtent of the ‘WOrld’s nuclear power resc:urces brings with it,
in addition to gain in the area of the ener~’ supply and-the preservation of
natural resources, dangers of an international character. These danqers
include transfers of radioactivity across bOrders, especially in large-scale –
radiation accidents, the problan of the spread of nuclear -weapons and the
danger of international terrorisn, and the specific danger of nuclear
installations under conditions of war. All this dictates the fun::lanental
·: necessity of deep international cooperation in the field o.f devel~t of
. nuclear power systems and ensuring of their safety.
such are the realities.
The saturation of the m::xlern ‘WOrld with potentially dangerrus
industrial processes, in significantly intensifying the effects of military
operations, places the question of the senselessness and unacceptability of
war under nodern corditians on a new plane.
In a speech on Soviet television on May 14, M. s. Gorbachev stated:
-.ihe indisFUtable ~esson of Chernobyl’ for us lies in the fact that under
conditions of further expansion of the scientific and technical revolution,
questions of the reliability of equiFfiel1t and its safety and questions on
4
discipline, order anc1 organization take on primary importance. The
strictest requirarents are needed everywhere.
Fu.rthemr:>re, we consider it necessary to IIOV’e toward a serious
deepening of cooper13:tion within the franework of the International ~ency on
Atanic Energy.”
CHAPl’ER 1. OESCRIPI’ION OF THE CHERNOBYL’ NUCLEAR PCMER STATION
·WI’l’H m1K-1000 RFJ>Cl’ORS
1.1 Design Data
‘!he planned power of the Chernobyl’s Power Station (ChAES) ~ was 60M\7,
and ai January 1, 1986, the pcMer of fa.ir units of the AES was 4000MW. The
third and fourth units belong to the second phase of the ChAES and to the
second generation of these Nuclear Power Stations (AES) •
1.2 Description of the Reactor Installation (RU)
. of the Fourth Unit of the ChAES
The basic design features of REMK reactors are as follows:
1) vertical channels with the fuel and the heat-transfer agent, ‘Which
pennit local reloading of fuel with a ~rking reactor;
2) fuel in the fonn of b.mdles of cylindric fuel elanents of uranium
dioxide in zirconium shell tubes;
3) a graphite m:xlerator between channels;
4) a low-boiling heat-transfer nedium in the forced circulation
rrcirculation ncde (KMP’l’s) with direct feeding of steam to the turbine.
‘lbese design decisions in canbination condition all the basic features
of the reactor and the AES, both· advantages and shortcanings. The
advantages include: the absence of reactor vessels, which are awkward to
produce on the powerplant maximJm capacity and on the production base; the
absence of a catplex and expensive steam generator; the possibility of
tinuous reloading of fuel and a good neutron balance; a flexible fuel
cycle, ~ch is easily adapted to variations in the fuel market conditions;
2
the :possibility of nuclear superheating of the steam: high themodynamic
reliability of the thel::mal equiprent and viability of the reactor due to the
controlling of the flow rate for each channel separately, JI’Oni toring of the
integrity of the channels, m::>ni toring of the parameters and radio activity
of the heat-transfer m:dium of each channel and replacenent of damaged·
channels while running. The short.canings include: the po~sibili ty of the
developnent of a :positive void coefficient of reactivity due to the phase.
change in the heat-transfer agent which deteI:mines the transient neutronic
behavior; high sensitivity of the neutron field to reactivity disturbances
of different kinds, necessitating a canplex control systarl for stabilizing
the distribution of the release of energy in the active zone: ccrrplexity of
.the inlet-outlet piping system for the heat-transfer agent of each channel;
a large anount of theJ:IPal. energy accunulated in the metal structures,· fuel
elerrents and graphite block structure of the reactor; slightly radioactive .
steam in the turbine.
The RBMK-1000 reactor with a pc::7Wer of 3200 MW (thennal) (Fig. 1) is
equipped with two identical cooling loops: 840 parallel vertical channels
with heat-releasing assemblies (TVS) are connected to each loopo.
A cooling loop has four main parallel circulation pol’C’pS (three working
pmps feeding 7000 t/h of water each with a head of about 1.5 MPa, and one
back-up pmtp).
‘nle water in the channels is heated to boiling and partially
evaporateso ‘!’he water-steam mixture with an average steam content of 14% by
mass is bled through the top part of the channel and a water-steam line into
two horizontal gravity separators. The my steam (with a nDisture. content
less than 0.1%) separated in them passes fran each separator at a pressure


3
of 7 MPa in two steam lines into two turbines with a JX7Wer of 500 M-7
(electrical) each (all eight steam lines of the foor separators are jointed
by a ocmron •ring”), and the water, after mixing with steam condensate:,· is
fed by 12 down pipes into the intake collector of the main cooling J?.JITPS.
Condensate of the steam exhausted frcm the turbines is returned by feed
water ?JlIPS through separators into the top part of the aa.ID pipes, creating
un:ierheating of the.water to the saturation tanperature at the main cooling
p.l[ilp inlet.
‘ll’le reactor as a whole is made up of a set of vertical channels with
fuel and the heat-transfer nedium l::uilt into cylindric apertures of graphite
colmons, and top and bottan protective plates. A light cylindric housing
. (casing) encloses the space of the graphite block structure.
The blcx::k structure consist of graphite b°locks with a square cross
section with cylindric apertures along the axis assanbled into columns. The
.block structure rests on the OOttan plate, which transmits the weight of the
reactor to a concrete shaft.
Al::out 5% of the reactor ~r is released in the graphite fran slowing
· down of neutrons and absorption of gamna quanta. For reducing the themal
resistance and preventing graphite oxidation, the block structure is filled
with a slowly circulating mixture of helium and nitrogen, which serves at
the sane time for nonitoring the integrity of the channels by m=asuring the
humidity and tanperature of the gas.
There are spaces under the bottan and over the top plates for placing
~t carrier pipes on roo.tes fran the separator dnmls (BS) and distributing
collectors to each channel.
4
A rooot – a loading.and unloading machine (RZM) – after renoval of the
appropriate section of the plating and after being noved·to the coordinates
of the charmel links with its head, balances its pressure with the pressure
of the channel, unseals the channel, raroves the blrned-out (fuel elemants
(TVS) and replaces them with a fresh one, seals the channel, \ll’lCOOples
itself and transports the irradiated ‘IVS to a holding tank. ‘While the RZM
is connected to the cavity of the channel (TK), a small fl<:7« of i;:m-e water passes fran it through a thenrohydraulic seal into the TK, creating a "barrier" to the penetration of the RZM by hot, radioactive water fran the '!J(. The system for control and protection (SUZ) of the reactor is based on novarent of 211 solid absorber rods in specially isolated channels cooled with water of an independent duct. The system provides: autanatic adjustment to a specified ~ level; a rapid reduction of the power level adjustnent to by OOth rods of autanatic regulators (AR) and rods of manual regulators (RR) according to malfunction signals fran the basic equipnent1 energence interruption of the chain reaction by emergency protection (AZ) rods accordlllg to signals of dangeroos deviation.S of the paraneters of the unit or malfunctions of the equipnent1 cc:up:nsation for reactivity variations in heating up.and emergence at power; regulation of the distrib.ltiai of the release of energy over the action zone. RBMK reactors are equipped with a large number of independent control systans, which are being uoved into the active zone at a rate of 0. 4 ml s in functioning of the AZ. 'nle low rate of IIDV~t of the control ~stans is CCJnFEnSated for by the large nmober of systems. • • 5 The SUZ includes subsystems for lcx::al autanatic control· (LAR) and local srergency protection (I.AZ). Both operate according to signals of ionization chaui::>ers inside the reactor. The I.AR autana:tically stabilizes the
fundamental haJ:m::nics of radial-azimuthal distril::xltion of the release of
energy, while the I.AZ provides errergency protection of the reactor against
~ceeding the specified p::1W’9r of channel cartridges in reactor individual
areas. Shortened absorber rods (USP) intrcxluced into the zone fran the
l:::ottan (24 reds) are included for controlling the ~ fields along ·the
height of the reactor •
6
The RBMK-1000 reactor includes the following. basic JYDnitoring and
control systans in addition to the SUZ:
l) a system for physical JYDnitoring of the field of the ·release of
energy along the radius (JYDre than 100 channels.) and the height (12
channels) by neans of direct charging pickups;
2) a start-up nonitoring system (neutron flux nonitors, start-up
fission chambers);
3) a systan for m:mitoring the water fla.; rate along each channel with
ball fl~ters;
4) a systsn for m:>nitoring the integrity (KOO) of the fuel elarents
based on m=asuring the .short-tine activity of volatile fission produG:ts in
water-steam lines (PVK) at the ouilet·fran each channel; the activity is
detected sequentially in each channel in appropriate optimJm energy ranges
(”windows”) with a photamll ti plier, which is m::wed fran one PVK to another
by a special carriage;
5) a system for nonitoring the integrity of the channels (Icr’sTK) by
nea.suring the humidity and the te:nperature of.the gas flowing in the
channelse
All the data pass to a canputer c The information is given out to the
operators in the foi:rn of deviation signals, indications (on call) and data
of recorders.
UJ:he RBMK-1000 power units operate primarily in a base-load no:ie (at
constant power output).

7
In view of the great power of the unit, a full autanatic shut-down of
• the reactor occurs only if indicators of the power· 1evel, pressure or water .
level in the separator pass. beyond acceptable limits, in a case of a general.
cut-off of electric current, disconnection of two turl:cgenerators or two
mall1 cooling p..imps at once, a drop in the feedwater flow rate by a factor of
nore than 2, or full cross-sectioned rupture of the main outlet pipeof
cooling pJIIpS with a diarceter of 900 nrn. In other cases of equipnent
failures, only an autanatic controlled reduction in power (to a level·
corresponding to the po.Yer of the equiμrent which has remained in· operation)
is envisaged.
1.3. Basic Physical Characteristics of the Reactor
The RBMK-1000 nuclear :power reactor is a heterogeneous the:anal channel
.reactor, in which uranium dioxide weakly enriched in regard to uranium-235
.is used as fuel, graphite is used as.rroderator and boiling light water is
used as the heat-transfer m=dium. The reactor has the following basic
characteristics:
Thermal power
Fuel enriclment
Uranium mass in a cartridge
Number I diaireter of fuel
elerrents in ‘IVS
Depth of fuel burnup
“Coefficient of non-unifo:oni.ty of
release of energy along the
radius
Coefficient of non-unifoIInity of
release of energy along the
height
3200 MW
2.0%
114.7 kg
18/ 13. 6 IIlll
20 MW day/kg
1.48
1.4
Calculated maximum· power of
channel.
Isotopic canposition of
unloaded fuel: ·
urani1.mr’235
urani~236
plutonium-239
plutonium-240
plutonium-241
Void reactivity coefficient
at a working point
8
Fast power reactivity coefficient
at a working point
Coefficient of expantion fuel
temperature coefficient
Coefficient of expantion graphite
temperature coefficient
Minirm.Jm “weight” of rods of suz, ~
Effectiveness of r6ds of RR, AK
Effect of replacarent (on the average)
of the burnup ‘IVS with fresh
3,250 kW
4.5 kg/t
2o4 kg/t
2.6 kg/t
1.8 kg/t o.s kg/t
2.0 x 10- ‘°·/ vol.% steam
-o.s -to x 10 /Mil
-S o -1.2 x 10 I c
10.5%
7.5%
0.02%
An i.Irp:>rtant physical characteristic fran the point of view of control
and safety of the reactor is a, value called the operating reactivity margin.
The o:perating reactivity margin neans the specific number of suz_ rods ·
plunged into the active zone which are in a region of high differential
efficiency., It is deteDnined by recalculation for fully sul:nerged SUZ rods.
The value of the reactivity margin for RBMK-1000 reactors is generally
accepted as 30 RR rods~ In this case, the rate of intrcx:luction of a
negative reactivity in functioning of the AZ anounts _to l “f’/s (“~” is the
prqx:>rtion of delayed neutrons), which is sufficient far ccrcpensatian for
positive reactivity effects.
9
‘Ihe character of the dependence of the effective breeding coefficient
n the density of the heat-transfer n:aliurn in R8MK reactors is .deteIJni.ned to
a great degree ·b’j the presence of absorbers of different kinds in the active·
zone. In initial charging of the AZ, which includes abalt 240 boroncx:
mtaining additional absorbers (DP), dehydration results in a negative·
reactivity effect.
At the same tine, a small increase in the steam content at naninal
power with a reactivity margin of 30 rods results in an increase in
reacti. vi. ty ( =2.0 x 10- a+/ vol.% steam).
For a boiling water~aphite reactor, the basic paraneters which define
its ability to properly operate alli safety in the regard to thennal
equipnent are: . the terrperature of the fuel elarents, the margin before the
a crisis.of heat transferoccurs, and the graphite tarq;:ierature.
A set of canputer codes which makes it possible to conduct operating
:calculations on station carplters for ensuring plant reliability of thenna.l
equipnent of the powerplant in a node of continuous reloading of fuel at any
position of the cut-off and control valves at the inlet to each channel has
been developed for RBMK reactors. Thus the possibility of detennining the
·physical paraneters of the reactor at variable frequency of the adjustnent
of channel flow rates and different control criteria (based on eighter
outlet steam quality or on the margin of the critical power) and also as a
function of the throttling of the active zone is provided.
Far defining the fields of the release of energy over the active zone
of a reactor, indications of the physical m:>ni toring system, based on
nea.surarents of the neutron flC11.• along the radius and height of the active
10
zone takeri·inside the reactor, are used. In addition to.indications .of the
pbysical m:mitoring system, data characterizing the carposition of the
active zone and the energy generation of each TK, the arrangarent of· the
regulating rods, the di.strihltion.of water flow rates along channels of the
active zone and readings of gages of the pressure and ~rature of the
heat-transfer iredium re also entered into the station c~ter. As a result
of calculations by the PRIZMA program performad periodically by the
ccmputer, the operator receives infonnation on a digital printing device in
the fom of a cartogram of the active zone, which indicates the type of
loading of the active zone, the arrangarent of regulation rcxis, the network
of the arrangarent of pickups inside the reactor, and the distril:ution of
por.r.ier levels, water_flow rates, reserves up to critical powers and reserves
up to the naximlin acceptable thermal loads on the fuel elements in regard to
each fuel channel of the reactor. The station c:arp.Iter also carpltes the
averall the:cmal i;x:rwer of the reactor, the distribution of flow rates of the
steam-water mixture arrong the separators, the integral generation. of power,
the steam content at the outlet fran each TK and other pararreters necessary
for nonitoring and controlling the installation.


11
‘!he e>..~ience of operation of active RBMK reactors indicates that with
.•
the means for m:mitoring and control available on these reactors, maintain-
~temperature coooitions of the.fuel and the graphite and reserves before
a crisis of convective heat transfer at an acceptable level causes no
difficulties.
1.4. Safety Assurance Systsns (Figso 2 and 3)
1.4.1. Protective Safety Systems
The syst.sn for emergency cooling of the reactor (S1£>R) is a protective
safety system and is intended for providing el..imi.nation of the residual
release of heat by prcmpt. feeding of the required arrount of water into
reactor channels in accidents acccrnpanied by disruption of cooling of the
active zone •
Such accidents include: ruptures of large-diameter KMP’I’s pipelines,
ruptures of steam lin~s, and ruptures of feedwater pipelines.
The system for protection against an excess of pressure in the main
heat carrier duct is intended for providing an acceptable pressure level in
the duct due to rerroval of steam into a perforated sprayer tank for its
condensation.
The system for protection of the reactor space (RP) is intended for
ensuring that an acceptable pressure is not exceeded in the RP in an
erergency situation with rupture of one operating channel due to rem:wal of
the steam-gas mixture fran the RP into the screen of steam-gas discharges of
the sprayer tank and then into the sprayer tank with simultaneais
extinguishing of the chain reaction with the AZ facilities. The SK>R and
12
the system for cooling the reactor space can be used for introducing the·
‘ I appropriate neutron absorbers (salts of boron and He).
1.4.2 localizing Safety Systans
‘nle system for localization of accidents (SIA) realized on the fourth
unit of the ChAF.S is intencled for localizing radioactive discharges in
accidents with unsealing of any pipelines of the react.Or cooling duct except
the PVK pipelines, the top tracts of the operating channels and that part of
the down pipes which is located in the separator drum canpartment, and
pipelines for st.earn-gas discharges fran the RPc
The main ~t of the localization system is a system of airtight
canpartments, including the following canpartments of the reactor division:
– tightly packed cells arranged syrnnetrically in relation to the
reactor axis and designed for an excess pressure of 0.45 MPa:
– canpartments of separator group collectors (RGK) and bottan water
lines (NVK); these canpartments do not pennit an increase in excess pressure
above Oo08 MPa according to the conditions of strength of canponents of the
reactor structure and are designed for this value.
carpart:nents of ·tightly packed cells arxi the steam distributor corridor
are connected to the water· space of the perforated sprayer condensation
device by steam outlet channels.
‘nle cut-off and sealing armature system is intended for providing
airtightness of the zone of localization of accidents by cutting off
ccmnunicating lines connecting the sealed and unsealed canpartmen~o •
13
The rubbling condensation device is intended for condensation of steam
fonred:
– in the precess of an accident with unsealing of the reactor contour;
– in functioning of the main safety valves (GPK);
– in leaks through the GPK in a nolJilal. operating m:ide~
1.4.3. Security Safety Systans
The AES Pcwer SUwly
Electric p::r.r.ier users at an AES are divided into three groups, depending
on the requirerrents placed on the reliability of the power supply:
1) users who cannot i;:ermit interruption of the feed for fractions of a
second up to a f~ seconds under any conditions, including conditions of a
total disappearance of alternating current voltage fran “”=>rking and back-up
transfonners for system needs, and who require the obligatory presence of a
IX’Wer supply after functioning of the reactor AZ;
2) users who can accept a :p:::Mer interruption of tens of seconds up to
tens of minutes under the sane conditions and require the obligatory
presence of a pciwer supply after functioning of the reactor AZ7
3) users who do not require the presence of a :i;:iower supply in conditions
of a disappearance of voltage fran ‘WOrking and back-up transfonners
for systan needs and in a noDna.l m:rlel of operation ·of the unit can peDilit
interruption of the supply for the t.i.ne of transfer fran a workin:J to a
• back-up transfomier for system needs.
14
1.4.4. Controlling Safety Systems
Controlling safety systems are intended for autar\atic engagemant of · ·
devices of protective, localizing and security safety systems and for
:aonitoring of their operationo
L4 .5. The Radiation Monitoring System
The AES radiation rconitoring system is a carq;:ionent (subsystan) of the
AES autarated control system and is intended for collection, processing and
display of information concerning the radiation situation in canpart:ments of
the AES and in the external environment, the condition of operating
facilities and ducts, and irradiation doses to personnel in accordance with
active noIJnS and legislation.
__ !

15
1.4 .6. AES Control Points
Control of the AE.S is carried an at ~- levels: station and . plant.
All the control systans ~ich ensure safety of the AES are located at
the plant level.
1.5. Description of the Area of the Chemobyl’ ·AES
and the Areas in Which It is Located
1.5.1. Description of the Regien
The Chernobyl’ AES is located in the ea.stem part of a large region
kno,..n as the Belorussian-UJcrainian Alluvial Plain, on the banks of the
Pripyati River, which flc:Ms in the Dnepr. This _region is characterized by a
.threela tively flat relief with ver:y slight surface slopes in the direction of river and its.tributaries.
The total length of the Pripyati up to its flow into the Dnepr is
748 km; the area of the drainage basin at the AES site is 106 thousand km ,
and the width is 200-300 m. The average flow speed is 0.4-0.S m/s, and the
average water flow rate over many years is 400 ~ /s.
The water-bearing level, which is used for danestic and drinking water
needs of the region in question, li;es at a depth of 10-15 m in relation to
the current depth of the Pripyati and is separated fran (\la.ternary deposits
by clay marls ~ch are relatively impenneable to water •

·._ .. ~.
16
‘l.’he region of the Belorussian-Ukrainian Alluvial Plain as a wh::>le is
.
characterized by a low population density (before the beginning.of
construction of the Chernobyl”· AES,. the. average i;:opulation density in the
region in question was approximately 70 people per km ) •
At the beginning of 1986, the total pc1?.llation in a 30-kilareter zone
ara.ud the AES am::unted to about 100 thoosand people, of whan 49 thousand
lived in the city of Pripyati, located west of the three-kilareter sanitaryprotection
zone of the AES, while 12. 5 thousand lived in the regional
center, the city of Chernobyl’, located 15 km to the southeast of the AES.
1.5.2. Description of the AE.S Areas and Its Structures
‘ll1e first phase of the Chernobyl’ .AF.s, CXllifXJsed of tw:> power units with
RBMK-1000 reactors, was milt in the perio::l of 1970-1977, an:9. construction

of two power uni ts of a second phase was ccmpleted at the sane site by the •
. end of 1983.
Construction of another two power units with reactors of the sane kind
(the third phase of the AF.S) was begun 1.5 Jan southeast of this site in
1981.
To the southeast of the AES site, right in the valley of the Pripyati
River, a water cooling pond was tuilt with an area of 22 km
2
1 the pond
provides cooling of tllrbine condensers and other heat exchangers of the
first four p:iwer units. The no:cmal retaining level of water in the cooling
porXi was adcpted as 3.5 m below the grading mark of the AES siteo


17
~ high~city cooling towers (a hydraulic load of 100 thousartd·m /h
each), which can operate., parallel with the cooling pond, are being l:uilt as
part of the third phase of the AF.S.
To the west and.north of the site of the first and Second phases of the
AES is the area of the construction base and the supply departnent.
1.5.3. Data on the Number of Personnel at the AES
Site During the Accident
There were 176 duty operating personnel and, also, other workers of
various shops and repair services at the site of the first and second phases
of the Chernobyl’ AES on the night of April 25 and 26, 1986.
In addition, 268 construction workers and assanblers were working on
the night shift at the site of the third phase of the AES.
1.5.4. Infonnation About the F.q\litrrent at the Site Which Operated
Together With the Damaged Reactor and About the F.quiprent
Used in the Procesf:.i of the Overcaning the Accident ·
Construction of the Chernobyl’ AES is carried out in phases, which each
consist of two pc::Mer units and have special water purification systar.s
camon to the ‘bJo units and have special water purification systems cc:rmon
18
to the two units and auxiliary structures and the industrial site \rfuich
. include:
– storage for liquid and solid radioactive-wastes:
– open c:listrirutor devices:
– gas equipnent·:
back-up diesel generator power plants:
– hydraulic engineering and other structures.
The storage for liquid radioactive wastes,_ built as part of the second
phase of the AFS, is interrled for collection and tarp:macy storage of liquid
radioactive wastes arriving in operation of the third and foorth units and
for collection of water fran operational flushing and its recovecy for
reprocessing. Liquid radioactive wastes pass fran the main housing by
pipelines laid on the bottan level of a scaffold, while the Solid
radioactive wastes ccne to the storage by the top oorridor of the scaffold
by electric trucks.
A nitrogen-oxygen station is intended for satisfying the needs of the
third and fourth units of the AESe
The gas equipnent is made up of canpressor, electrolysis, helimn and
argon tank equipnent in~ for providing the third and foorth units of
the AFS with canpressed air, hydrogen, helium and argon. Receivers for
storing nitrogen and hydrogen are lcx:ated in open areas.
A back-up diesel power plant (RDFS) is an independent emargency _source
of electric power for systems inp::>rtant to the .safety of each unit. Three
diesel generators with a unit power of 5.5 Mi were installed on each RDF.s of
the third and foorth units. Intelltlediate and base diesel fuel depOts, ~
\
••
19
transfers of fuel, and errergency fuel ·and oil drainage tanks are included .
• for ensuring operation ·of the RDFS. ·
The source of the technical water supply for the third.and fourth Units
is the ccx:.>ling pond.
‘nle water of the circulation ?JI1TP house, which is unified for the third
and foorth units, is fed into a delivecy tank, fran which it passes by
gravity fla.iv into the turbine con:iensers.
Separate water.works of the third and fourth units are included for
supplying technical water to :Unportant users ‘Who require an uninterrupted
water supply. A back-up power supply fran diesel generators is available
for these water ‘WOrks.
All four power units of the first and second phases and auxiliary
systems and industrial area facilities involved with their nonna.1 operation
were ‘Werking on April 25, 1986.
20
OiAPl’ER 2. CHR:>NOLCXiY OF . THE DEVELDPMENI’ OF THE 1′.CCIDENT
The Chernobyl’ Powerplant No. 4 was p.lt into operation in December,
1983. ‘B’j the time of stopping of the plant for a m=dium repair, which was
planned for April 25, 1986, the active· zone contained 1659 TVS with an.
average blrnup of 10.3 MW day/kg, 1 DP and 1 unloaded channel. The main
pa.rt of the TVS {75%} were cartridges of the first loading with a bumup of
12-15 MW day/kg.
Tests of turbogenerator No. 8 in a runout rn:xie with the auxiliary
oonsurnption load only internal needs were planned just before stowing. The
. purpose of these tests was to experim=ntally verify the t:0ssibilities for
·Using mechanical inertia energy of the rotor of a turbogenerator disc,onnecte::
l fran steam suwly, in order to generate electricity for aUX.iliary
IIOtors ‘«hat may be required if the turbogenerator is disconnected fran an
electric grid. This node is used in one of the subsystems of the high-speed
·:.::system for arergency cooling of the reactor (SADR). With the proper order
of perfoIInance of ·the tests and additional safety xreasures, the perfo:r:mance
of tests of this kind on a ‘NOrking AES was not prohibited.
Buch tests had already been perfonned previously at this station. It
was established at that tine that the voltage on the generator busses drops
Dllch before, the rcechanical (inertia) energy of the rotor in running downe
In the tests scheduled for April 25, 1986, the use of a special systen to
control regulator of the magnetic field of the generator, which was to have
eliminated this shortcx:ming, was plarmed. However, the “Working Program of
Tests for ‘l’urbogenerator No. 8 of the Chernobyl’ AF..S” in accordance with

••
21
which the tests were to have been conducted was not prepared and approved in
the prq:>er way.
‘!he quality of the program proved low; the section on safety measures
included in it was cc:mposed ?Jrely as a matter of form. (It ?=>inted a;it
only that in the process of tests, all switching is done With the
authorization of the station shift director; in case of develoμrent of an
emargency situation, all pe.rsormel must act in accordance with local·
instructions: and just before the beginning of the tests, the test leader –
an electrical engineer, who is not a specialist on reactor installations –
briefs the watch on duty.) In addition to the fact that the pro;rams
.. essentially included no additional safety measures, it prescribed
.··disengaging the system for em:rgency cooling of the reactor. This ~t
that throughout the period of the tests_, i.e., about 4 hours, the safety of
;the reactor a:pp=ars to have been lowered significantly.
On the strength of the fact that the proper attention was not devoted
to the safety of these tests, the personnel were not ready for them and did
not know about the ?=>ssible dangers. In addition, as· one will be able to
see fran what follows, personnel deviated fran carrying out the program,
thereby creating the conditions for develoi;:rnent of an emergency situation.
‘llle personnel started to reduce the power ou’tplt of the reactor, Wich
had been operating . at nai\inal parameters,. at 1: 00 AM on April 25, and at
1:05 PM turbogenerator No. 7 (‘l’G No. 7) was disconnected fran the grid at a
reactor thermal a.it?Jt of 1600 Ki. The electric~ supply for the
22
auxiliaries (4 main cooling p.llI’pS, 2 feed waterp.mips) was transferred to
,•
the busses of turbogenerator No. 8. –
‘!be 51-DRwas disengaged fran the Ire main coding p.mips, one fran each side ~e engaged in addition
to the six pumps. which had been operating, so that after the end of the
experiment, in which foor pmps were to operate to sui;p:>rt the runbut nDde ••
23
of operation, fwr pmps ‘Walld.remabl in the forced circulation loop (KTPI’)
, reliable cooling ·of the active zone.- .
~
Since the :ceactor power and, consequently, the hydraulic resistance of
the active zone and the lrtant to make sure that the mathematical
26
m:xiel of the power unit accurately describes the behavior of the reactor
.
and the other equi:i;,itent and systans under. just those conditions making up
the sitllation just before
the breakdam. As already nentioned in the previous section, the reactor
was operating in an unstable manner after”l:OO AM on .April 26, 1986, and
the operators were introducing “disturbances” into the. control object
practically continuously for stabilizing its paramaters. This made it
possible to carpare actual data recorded with adequate reliability by
recording devices to data optained in nurrerical sim.llation for quite a
large time inteJ:val under various effects on the reactor installation. The
canparison results proved. quite satisfactory, which attests to the adequacy
of the mathematical m:Xie1: and the real object.
In order to present the effect of prehistory on the character of
develqnent of the accident m::ire clearly, we shall analyze the calculation
data beginning fran 1:19:00 AM, i.e., 4 minutes before the beginning of the
test with rundown of the TB (Fig. 4o). This ncirent is convenient in that
the operator began one of the operations for repleni.shrcent of the separator
drums (the second since 1:00), which introduced strong disturbances into
the regulation object. At this m:m:::mt, the DREG program recorded the
positions of rods of all three AR: i.e., the initial conditions for the
calculation were clearly recorded.
‘!he operator began replenisl:’lm;mt of the separator drums to avoid
allowing a dip in the water level in them. He succeeded in maintaining the
level in 30 s, having· increased the flow rate of feedwater by a factor of
nore than 3. The operator apparently decided not only to maintain· the
water level but to raise it. Therefore, he continued increasing the water



27
• flow rate, and it exceeded the original flow rate. by a factor of 4 in just
al::olt a minute.
As soon as colder water fran the separating drums reached the active
zone, steam generation decreased noticeably, causing a decrease in the
volunetric steam content, which resulted in m:JVatent of ali the AR rods
upwcu:d. In about 30 s they anerged at the top ends, and the operator was
forced to “help” than with manual control rOO.s, thereby reducing the
operating reactance reserve. (‘!bis operation was not recorded in the
operation log, but it wculd have been impossible to maintain power at a
level of 200 ~ withoot it.) The operator, having rrcved the manual rods
up, achieved recanpensation, and one of the groups of AR rcxis was lowered
by 1.8 m.
The decrease in steam generation led to a small pressure decrease •
. · After about a minute, at 1: 19: 58, a high-speed reduction device (BRU-K) ,
throogh which steam surpluses were released into the condenser, was closed.
‘!bis praroted sane decrease in the rate at which the pressure was dropping.
HO’it1eVer, the pressure continued to drop slowly up to· the beginning of the
test. It changed by rrcre than 0.5 MPa during this period.·
A printout of ·the actual fields of releases of energy and the
positions of all the regulation rods was obtained on the “Skala” STsK at
1 :22 :30. An attempt has been ma.de at “tying together” the calculated and
recoJ:ded neutron fields by just this m::ment.
The overall characteristics of the neutron field at this m:::ment were
as fol.lows: it was practically arched in a.radjaJaz:imutha.l direction and
doo.ble-peaked, on the average, iri regard to height, with a higher release
28
of energy in the top sect.ion of the-active zone. Such a field distribution
is
quite natural for the situation of the reactor: a depleted active zone,
.
alm:>st all the regulation rods up, a volunetric steam content significantly
higher in the top part of the active zone than at the bottc:in, contamination
13.i
with Xe higher in the central parts of the reactor than in the peripheral
parts.
(:,- ~
The reactance reserve anounted to a total of sac rods at 1:22:30.
:nll.s value Wc3.S at lease two tine lower than the minim.Im acceptable reserve
. established by technical operating regulations. The reactor was in an
unusual, nonregulation condition, and for.evaluating the subsequent
develOflTEilt of events, it was extremely inp:>rtant to deteJ:mine the
differential efficiency of rods for regulation and arergency protection in
real neutron fields and the fission characteristics of the active zone.
Nurrerical analysis indicated high sensitivity of the error in detennining
the efficiency of the regulation rods to the error in reconstruction of the
vertical field of releases of energy. If one takes into account in
addition that at such low power levels (about 6-7%), the relative field
xreasuratent error is substantially higher than under naninal conditions,
the need for analyzing an extrsrely large number of calculation versions to
ascertain the reliability or inaccuracy of sare version beCCl’!es clear ..
‘!be reactor pa.raneters were closest to stable for the time pericd in
question by 1: 23, and the tests began. A minute before this, the operator
sharply reduced the fee:iwater·flow rate, which occasioned an increase lli
the water ~ature at the inlet to the reactor with a delay equal to the
••
29
~ of passage of the h~t-transf er ·medium fran the separator drums to the
reactor.·
At 1:23:04 the operator closed the. SRI< of rm No. 8 and began rundown of the turbogenerator. Due to the decrease in the flow rate of steam fran the separator drums, its pressure began to increase slightly (at a rate of 6 ~a/s, on the average). The total water flow rate throogh the reactor began to drop due to the fact that foo.r of the eight GTsN were working off , the turbogenerator which was "nmning da.om. n The increase in the steam pressure, on the one hand, and the decrease in the water flow rate through the reactor and also in the feedwater suwly to the separator drums, on the other, are canpeting factors which deteJ::rnine :the volumetric steam cx:mtent and, consequently, the p:TWer of the reactor. It should be anphasized in particular that in the condition at which the reactor arrived., a small change in the p::1W'e!'. results in a situation where the volurretric steam content, which directly influences reactance, increase many tines :rcore sharply than at nani.nal p:rwer. The canpetition of these factors led in the final analysis.to a ~r increase. Just this situation could be the cause for pressing button AZ-5. Pushbutton AZ-5 was pressed at l: 23: 40. Insertion of energency protection rods began. By this tine, the AR rods, in partially ccmpensating for the previous increase in~, were already located in the OOttan part of the active zone, while the "WOrk of personnel with an unacceptably lCM operating reactance reserve resulted in a situation where .ractically all the other absorber rods were located in the top seqtion of the active zone. 30 Under the conditions which. had been created, the disrupt.ions peDnitted by the personnel resulted in -a significant decrease in. the efficiency of the erergency protection. The total positive reactance developing in the active zone began to increase. After 3 s the power exceeded 530 M.v, and the runaway pericd cane to be IlUlch less than 20 s. ~e positive steam effect of reactance prCltDted deterioration of the situation. Only the Dowler effect partially a:xnpensated for the reactance introduced at this tine. The continuing decrease in the water flow rate through the operating channels of the reactor under conditions of an increase in power led to intense steam fonnation and then to a crises of convective heat transfer, heating up of tlie fuel,.its disintegration, rapid boiling of the heat.transfer agent, into which particles of disintegrated fuel were falling, a sharp increase in pressure in the operating channels, rupture of the channels and a thennal explosion, which destroyed the reactor and part of. the structural canponents of the building and led to the release of aci:ive fission products into the envirorment. Disintegration of the fuel was simulated in the mathanatical m:Xiel by a sharp increase in the effective heat-transfer surface area, where the specific release of energy in the fuel exceeded 300 cal/g. At just this tine, the pressure in the active zone increased to the extent that a shaJ:p decrease in the water flow rate fran the GTsN occurred (the chec:k valves closed). This can be seen clearly both fran results obtained on the mathematical m::>del and fran neasurement results recorded by the om;
prcqram. Rupture of the operating channels alone led to partial
•••

31
reconstruction of the flow rates frcm·the GI’sN, althoogh water passed fran
the:n into the reactor
space as well as into the SUIViving channels.
The steam fonna.t~on and the sharp tanperature increase in the active
zaie created the conditions for s~zirconium and other exthermic
chemical reactions. Witnesses observed their appearance in the fonn of
fireworks of flying hot and glc:Ming fragrrents.
A mixture of gases containing hydrogen and carbon rronmqde capable of
thexrnal explosion in mixing with air oxygen was foore:i as a result of these
reactions. This mixing could occur after unsealing of ·the reactor space.

32
Q1APl’ER 4. CAUSES OF THE ACCIDENI’
As the analysis presented. arove demonstrated, the accident at the
fourth unit of the ChAES belongs to the class of accidents involved with
introduction of excess reactance. The design of the reaction installation
included protection agamst accidents of this type with consideration for
the physical fea’blres of the reactor, including the positive steam
coefficient of reactance.
‘!he technical protection facilities include systems for control and
protection of the reactor against a pc:Mer excess and a decrease in the
runaway period, blocking and protection against malfunctions or switching
.. of the equiprent and systems of the power unit, and a system for errergency
b:X>ling of the reactor •.
Strict rules and an order for conducting the operating process at the
AES, defined by power unit operating regulations, were also included in
addition to the technical protection facilities. Requirements concerning
the unacceptability of a decrease in the operating reactance resezve below
30 rods are am::>ng the m::>st rules.
In the process of preparing for and conducting tests of a
turbogenerator in a rundo.m m:xle with a load of systsn auxiliaries of the
unit, the personnel disengaged a number of technical protection devices and
violated the inp:>rtant conditions of the operating regulations in the
section of safe perfonnance of the operating process.
‘!be table presents a list of the IIDst dangerous violations of
operating conditions ccmnitted by personnel of the fourth unit of the
ChAm.
·.I



33
No. Violation .• M:>tivation Results
1 Decrease in the Attempt to get rut Elrergency·protection
operareactance of “iodine pit” of reactor proved
reserve ineffective
significantly belc:M
the acceptable value
2 Power dip belc:M Operator error in Reactor proved to be
value envisaged by disengagement of I.AR in hard-to-control
testing program state
3 Connection of all Fulf illnent of Temperature of heat-
GTsN to reactor with requirements of transfer medimn of
exceeding of flow testing program KMP’l’s cane close to
rates established by saturation
regulations in t.arp3.rature
regard to individual
GTsN
4 Blocking of reactor Intention to repeat Loss of possibility
. protection on signal experiment with of autanatic
for shutdcMn of ~ disengagem3Ilt of ‘1’G shutdown of reactor
TG if necessary .5 Blocking of Attempt to conduct Protection of
protection in regard tests despite reactor in regard to
to water level and unstable operation thennal pararreters
steam pressure in of reactor was disengaged
separator drum
·::6 Disengagement of Att:arpt. to avoid Ioss of possibility
system for false response of of reducing scale of
protection against SADR during accident
maxim.mt theoretical perf onnance of
failure testing
(disengagement of
Sl\OR)
The basic m:>tive in the behavior of the t:ersonnel was the att.arpt to
ccmplete the tests nore quickly. Violation of the established order in
preparation for and perfoi:mance of the tests, violation of the testing
progr~ itself and carelessness in a:mtrol of the reactor installation
attest to inade::jllate understanding ai the part of the personnel of the
34
features of accarplishment of operating processes in a nuclear reactor and
to their loss of a sense· of the danger.
‘!be developers of the reactor installation did not envisage the
creation of .protective safety systems capable of preventing an
accident in the presence of the set of praredita.ted diversions of technical
protection facilities and violations of cperating regulations which
occurred, since they considered such a set of events impossible.
An ext.rarely ilti>rabable canbination of procedure violations and.
operating conditions tolerated by personnel of the power unit thus was the
original cause of ti:1e accident.
‘!he accident took on catastrophic cllinensions in connection with the
.fact that the reactor was brought by the personnel to a condition so
.contrary to regulations that the effect of a positive reactance coefficient
on the power wild-up was intensified significantly. •

35
5. INITIAL MEASURF.s TO m:RFASE NUCLF.AR ~”ER P1ANI’
.•
SAFEIY WITH. RBMK RE’JCIORS
A decisic:n has been made to reset terminal breakers of oontrol rods on.
‘WOrldng nuclear power plants with RBMK reactors such that in the outeJ:m:>st
positioo all rods are inserted into the core to a depth of 1.2 m. This
measure increases the response efficiency of protection and precludes the
possibility of the nultiplication properties of the core fran increasing in·
its lower part when the rod noves fran the upper end piece •. At the sane
tirce a number of absorber rods constantly in the core increases to 70 – 80;
this reduces the steam void effect of reactivity to an allowable value.
· This is a tarqx:>raxy rrea..sure and in the future it will be replaced by
converting RBMK reactors to fuel with initial enrichrren:t 2.4% and placing
additional abf?Qrbers in the core which ensure that positive·coastdCMn of
reactivity not exceed nore than one beta for any change in coolant density.
A number of additional signallers of the cavitation reserve of reactor
coolant p.mps and an autanatic system for canputing reactivi~’ reserve with
ou~t of an E!!rergency reactor shutdown signal when the reserve drops belCM
a given level are being installed. These rreasures have a sarewhat adverse
effect on econanic indicators of nuclear power plants with RBMK, rut
guarantee the necessary safety.
In addition to technical ireasures organizational ones to strengthen
plant discipline and increase operating quality are being int>lenented.
36
6. P:REVENI’ING DEVELOPMENT OF AN .ACCIDENr AND REDlX:ING ITS CONS~
6.1 Fire Fighting on a Nuclear Pa..ter Plant
‘!he primary task after a reactor accident was to control the fire.
As a result of explosions in the reactor an ejection of core fragments
heated to high temperature onto the rooves of certain blildings of reactor
section sexvices, the deaerator, stack and t:mbine roan Il’Ore than 30 f~es
were started. Due to damage to individual oil lines, short circuits in
electrical cables and intense theJ:Ina.l radiation fran the reactor fire foci
were fo~ in the turbine roan above ‘ffi No. 7 Jin the reacto~ roan and the
partially destroyed carparl:m3nts adjacent to it.
At one hcur 30 minutes, fire fighting units for rruclear power plant
protection fran the cities of Pripyat ,. and Chernobyl arrived.
Due to the direct threat of the fire spreading over the cover of the
turbine roc.m to the adjacent third unit and its rapid intensification,
primary rreasures were directed at eliminating the fire in this sector .•
Fires arising within ccmpartrrents were fought using fire extinguishers and
inside stationary fire cranes. By 2 hours 10 minutes mst of the fires had
been put a.it on the roof of the turbine roan and by 2 hc:xlrs 30 minutes on
the roof of the reactor bri.lding. By 0500 the fire had been p.it a.it.
6.2 Estimating fuel condition after the accident
——~– —–·




37
‘nle accident led to partial.destruction of the reactor core.and
ccnplete destruction of its cooling ·system. Under these condi tians, the ·
state of the environnent in the reactor shaft was detel:mined by the
following processes:
– residual heat release of the fuel due to decay of fission products
– heat release due to different che!llical.reactions taking place in the
reactor shaft (hydrogen canblstion, graphite and zirconium oxidation, etc.);
– heat discharge fran the reactor shaft.due to its cxx:>ling by flows of
at:Irospheric air through holes formed in sealed (before the accident) shells
surrounding the core •
To solve the problem of preventing accident developtent and Umiting
. _its consequences, ·during the first hours after the accident major efforts
were devoted to estimating the fuel state and its possil>le change as time
passed. · To do this, the following analyses had to be done:
– estimate p::>ssible scales of melting (due to residual heat release) of
fuel in the reactor shaft;
– study processes of the interaction of rolten. fuel with reactor
structural materials and reactor shaft materials (mertals, ooncrete and so
forth);
38
– estimate the possibility of melting of construction materials of the
reactor and the shaft due to heat release fran the fuel.·
Initially canputations were done to estimate fuel state in the reactor
shaft with allowance for leakage “Of fission prcxiucts (PD) depending on time
since the accident began.
Study of the dynamics of PD discharge fran the reactor during the first
few days after the accident showed that the fuel tarrperature change as time
passed was naruronotonic. It can be assumed that there were several stages
in the tanperature node of the fuel. The fuel heated up at the instant of
explosion. Tatperature estimation frar1 the anount of relative leakage
(fraction of the isotope.discharging fran the fuel fran its total content in
the fuel at a given point in tine) of iodine radionuclides showed that “the
effective terrperature of the fuel ranaining in the reactor building after
the explosion was 1600 – 1800 K. During the next several dozen minutes,
fuel taaperature droi;:::ped due to release of heat to the graphite·structure
aiid reactor structures. This led to a drop in leakage of volatile PD fran
the fuel.
Here it was considered that the anount of PD discharge fran the reactor
shaft was detennined during this time mainly by processes of graphite
canl::ustion and associated processes of migration of finely dispersed fuel
and PD introduced into the graphite by the accident explosion in the
reactor. Subsequently, the tanperature of the fuel due to residual heat
release began to rise. As a result, leakage of volatile radionuclides
.
(inert gases, iodine, tellurium, cesium) fran the fuel increased. With the
39
subsequent tanperature increase of the fuel .leakage of other so-called
nonvolatile radianuclides began~ By· 4 – 5 May, the effective temperature of
the fuel rana.i.ni.ng in the reactor unit stabilized and then began to drop·.
‘!he results of theoretical analyses of fuel state are shown in Fig. 5
‘Which lists results which characterize residual radionuclide content in the
fuel and also the ~ature change of the fuel with allc:Mance for leakage
of PD fran it depending on the tine since the accident began.
Canputations showed:
– maximum fuel temperature cannot reach its m:lting p::>int;
– the PD arerges onto the fuel circuits in batches; .th.is can lead only
to local heatup on the fuel-environrrent boundazy.
The PD escaping fran the fuel fall on structural and other materials
surrounding the reactor in the reactor unit according to condensation and
precipitation temperatures of the fuel. Here radionuclides of Ja:ypton and
zenon escape fran the reactorunit alnost carpletely, the volatile PD
(iodine, cesium) to sare extent and the others remain alnost entirely within
the reactor wilding.
‘!bus the energy of the PD is dissipated through:::>ut the velum: of the
reactor unit.
40
As the result of these factors nelt:il’lg of the medium surrounding the
fuel and fuel novem:nt becane of ·low probability.
6G3. Limit:ing the Accident Consequences in the Reactor Core
‘!he potential of concentrating part of the nolten fuel·and establishing
conditions for formation of critical mass and a self-containing cha.in
reaction requi.Ied measures against this danger. In addition, the destroyed
reactor was a source of emissions of a large am:::>unt of radioactivity into
the environment.
Irrmediately after the accident, an at~t was made to reduce the
temperature in the reactor shaft and prevent canbustion of the graphite
structure using energency and auxiliacy f eedwater ?Jnq?S to s\lpply water to
the core space. This attempt was unsuccessful.
Innediately one of tw:> decisions had to be made:
– IDcalize the focus of the accident by filling the reactor shaft with
heat discharging and filtering materialsi
– Allow canbustion processes :in the reactor shaft to end naturally.
‘lbe first option was taken since in the second the danger of
radioactive damage to considerable areas with the threat to the health of
the populations of large cities arose. •
41
A group of specialists in military helicopter

Post

1990-08-01 – CIA – Concatenated JPRS Reports, 1990 – Chernobyl

C00175710
Page: 11 of 63
UNCLASSIFIED
Concatenated JPRS Reports, 1990
Document 6 of 16 Page 1
Classification:
DocUllellt Date:
Report Type:
Report Ruaber:
UNCLASSIFIED
01 Aug 90
JPRS Report
JPRS-UST-90-012
Status:
Category:
Report Date:
UDC Rwaber:
[STAT]
[CAT]
Author(s): OGONEK correspondent Vanda Beletsk.aya: ”OGONEK
Correspondent Vanda Beletskaya Talks Vith Academician
Anatoliy Petrovich Aleksandrov”; date and place not
give; first six paragraphs are OGONEK introduction]
Headline: Former Academy President Aleksandrov on Chernobyl,
Sakharov
Source Line: 917A0006A Moscow OGONEK in Russian No 35, Aug 90 pp
6-10
Subslug: (Interview with Academician Anatoliy Petrovich Alek.sandrov
by OGONEK correspondent Vanda Beletskaya: ”OGONEK
Correspondent Vanda Beletskaya Talks Vith Academician
Anatoliy Petrovich Aleksandrov”; date and place not give;
first six paragraphs are OGONEK introduction]
PULL TBXT OP ARTICLE:
1. [Interview with Academician Anatoliy Petrovich Aleksandrov by
OGONEK correspondent Vanda Beletskaya: ”OGONEK correspondent vanmr———-~~—~
Beletskaya Talks Vith Academician Anatoliy Petrovich Aleksandrov”;
date and place not give; first six paragraphs are OGONEK
introduction]
2. (Text] I arrived in advance at the Institute of Atomic Energy
imeni Kurchatov. Time remained until the appointed hour, and I
wandered about the grounds of the institute, which Anatoliy Petrovich
Aleksandrov headed for nearly 30 years, and thought about the fate of
the scientist, which just recently seemed so fortunate to everyone.
3. Be was an undergraduate of Kiev University, when Academician A.P.
Ioffe (a student of Roentgen himself!) invited him to work at the
famous Leningrad Physical Technical Institute •••• Then work and
friendship with I.V. Kurchatov. The light of the reputation of the
legendary scientist also falls on Aleksandrov, who after the death of
Igor Vasilyevich was in charge of the solution of the atomic problem.
4. Academician Aleksandrov, three times Hero of Socialist Labor, has
orders, nearly all the ones that have been established in the country
(eight Orders of Lenin!). There are all the prizes–the Stalin Prize,
the Lenin Prize, the State Prize.
5. Vhen in 1975 Anatoliy Petrovich became president of the Academy
UNCLASSIFIED Approved or Release
2 1010
-COOl 75710
Page: 12 of 63
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of Sciences, he was already over 70 years old. But after expiration
of the term scientists reelected him to this high post. Recognition
in the country, recognition abroad. An honorary member of the
academies of many countries of the world ••••
6. And suddenly ”the president of the Academy of Sciences of the
era of stagnation ••• ,” ”the author of the Chernobyl
catastrophe •••• ”
7. Our conversation also began with the accident.
8. OGONEK: Anatoliy Petrovich, much has already been written about
the causes of the Chernobyl catastrophe, but I would like to find out
your point of view.
9. A.P. Aleksandrov: You pose the question tactfully, but actually
you probably want to hear whether I consider myself responsible for
the the accident. You need not apologize, it is nothing •••• That I
have not heard in recent times •••• Here is what I will say to you:
Chernobyl is a tragedy of my life as well. I feel this every second.
Vhen the catastrophe occurred and I found out what a complicated
thing they had begun to do there, I nearly went to kingdom come. I
was in very bad condition. That is why I decided to leave the post of
president of the Academy of Sciences and even turned in this regard
to Gorbachev. Colleagues stopped me, but,-believed that I mun–du—–that.
Hy duty, I believed, was to put all my energy into the
improvement of the reactor.
10. To be answerable for the development of atomic power engineering
and specifically for the Chernobyl catastrophe are different things.
Judge for yourself. Although, incidentally, I am convinced that
everything related by me will cause a new stream of abuses on my old
bald head. But I would be acting against my conscience if I were to
agree with the opinion that now one must not develop atomic power
engineering and all nuclear power plants should be shut. Mankind’s
rejection of the development of atomic power engineering would be
disastrous for mankind. Such a decision is no less ignorant, no less
monstrous than the experiment at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant,
which directly led to the accident.
11. OGONEK: Did you know about it?
12. A.P. Aleksandrov: That is the tragedy of it, that I did not
know. Not I, not anyone at all at our institute. And the designer of
the reactor which is at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant,
Academician Dollezhal, also knew nothing about this. Vhen I later
read a description of the experiment, I was simply horrified. I will
not go into the technical details, I will merely say that the
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experiment involved the takeoff of excess heat. Vhen the reactor is
shut down, the the turbogenerator owing to inertia turns and provides
current, which it is possible to use for the needs of the plant.
13. OGONEK: Vho devised the experiment?
14. A.P. Aleksandrov: The management of the nuclear power plant
commissioned Donenergo, an organization which had never dealt with
nuclear power plants, to prepare the plan of the experiment.
Dilettantes can be guided by the best intentions, but cause an
immense catastrophe, just as happened at Chernobyl.
·1s. The plant director, without enlisting even the chief engineer of
his nuclear power plant, a physicist who understands the gist of the
matter, concluded with Donenergo a contract ”on the performance of
work.” The schedule of the experiment was drawn up and sent for
consultation and approval to the All-Union Planning, Surveying, and
Scientific Research Institute imeni Zhuk. The associates of the
institute, who have some experience of working with nuclear plants,
did not approve the plan and refused to stamp it.
16. I now often think: If only the All-Union Planning, Surveying,
and Scientific Research Institute had notified anyone of usl But,
having not approved the plan, they could not even have assumed that
all the same they would decide to conduct–the experiment.
17. In our former ministry, the Ministry of Medium Machine Building,
they also did not know about the experiment. For the Chernobyl
Nuclear Power Plant had been transferred to the Ministry of Power and
Electrification. Perhaps, this was the first mistake ••••
18. It is possible to treat the former Ministry of Medium Machine
Building in all sorts of ways and to reproach it with the lack of
glasnost and excessive secrecy, but there were there professionals
and people disciplined in a military way, who observe instructions
precisely, which in our business is extremely important.
19. There is an instruction, which the personnel of any nuclear
power plant are obliged to observe. This is a guarantee of its
safety. Thus–you will not believe itl–at the very beginning of the
schedule of the experiment it is recorded: ”Shut off the emergency
reactor cooling system–the SAOR system.” But precisely it switches
on the emergency protection system. Vhat is more, all the valves were
closed, so that it would be impossible to switch on the protection
system.
20. The schedule of the experiment violates on 12 occasions our
instruction on the operation of nuclear power plants. You would not
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dream such a thing in a terrifying dream. The nuclear power plant
operated for 11 hours with a disconnected emergency reactor cooling
system! As if the devil supervised and prepared the explosion.
21. OGONEKz But who specifically from Donenergo was the author of
the experiment? Is this person now alive? Vhat is his fate?
22. A.P. Aleksandrov: A certain Metlenlto. I know nothing about his
fate, except that he is alive. I judge no one.
23. OGONEK: Anatoliy Petrovich, but flaws exist in the very design
of the type of reactor that is at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power
Plant ••••
24. A.P. Aleksandrov: Yes, they exist. However, the cause of the
accident is all the same the ill-considered experiment and the gross
violation of the instruction of the operation of nuclear power
plants. Reactors of this type are at both the Leningrad Nuclear Power
Plant and the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant •••• In all there are 15. Just
think, why did an accident occur at Chernobyl, but not at Leningrad?
25. Understand, the reactor has drawbacks. It was developed by
Academician Dollezhal long ago, with allowance made for the knowledge
of that time. Nov these drawbacks have been reduced and offset. It is
not a matter of the design. You are driving a car, you turn the
steering wheel in the wrong direction–an accident! Is the engine to
blame? Or the designer of the car? Everyone will reply: ”The
unskilled driver is to blame.”
26. OGONEK: Vhere is the guarantee that among the personnel, who
service other nuclear power plants, there are no ”unskilled
drivers”? For you yourself, Anatoliy Petrovich, repeatedly warned
about the need to train such specialists better. I myself heard this
from you more than 10 years ago. You said that among the people, who
operate nuclear power plants, vigilance had become less keen, that
they had become relaxed and are forgetting about the danger, inasmuch
as God is merciful and there have been no serious accidents. You
· spoke about a plan of establishing in Obninsk, on the basis of the
first nuclear power plant, an international school. You warned that
the calm can inadvertently be broken ••••
27. A.P. Aleksandrov: I did not speak that foolishly. But,
unfortunately, an international school was never established. I
believe that now it is still not too late to return to this plan.
28. It turned out that new nuclear power plants went into operation
and more and more people were drawn into the system of their
maintenance. And–no matter how painful it is to admit this–they
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began to train specialists worse.
29. OGONEK: But before Chernobyl were there really no ”irregular
situations” at our atomic reactors? The accident during the tests of
a reactor in the southern part of the Urals is now common knowledge.
They told me that only you, Anatoliy Petrovich, kept your head and
instantly inserted the control rods, which saved it from an
explosion. General Vannikov, chairman of the scientific and technical
council for the uranium project, noted at that time: ”In this minute
you earned your wage for all your subsequent life.”
30. A.P. Aleksandrov: There was such an incident, near
Chelyabinsk •••• And at nuclear power plants accidents have occurred.
However, skilled specialists, who operate the nuclear power plants,
always saved them from explosions.
31. At the Kola Plant there was, for example, such an incident,
which miraculously did not end tragically. One of the attendants (and
at the Kola Plant there are very competent people!) noticed that
steam was coming from a pipeline. They shut the plant down. And what
of it? A crack was progressing along the welded seam. They cut out
this gate valve and sent it for study. It turned out: Production had
been completely violated. An iron rod had been placed under the
Y-shaped welded seam, while from above, as though they had welded on
the metal in conformity with the technology,–rtwas filled up With an·~~~~
electrode. The seam did not have strength. A little longer, and an
accident would have been inevitable! I came at that time to the Kola
Plant. They shut the plant down. They inspected all the seams and
pipes.
32. There turned out to be 12 gate valves with such seams, 12
potential accidents!
33. OGONEK: Where did they make the gate valves? Vhy did they miss
the defective output at the plant? For X-ray inspection immediately
reveals such defects.
34. A.P. Aleksandrov: The Chekhov Plant near Moscow made this
ill-intentioned defective plant output. They hurried when they made
it, they hurried when they accepted it. On the drawing it was even
written: ”Exempt from X-ray inspection.” They never found who wrote
this. Evidently, it was very advantageous for the plant to deliver
the order more quickly.
35. I and Slavskiy (our Minister of Medium Machine Building) could
not leave it at that. Ye raised the issue in the Council of
Ministers, a special investigation took place. At that time they did
not punish anyone at the plant, and it is a pity …. The gate valves,
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however, were rewelded. .. ….. ·.• . ..
36. There was another incident, a very unpleasant one, at the
Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, which ended, fortunately, happily.
Nothing was also reported about it in the press. They noticed that
during the operation of the nuclear power plant the vibration of the
turbogenerator was increasing, its magnitude was approaching the
limit. They instantly shut down the machine–a 500,000-watt
turbogenerator. It turned out that the armature of the generator had
been welded in such a way that a crack was progressing along the
welded seam. Another 15-20 seconds, and the turbine plant would have
disintegrated I
37. They shut down and inspected all the reactors. It turned out
that there was the same flaw in seven machines! Again they conducted
an investigation. This time the Kharkov Turbine Plant was to blame. I
went there together with Paton.
38. It was after such facts that they established the system of
atomic energy supervision.
39. OGONEK: However, shutdowns of nuclear power plants are
continuing. There are assertions of specialists that industry of the
country is not ready today to provide atomic power engineering with
sound equipment. Hence, nuclear power pTants are operating on the—-~—-··-·–·—–·—··verge
of risk ••••
40. A.P. Aleksandrov: No, it is impossible to say that. It is
necessary to talk not so much about the level of development of
industry as about its incorrect organization. Vhen it comes to such
a complex product, saving, haste, and any competitions there are not
needed. It is necessary to pay workers for quality.
41. Ve went once with the same Slavskiy and the Minister of the
Shipbuilding Industry (I do not remember who he was at that time) to
a plant, where they manufactured machines for the nuclear fleet.
Slavskiy said to the minister: ”Let us make it the first business
that in all operations every element would undergo personal
acceptance, the entire structure of the seams would be accepted by
layers. To hell with all socialist competitions. Pay for a well-made
seam, do not hurry the foremen.”
42. Ve did not have any mishaps in the fleet plants, but at that
time, in 1957, industry was less developed, yet it does not matter,
they managed.
43. I will say the following: Atomic power engineering is a stimulus
for the development of industry in general. One must not shut it down
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now for 15-20 years, as some people propose. This would mean to lose
specialists completely, and then to repeat the entire path all over
again. As it is, our specialists under the pressure of public opinion
are scattering in all directions.
44. The persecution of atomic power engineering, which has begun in
the country, greatly disturbs me. An entire sector of science and
industry cannot be ostracized. In this respect there is already the
negative experience with genetics and cybernetics. Now it is not just
not fashionable, but even not safe to say such a thing. And I do not
know whether you will publish our conversation. But I have strived
all my life to assert only what I am convinced of. I am convinced as
before of the necessity of the development of atomic power ·
engineering for the country. I am convinced that in case of the
correct approach to it and the observance of all the rules of
operation it is safer and ecologically more reliable than thermal
power plants, which pollute the air, and hydroelectric power plants,
which spoil rivers.
45. Vhen they were starting up a nuclear power plant, I often took
there my own children, then grandchildren. I remember that I came
with my younger son, a school boy, to the tests of the
nuclear-powered vessel Lenin. But it is possible to have an explosion
not only at any plant, but also in one’s own kitchen •••• —
46. Perhaps, I am exaggerating, but it seems to me that nuclear
power plants have now become hostages of someone’s political
interests. If the pickets near plants are actually worried about the
safety of the population living there, and not about their own
vanities, how it is possible to contribute to the disruption of the
operation of nuclear power plants, to make the attendants nervous,
not to let through the employees, who are coming to take the shift,
and even to beat them up? In a nervous state attention is distracted,
a worked-up person can also make a mistake and not pay attention to a
scarcely noticeable deviation in the operation of mechanisms. This,
after all, is also clear to a child! Bow can the champions of ecology
and safety not understand the obvious? For in case of an accident the
people, whose interests the militant pickets are ostensibly
defending, will suffer. Today they are blocking the Khmelnitskiy
Nuclear Power Plant, tomorrow they will set to work on the Leningrad
Nuclear Power Plant. Vell, it is incomprehensible to me, an old man.
For the life of me, it is incomprehensible.
47. It is another matter when people demand glasnost and truthful
information about the actual state of affairs in atomic power
engineering. To tighten up supervision, to make more strict the
monitoring of the construction, acceptance, and operation of nuclear
power plants–this is understandable. Everyone, and specialists first
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of all, are vitally interested in the operating safety of nuclear
power plants.
48. Operating safety is the only criterion of the existence of
nuclear power plants. It is possible to fulfill it only by taking
into account the already available experience of operation. Vhy
destroy a sector of industry, in which scientists, engineers, and
designers, who nevertheless were worth something, worked? For all the
same one cannot do without atomic power engineering, and the new
generation will inevitably have to return to this and to begin
everything from scratch.
49. OGONEK: Vere you a member of the commission on the causes of the
Chernobyl accident?
50. A.P. Aleksandrov: No, from our institute Legasov was on the
government commission. Be helped greatly in eliminating the
consequences of the catastrophe.
51. OGONEK: The suicide of the 50-year-old academician stunned
everyone. Is he also a victim of Chernobyl?
52. A.P. Alek.sandrov: There he became very tired and worn out. And,
of course, he experienced very much, understanding the dimensions of
the disaster. But to not extent did he himself have anything to do
with the accident. This could not have influenced his decision. I
was the director of the institute, he was merely a deputy. He, just
as our entire institute, knew nothing about the experiment being
readied at the plant.
53. I relied on Valeriy Alekseyevich as my successor. An excellent
organizer, a young, very creative man. Not for a minute do I think
that his elimination was advantageous to anyone. Such rumors also
went around.
54. It is difficult with all this. Here one must take into account
both heredity (his brother committed suicide) and the fact that
earlier there was a suicide attempt. It is not ruled out, of course,
that the situation, fatigue, and nervous strain prompted the tragedy.
I would not want now to judge and lay down the law ••••
55. All the horror fell on me at once–Chernobyl, the loss of dear
people–my wife and my student, to whom I wanted to turn over the
institute, a part of my life ••••
56. OGONEK: Did you at that time also send in your resignation from
the post of president of the Academy of Sciences?
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57. A.P. Aleksandrov: I remember my presidency with a heavy feeling.
Vhen the burden fell, I felt better. I cannot tolerate administrative
positions, I was completely unprepared morally for the high post and
did not want to take it.
58. OGONEK: But why did you agree? I remember how scientists said at
that time that the situation at the Academy was complex. The majority
would vote only for you, but you all the same would not agree to
become president.
59. A.P. Aleksandrov: Bow much effort I spent to resist! From the
sentiment of scientists and my colleagues and friends I actually had
grounds to assume that they would not accept my refusal to accept
and, very likely, the majority would vote for me.
60. It is no secret that the candidate for president of the Academy
of Sciences in our country was always discussed in the government,
more precisely in the Politburo. If it were not for the secret vote
of academicians, they would, very likely, simply have appointed him
there.
61. Having found out that the choice had fallen on me, I set off to
see Ustinov, whom I knew and with whom I was connected through work
for long years. I asked him to persuade them to leave me in peace. I
tried in vain–”I do not want even to drscuss it, agree1~I also
met with Suslov. The result was the same.
62. However, I still did not consent! Hstislav Vsevolodovich Keldysh
convinced me. Here is in whom the sense of duty and responsibility
was developed! Apparently, at one time he was himself faced with the
same dilemma as I was.
63. Vell, and when they elected me, I worked and did not spare
myself.
64. OGONEK: Did you of ten have to agree to compromises?
65. A.P. Aleksandrov: It depends on what kinds. All compromises are
not alike. I, you know, do not like bold clever people who, while
sitting today in safe warmth and comfort, condemn everyone in
succession. They self-confirm themselves that way, do they? They have
not dreamed about our problems and difficulties. It is customary to
curse scientists in particular. That one worked during the years of
Stalin repressions, this one worked during the years of Brezhnev’s
stagnation. Just where w~uld our science be, if it had not been for
these scientists?!
66. OGONEK: Yes, one has occasion sometimes to hear that Sergey
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Ivanovich Vavilov is bad (”Bow did he agree to be president of the
Academy,-when his brother was in prison?”), Petr Leonidovich Kapitsa
is not good (”Vhy did he write to Stalin and, besides, attempt to
make him change his mind?”), Kurchatov is the wrong person (”Bow
could he admit in Beria’s- torture chambers that he, and at the same
time the entire institute of Kapitsa, sold out to the
capitalists?”), and Korolev and Keldysh–all are bad.
67. A.P. Aleksandrov: I knew many of them. They had behind them not
bold speeches at rallies and on television, but scientific works and
deeds. They were forced to proceed from the rigid framework of the
circumstances, into which fate had placed them. And it hurts me when
they judge them today. It is an ignoble role.
68. Vell, about myself personally •••• In science I did not allow
compromise. At least I tried not to. But in relations with people, in
politics, in relations with the authorities ••••
69. At the beginning of the war our group worked on the degaussing
of ships, so that fascist mines would not destroy them. The work had
. been conducted back before the war. Professor Regel, a very talented
scientist and a fine person, belonged to our group. He and I were
close. But after the war, when the work on the atomic problem began,
they removed Vadim Robertovich. And I agreed, but meanwhile I could
have gotten my way. But I was afraid not for myself, but for hlm. I
was afraid that they would oppress and torment him. I could have
insisted that they give him to me, at that time my work was very
necessary, but was there certainty that under those circumstances his
life would be preserved? Alas •••• That is why I agreed.
70. OGONEK: Did Vadim Robertovich understand this? Did you talk
with him?
71. A.P. Aleksandrov: Such things are not discussed among men. Ve
trusted each other–that is sufficient.
72. OGONEK: Vere you also friends later?
73. A.P. Aleksandrov: Of course. Or here are my relations with Petr
Leonidovich Kapitsa. Vhen Beria removed him from the post of director
of the Institute of Physical Problems, which he established, they
appointed me in place of him. Do you imagine that it was pleasant for
me? Before this there was an analogous situation at the Kharkov
Physical Technical Institute, for which they also intended me in
place of the removed director. True, at that time I extricated
myself: It is not, I said, my theme, I work in Leningrad in
Kurchatov’s direction. This time I did not have a leg to stand on.
The heavy water plant, according to Kapitsa’s idea, was along the
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lines of the works of Kurchatov, our research.
74. I was transferred with my Leningrad laboratory to the Institute
Physical Problems and tried to see to it that no person suffered, no
person was dismissed. At the request of Petr Leonidovich we even sent
to him at Nikolin Mountain, where he conducted his experiments in a
barn, his associate and assistant Filimonov. And when later they
reinstated Kapitsa, I returned the institute to him with pleasure.
And what is interesting, he included me later in the collective for
the Lenin Prize for the works, which were also performed during the
period of my directorship and in which I had participated. But I, of
course, refused, although Kapitsa himself spoke with me.
75. It would seem that it is a trifle, but I was never able to see
to it that they conferred on this institute the name of its founder
and director, Academician P.L. Kapitsa, even in our times of
perestroyka. Vhen Trapeznikov was the chief of the science department
of the Central Committee, I appealed to him lllally times, and I spoke
with Zimyanin, and comparatively recently with Medvedev, but again
the result is negative. It is supposedly impossible because the name
of Sergey Ivanovich Vavilov has been conferred on the Institute of
Physical Problems. Ve explained: It is possible to confer the name of
Vavilov on the Optics Institute, with which he was directly related.
76. OGONEK: Did you have occasion to meerBerta?———- ·~~~
77. A.P. Aleksandrov: Yes. He was a frightening, disgusting man. Ve
all understood this. The life of each of us depended on him ••••
78. I remember the following detail. I sent to the Defense Committee
the proposal to introduce at one of the plants the method of
obtaining deuterium, which had been developed by us at Kapitsa’s
Institute. But I must say that during the laboratory tests there was
an explosion. They invited me to a meeting of a special committee.
Beria, of course, ran the meeting. Makhnev (there was such a general,
he dealt with the uranium problem) reported to Beria that I was
proposing to build a plant for obtaining deuterium. I sat right here
(incidentally, next to Beria), but he seemed not to see me, as if I
was a nonentity. He asked Makhnev whether, he said, your Aleksandrov
knows that the experimental plant had exploded. Makhnev replied that
he knows. ”And does he insist that he is not withdrawing his
signature?” Makhnev responded that he is not. ”And does he know
that if the plant explodes, he will go where Makar drives calves?”
79. I ought to have kept quiet, but I could not contain myself. ”l
visualize this,” I said. Only now did he deign to notice me. He
turned his head: ”And still you are not removing your signature?
Vell, take care.” To this day everything with the plant is in order.
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80. But Beria vetoed the idea of developing atomic plants for ships
as far back as 1945 (at the same Institute of Kapitsa we had begun to
design such a reactor}. Only the atomic bomb interested him. It is a
pity that it was that way. For we began to design nuclear-powered
vessels earlier than. the Americans began to design the Nautilus.
81. Beria is the past. But then the perpetuation of the memory of
Academician Kapitsa, while students, who knew him, his widow, and his
children are still alive, is a present, vital matter.
82. OGONEK: Vho settles the questions of perpetuating the memory of
scientists, if not the Academy of Sciences?
83. A.P. Alek.sandrov: Vhat do you mean who? The Politburo, the KGB.
It was always that way before. Perhaps, now something will change, I
do not know ••••
84. I always tried to change what it is still possible to correct,
and to accept what it is not in your power to change.
85. Now, in my opinion, it is possible to change the situation with
”blue blood,” which in my days as president of the Academy I was
unable to do.
86. OGONEK: Our journal wrote about this. But they brought a suit
against OGONEK.
87. A.P. Alek.sandrov: Vell, well. Provided the KGB or the procuracy
was implicated in the case, be you whoever you like, you will not get
anything.
88. The case with ”blue blood” is of the following sort. Two
organs–the Academy of Sciences and the State Committee for Science
and Technology, where Guriy Ivanovich Marchuk was at that
time–supervised the work on the development of blood substitutes.
They began to carry out the theme under the supervision of
Academician Yuriy Ovchinnikov. Professor Feliks Beloyartsev directly
conducted the research in Pushchino, at the Institute of Biophysics
under Corresponding Member Genrikh Ivanitskiy.
89. I supervised this work a little, they made the fluorocarbons at
one of our plants. Of course, medical personnel, civilian and
military, also participated.
90. They completed the experiments on animals, clinical tests were
begun. The military gave permission for the use of the new blood
substitute in Afghanistan. There this saved many people. Things went
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well. I do not recall who at that time gave a report on this at the
Academy of Sciences, but I precisely recall that then Yuriy
Ovchinnikov (a vice president at that time) spoke very benevolently
and praised the work. Vait, you are the one who wrote at that time in
OGONEK that the work was very talented and promising.
91. But the events developed as follows. The research on ”blue
blood” was submitted for the State Prize. I participated in the
preliminary discussion and felt that there was not complete agreement
concerning the collective which had been submitted for the prize. And
at that time, perhaps, foolishly, at an operations meeting for half
an hour I related before the presidium that the work was being
proposed for the prize, but there were difficulties with regard to
the collective and it was necessary to elaborate the matter. And
suddenly to my complete surprise Ovchinnikov got terribly excited,
jumped up, and began to say in raised tones that the research had not
been completed, while Genrik.h Ivanitskiy was misrepresenting, was
misleading everyone, and was all but giving false information about
the results of the clinical testing of the preparation.
92. Such behavior of Yuriy Ovchinnikov was completely
incomprehensible to me. Some people at that time conjectured that
Yuriy Anatolyevich himself wanted to be in the collective of authors.
But this is not so. Ovchinnikov from the very start of the
nomination for the prize was not among tneauthors of the work,-he—————-~himself
did not want to be included. At one time precisely
Ovchinnikov signed the document concerning the fact that Ivanitskiy,
the director of the institute at which the work was performed, should
be the supervisor of the research.
93. I asked Academician Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bayev, he was
closer than I to this matter, he is a biologist. Be replied: ”I do
not understand myself why Yuriy Anatolyevich get wound up. This
happens with him, perhaps, it will pass. Let us wait.”
94. A very little time passed, and suddenly Ovchinnikov gave me a
little note about the fact that fluorocarbons had been studied in
Japan and America and their use there in the clinic had not been
halted, since they have a bad effect on patients. Therefore, we must
also halt the tests. I read the signature: Kryuchkov. Yes, the same
one, from the KGB, as now.
95. I as president of the Academy commissioned then Chief Scientific
Secretary Georgiy Konstantinovich Skryabin to set up a commission
made up of scientists. He agreed with me that the KGB·is not an
authority in science. Vhy should we halt the research, if they are
opposed? I recall that I advised enlisting on the commission
Academician Ivan Lyudvigovich Knunyants, a most prominent specialist
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in fluorocarbons. Bayev was also included there. I said to Skryabin
that they should examine particularly carefully the clinical tests
and see whether there were always the appropriate permits for them.
96. And then several members of the commission began to give in (and
I set up two commissions!). Their conclusion was to postpone the
nomination for the prize to the following year, and then once again
to examine the results and to make the decision accordingly.
97. Later the rumors that in the KGB they had put pressure on the
members of the commission, reached me. I shared my views with
Academician Vladimir Nikolayevich Kudryavtsev. He said: ”Vhat does
the KGB have to do with this? If Beloyartsev and Ivanitskiy violated
something, the procuracy and the militia should deal with it.”
98. Then the tragic events, about which you know, developed. In
Pushchino they made a search at Professor Beloyartsev’s place. Feliks
Feliksovich committed suicide •••• I believe that he was unable to
bear the suspicions of the unscrupulousness of the experiments. The
works were banned. It has not been possible to rehabilitate them.
Although medical personnel have a high opinion of them, for example,
Academician Shumakov. It is not ruled out that the priority of the
discovery will thus vanish from the country and we will buy the same
blood substitute for foreign currency. I am talking about this in
such detail, because it is still not tool.ate to correct the
situation with ”blue blood.” Now the times are a little easier,
although thus far I do not see serious positi~e results.
99. OGONBK: And what about glasnost? The appearance in our country
of democratic freedolllS? And what about Sakharov, finally? Is it
really not a triumph of justice that he returned from Gorkiy and
became a people’s deputy?
100. A.P. Alek.sandrov: I had in mind only the sphere of science.
Sakharov, of course, is a strong example. And, believe me, for me the
return of Andrey Dmitriyevich was a great joy.
101. OGONEK: Anatoliy Petrovich, Sakharov.addressed a letter to you.
Vhy did you not reply?
102. A.P. Aleksandrov: Vhat could I have replied?! I have already
said, after all, that it is necessary to fight while you can still
change something. Neither I nor Keldysh, under whom this happened,
could have revoked the exile of Sakharov to Gorkiy. Although, of
course, we considered it unjust, very unjust, and unpleasant for
everyone. True, I again spoke with Ustinov about whether it was
possible to return Sakharov to Moscow and what it was necessary to do
for this. He said: There is no hope. It is good that Sakharov is in
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Gorkiy, and not somewhere a little farther away. If you now start to
attract attention to him, it will be not better, but worse. His
conditions in Gorkiy are decent, he is working. He assured me that
nothing threatened the life and health of Andrey Dmitriyevich. Now
there is not what there was before, there are not the conditions,
under which we in our day worked, under Beria.
103. Many people probably do not like this, but I believed and
believe that the most agonizing thing for a scientist is when he does
not have the opportunity to busy himself with his own science. Bow
else am I to explain it to you? Many of us worked, for example,·on
the atomic problem in a certain isolation, while officially being
completely free. Kurchatov, I, and the same Sakharov. Therefore, I
did not regard the isolation and obstacles to contact with foreigners
as a tragedy.
104. Then I saw to it that they would let the fiancee of the son of
Yelena Georgiyevna Bonner go to America and herself to go abroad to
undergo treatment. Of course, I did everything for Sakharov, he had,
after all, gone on hunger strikes on this account ••••
105. It is possible to cast stones at both me and Keldysh. However,
while presidents of the Academy of Sciences, we did not allow the
expulsion of Sakharov from its members. But they put pressure on us,
and very much pressure. Everyone understan-OS-fliis. Bow many times I
explained myself in the Central Committee, in the Politburo, in the
government •••• Vriters surely expelled Pasternak, they expelled many
from the Union of Vriters.
106. Of course, it was possible to scandalously submit my
resignation on account of Sakharov. At that time they would no longer
kill me, there was not what there was under Beria, when they were
quite able to do that. Only it would hardly have become better for
Sakharov. And, in general, I do not like this ”if” and ”and.” I
did not submit my resignation then, I stayed. And I even bore my
burden of responsibility, when they elected me to a second term. Of
the 180 members of the Academy 168 voted by secret ballot ”in
favor.” Just as the first time. And quite frankly I believe that I
was not the worst president of the Academy of Sciences. However, it
is not for me to judge this.
107. And here is what else I will say about Sakharov. I and Keldysh
tried to keep him for science. Differing, very likely, with the
majority of admirers of Andrey Dmitriyevich, I believe that what was
done by Academician Sakharov for science and his scientific works
will remain in our history. All the rest is temporary, transient
passions, which with time will pass and then will be forgotten. Vhile
of all his democratic activity in defense of rights his protest
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against the Afghan war will remain.
108. I also did not understand why we stuck our hand in there. At
the Academy of Sciences in the lobby many people were indignant. Only
those, who dealt with international economics, talked of the fact
that we had invested much capital there and would not want to lose
it •••• But that way we lost more–the lives of people ••••
109. OGONEK: They deprived Academician Sakharov of an award which he
received precisely for a contribution to science ••••
110. A.P. Aleksandrov: The Academy of Sciences could not prevent
this. The government made do without us, they did not ask for the
consent of scientists.
111. OGONEK: Anatoliy Petrovich, what do you think of your own
awards? Now it is all but customary to be ashamed of received orders.
On television you see: At conferences, at meetings of the session of
the Supreme Soviet, and even at the party congress there are few
people with awards on their chest •••• You also do not wear them ••••
112. A.P. Aleksandrov: Let those, who received them for nothing and
whom they cost nothing, be ashamed of orders. I know for what I
received every award of mine.
113. I received my first Order of Lenin, for example, during the war
for the degaussing of ships, which saved thousands of lives of
sailors. I received my first Bero of Socialist Labor Star for works
on the obtaining of fuel for the development of atomic weapons. I
received the second one for the nuclear plant for the icebreaker
Lenin, the third one also for scientific developments ••••
114. True, I received foreign orders, I do not know for what,
probably for the total combination of scientific works ••••
115. But I do not wear the orders, I simply have so many of them, I
would be covered like a Christmas tree. But on solemn occasions I put
on the three Bero of Socialist Labor Stars.
116. OGONEK: You knew all the leaders of our country, starting with
Stalin, and met with them. Vhat do you think of Gorbachev?
117. A.P. Aleksandrov: Be is the only one of them, whom I like as a
person. But as the leader of the country •••• It is necessary to wait
with this.
118. OGONEK: And what worries you now in the affairs of the Academy
of Sciences?
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119. A.P. Aleksandrov: Something worries me. For example, the
establishment of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This is no good.
The union Academy of Sciences, which before the revolution was the
Imperial Academy of Sciences, existed more than 250 years. And it was
not bad, it was a quite worthy institute.
120. It upsets me that many scientists have gone up in the world,
without having grounds and scientific works for this.
121. OGONBK: llho specifically.
122. A.P. Aleksandrov: Vell, for example, Academician Zhuchenko. Bis
positions are quite strange, and the scientific contribution, which
he advertises, does not exist. In general with biology it was most
difficult of all for Keldysh, he came into a most distressing
inheritance: The students of Lysenko and its associates were in
power. But they do not want to surrender their positions even now.
123. I worries me that parascientific directions: extrasensory
perception, unidentified flying objects, and the like, have begun to
flourish. It is not the business of the Academy to encourage such a
thing. Although this is a trivial thing as compared with the decrease
of the pace of development of the basic sciences, in which with every
·- ,
year we are losing our positions. -·- _____ __,
124. Relations between people are also becoming more and more
complex, all kinds of confronting groups are emerging.
125. True, complex relations always existed among scientists. Like
those of bears in one den. Prominent scientists did not get on with
each other. At least when I was president, I had a hard time, I
always tried to see to it that science did not suffer. The examples
of this went beyond the walls of institutes long ago, for example,
the falling out of Academicians Basov and Prokhorov. Both are Nobel
Prize laureates and brilliant scientists, but together they felt
restricted. Here the solution was simple–they established for
Prokhorov a separate institute, and this completely justified itself,
science did not suffer and even profited.
126. Back under Keldysh, I remember, they dragged me into being
involved in the commission for rocketry. Yell, there was simply a
civil war among the missilemen! Korolev and Yangel were on one side,
Chelomey was on the other. The civilians were for Korolev and Yangel,
the military was for Chelomey.
127. OGONEK: And what position did you take?
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128. A.P. Aleksandrov: I tried to take a conciliatory position,
although, like Keldysh, I was on the side of Yangel (Korolev had
already died), on the side of the civilians. I will not touch upon
the essence, due to which the war flared up, it is nothing, it
existed and passed, like all arrogant passions. Another thing is
important–they did not use illicit methods in this group struggle.
They preserved personal decency. Now it happens differently.
129. Now, it seems to me, in scientific collectives the moral
climate is degenerating, the trust among colleagues and even between
the teacher and his students has been lost •••• The lack of respect
for a teacher is fraught with large moral losses.
130. OGONEK: They tell that there was such an incident in the life
of your teacher, Abram Pedorovich Ioffe. A quite young researcher
came to him and placed in front of the director several handwritten
pages. The conclusions of yesterday’s student, in essence, put an end
to the theme, on which the famous academician had been working, and
showed an error in his theory. Vas there, Anatoliy Petrovich,
actually such an incident, and how did the academician behave?
131. A.P. Aleksandrov: Be sat down to check everything from the very
start and understood that I was right, while he had made a mistake.
But Abram Fedorovich at that time was awfully enthusiastic about this
work of his on thin-layer insulation. He expected that it wouta————~—~—create
a revolution in aviation and machine building. It was hard for
him to give up an entire direction.
132. I was not seeking any error in the work of Iof fe, of course. I
-wanted to apply it in practice, but nothing was turning out for me,
for the life of me! Then I began to study everything myself and
discovered the error.
133. Later I together with Academician Ioffe published an article on
this error. But a part of the institute was already working on the
theme. It was necessary to put an end to the entire direction on
dielectrics and to reorganize the institute.
134. That was 60 years ago, it is awful how long ago it was ••• But
I will also say today–! am indebted to Abram Fedorovich Ioffe for
everything. ·
135. OGONBK: Did conflicts really not occur in your collective, did
no one quarrel with each other and take offense? After all, could
not such different people as future Academicians Semenov, Kapitsa,
Alikhanov, Khariton, Artsimovich, and Kurchatov look at everything in
the same way? For you yourself said–”bears in one den.”
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136. A.P. Alek.sandrov: At that time we were not yet ”bears.” Ve
were very young. And we revered the authority of our teacher. But we
looked at the world, of course, in different ways. And very likely we
both quarreled and took offense •••• Only I do not remember. But how
cheerfully, how enthusiastically we worked–! remember. Bow we
helped each other out, if someone’s instrument got out of order, how
we left our own jobs and started to repair it. Ve shared everything
with each other. Vell, when seminars were under way and we were of a
different opinion on a scientific problem, in the heat of the debate
we did not choose expressions. One of us, I remember, even shouted at
Ioffe himself: ”You have forgotten Ohm’s law!”
137. And here is what is interesting: At the institutes, which
people from the Leningrad Physical Technical Institute later headed,
there were also no conflicts and, in my opinion, there are none to
this day. Take if only the institutes of Semenov (now the director
there is Academician Goldanskiy) and Kapitsa. Petr Leonidovich was
particularly stern: If two people came to grips and he did not make
out who was right and who was at fault, he fired both.
138. OGONEK: Did your work on the atomic problem begin at Ioffe’s
Institute?
139. A.P. Alek.sandrov: I did not begin immediately to concern myself
with atomic physics. At first they attaclied little importance in
general to this problem.
140. A strange thing happened. I remember that I and P.P. Kobeko,
later a corresponding member, developed a method of obtaining
cold-resistant rubber and introduced it at a plant. This direction
was regarded at the institute very nearly as the main one; when the
authorities came, they led them directly to us to boast. But they did
not show the authorities the nuclear physicists– Alikhanov and
Kurchatov–and their work. The authorities believed that they were
concerning themselves with nonsense. Ioffe from the very start
understood the importance of nuclear research and attached great
importance to it.
141. Later everything changed, when they discovered the fission of
uranium and got whiff of the bomb •••• But atomic weapons were our
basic work only for Beria and Stalin. All of us regarded it as forced
and temporary work. Kurchatov often said: ”God forbids that this be
used against people! Only a peaceful atom.”
142. OGONEK: The ”peaceful atom” proved to be unreliable. Now the
opponents of nuclear power plants and their supporters are demanding
the passage of a law on atomic power engineering. Vhat, in your
opinion, should it be like?
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143. A.P. Aleksandrov: It is very important to normalize the legal
aspect and to make accessible to the public literally everything–the
discussion of the design of nuclear power plants and the choice of
the construction site– and it is necessary to publish information on
all break.downs at nuclear power plants, including on those that do
not have any harmful consequences. The population of the regions,
where nuclear power plants operate, should benefit from this, which
it is necessary to stipulate in the law. Both a material benefit and
a benefit in the sense of the distribution of and payment for
electric power. It is also necessary, in my opinion, to envisage
privileges in medical examination and medical assistance to the
population.
144. I am talking about the choice of the site for nuclear power
plants because there were shortcomings precisely here. The first
thing is that natural conditions, seismic surveying, and so on were
not always taken into account. (Although during the designing of the
Armenian Nuclear Power Plant they consulted with the Japanese, the
latter are also building in localities where 9-point earthquakes are
frequent. But, as they say, they have nowhere to go.) Second, the
opinion of the population of the republic was absolutely not taken
into account. In the legislation it should be clearly specified: If
the republic wants it, it is to be built, if the republic does not
want it, it is not to be built. But it w!Ir-not be as~o~rows–I-a~o~
not want a nuclear power plant nearby, but I want to get (and at a
low price!) electric power from another republic.
145. It is very important, in my opinion, to make provision in the
law for the study of the radioactive conditions at the site before
the construction of a nuclear power plant, so that it would be clear
what radiation there was earlier and what radiation there is from the
nuclear power plant. Incidentally, it is also necessary to take this
into account in case of any construction. There can be natural
radiation in any construction material, water, and so on.
146. The choice of the site and the design of the plant should be
approved not only by the minister, as was the case earlier, but also
by specialists, the Academy of Sciences, the Commission of the
republic Supreme Soviet ••••
147. OGONEK: Vill provision be made for the training of more skilled
personnel for nuclear power plants, which today particularly worries
everyone?
148. A.P. Aleksandrov: Yes, both the establishment of special
courses and the introduction of new occupations at higher educational
institutions are here. It is necessary to allow to work at nuclear
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power plants people with a special diploma, and not with any
technical or physical diploma, as nov.
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149. Personnel are obliged to be checked periodically for
professionalism. After leave and illness, when skills disappear, ·
before starting work they are obliged to take examinations. Strictly
speaking, at one time long ago, in the beginning, it was also that
way.
150. I would insert in the law a provision on the disposal of
radioactive waste. This is to be done only on hard rocks, in regions
where there are granite and basalt. Limestones and sands are
unsuitable, but they were used at times, in spite of our protests.
And so that during the danger period (300-500 years), in practice
never, they would not be dug up through the failure to understand.
151. OGONEK: Land dead for centuries, it is rather frightening ••••
152. A.P. Aleksandrov: Not dead, but protected, where no
construction and no economic activity are performed. It is possible,
after all, also to call it that.
153. OGONEK: Is the disposal of the radioactive waste of other
countries being carried out on the territory of our country? The
public protested, and now they assure usthaf1t–ui-riotl>eing-carriea _______________ _
out. But I cannot believe something ••••
154. A.P. Aleksandrov: And it is correct that you cannot believe. Ve
take the waste from the countries, where we are building nuclear
power plants in accordance with our own designs, and are supplying
them with fuel for the reactors? Are we to refuse to act that way? I
do not think that this is a reasonable statement of the question.
They dispose of it worse in their country, there is little territory
there.
155. OGONEK: All countries prefer to dispose of it not at home, but
a little farther away. Prance, where nuclear power plants provide 70
percent of the power, is striving to send the waste to Pacific Ocean
islands ••••
156. A.P. Aleksandrov: There were instances of disposal on Pacific
Ocean islands. But for the most part the French are localizing the
bulk of the waste on their territory. And there have not been, thank
God, accidents at nuclear power plants, and there has also not been
elevated radiation.
157. It is entirely a matter of the standards of production.
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158. The publication in the general press of the draft of the law on
atomic power engineering and its discussion before passage in the
Supreme Soviet will relieve the tension that·has appeared today in
society in connection with atomic power engineering.
~9. The minimization of the danger is amoral, but its exaggeration,
the promotion of the spread of unverified rumors, and the invention
of all kinds of terrifying incidents, which worry people, are also
amoral. In this respect the law on the use of nuclear power will put
everything in its place.
160. OGONBK: And all the same, Anatoliy Petrovich, we cannot, after
all, say that nuclear power plants today are complete safe ••••
161. A.P. Aleksandrov: Ve cannot. A danger exists. Yet not only
scientists, but also the public are obliged to do everything in order
to reduce it. Strictly speaking, a reactor, in which physics itself
does not allow what happened at Chernobyl, has already been designed.
But time is needed in order to refine it. Passions are heating up
over operating nuclear power plants. Therefore, steps to make
monitoring more strict are also needed, a law on nuclear power
engineering is needed.
UNCLASSIFIED

Post

2013-04 – CIA – Glasnost v. Glasnost’ – A re-evaluation and reinterpretation of the Chernobyl disaster in Soviet media

Volume 9 – Spring 2013
djim.management.dal.ca
doi: 10.5931/djim.v9i1.3330
Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management
Abstract: This paper investigates media coverage following the Chernobyl disaster and argues that reinterpretation and re-evaluation are required. Specifically, the existing literature’s interpretation of Chernobyl as either a glasnost failure or success will be challenged based on an alternate understanding of glasnost’ that is not so significantly coloured by now extinct, but previously predominant, ideological and political imperatives. While using Soviet Life magazine’s coverage as a case study to demonstrate the validity of this reinterpretation based on a more holistic understanding of glasnost’, this paper will concurrently draw attention to the importance of properly grounding any evaluation in a firm understanding of the contextual factors affecting both subject matter and evaluator. As will become evident through the progression of the paper, the need for reinterpretation is rooted in the inability of past commentators to sufficiently separate themselves from the influence and effects of their own worldview on their interpretative lens.
Glasnost v. Glasnost’: A re-evaluation and reinterpretation of the Chernobyl disaster in Soviet media
About the Author(s): Brett is currently pursuing a combined Master of Public Administration and Law degree at Dalhousie University. Prior to attending Dal he earned a BA and MA in history from McMaster University. His submission on the reinterpretation of Chernobyl as a test case for Gorbachev’s glasnost’ policy is a modified version of his MA major research paper. Significant thanks are due to Dr. Tracy McDonald for guidance and support on this project and throughout his M.A. Though Brett grew up in Beamsville, Ontario he has also lived in Hamilton, Ottawa, Montréal, Winnipeg, and Vienna before settling outside of Halifax in beautiful Shad Bay.
Glasnost v. Glasnost’ 2
In the early morning hours of April 26th, unit four of the Chernobyl Atomic Power Station was taken offline for a scheduled shutdown, which created a unique window of opportunity within which to run a voltage regulator test. The test, however, did not proceed as planned.1 A steam explosion ripped apart the reactor core and propelled the 1000 ton biological shield from the top of the reactor through unit four’s roof (Mosey 1990; Silver, 1987). By the time a second explosion blew a “fireworks display” of graphite and other radioactive material out of the building, all of the containment structures were rendered ineffective or destroyed (Bailey, 1989; Mosey, 1990).
Twenty-nine firemen and operational staff perished, and countless others were injured extinguishing the thirty-seven fires in the reactor’s vicinity over the following four hours (Medvedev, 1991). Fourteen days and 5,000 tons of lead and sand were required to ‘plug’ the reactor and prevent continued radioactive release (International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group, 1986) By this time, thousands of Soviet citizens had been evacuated from their homes and an exclusion zone with a radius extending 30 kilometres from the reactor had been created.2
Introduction
The disaster and its immediate aftermath are not the focus of this paper. Instead, this paper will investigate Soviet media coverage of the disaster and argue for reinterpretation and re-evaluation. Specifically, existing interpretations of Chernobyl as either a glasnost failure or success are challenged based on an updated understanding of glasnost’. Reinterpretation is supported through analysis of Soviet Life magazine’s Chernobyl coverage as a case study and the importance of properly grounding any evaluation in firm contextual understanding of both subject matter and evaluator is emphasized.
Before continuing further, it is necessary to outline the progression of the argument and make note of key terminology. First and foremost, the term glasnost needs explanation both generally and specifically for use within this paper. Glasnost, as traditionally understood by Western observers, was a general move towards more transparency and liberalization within the press and information management systems during the mid-to-late eighties, under the direction of Mikhail Gorbachev. It is considered to be either a part of, or a companion to, Gorbachev’s more general restructuring, perestroika.3
1 For technical accounts of the accident sequence and subsequent disaster see: Flavin, 1987; Haynes & Bojcun, 1988; Josephson, 1996; Medvedev, 1991; Megaw, 1987; Mosey, 1990; Young, 1987.
2 The number of evacuees is disputed and officially ranges from 116,000 to 135,000 without children who were evacuated in a wider area and would raise the total to 500,000. Limiting the count to the exclusion zone, 90,251 persons were removed from the Ukrainian side and 18,000 from the Belorussian side (Marples, 1988, p. 31).
3 While Western consensus may have been that glasnost was as important as or a distinct policy from perestroika, it has been argued that this was a misconception and that glasnost was merely a necessary component of, and subservient to, perestroika (Young & Launer, 1991, p. 102).
Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management – Volume 9 – Spring 2013 3
The use of both glasnost and glasnost’ is not the result of poor copyediting, but intentional. Where traditional Western interpretation is at issue, the non-italicised and anglicised glasnost is used. Where reinterpretation consistent with the policy as intended by Gorbachev is at issue, glasnost’, italicised to reflect its character as a non-English term, is used. This approach is intended both to promote clarity and recognize the political origin of each conceptualization.
The following investigation will begin by outlining the development of the Soviet press through various Soviet regimes. In order to understand the significance of Gorbachev’s reform, it is necessary to have an appreciation of the press upon which it was imposed and the historical background of Soviet media theory. Furthermore, this investigation will reveal the Leninist roots of Gorbachev’s reform.
Against this historical backdrop, the investigation will move to consider the competing conceptualizations of glasnost and glasnost’. Glasnost, as traditionally understood by Western commentators to be a movement towards Western style free press, will be outlined, as will existing evaluations of Chernobyl as a glasnost test. Subsequently, a reinterpreted glasnost’ with an emphasis on Gorbachev’s intentions and the Leninist press policies it returns to, will be examined. This interpretation, less influenced by Western preconceptions of what a liberal press entails, is argued to be a more appropriate understanding.
Resetting glasnost’ as distinct from glasnost necessitates a re-examination of Chernobyl as a glasnost’ test. In order to re-evaluate the relationship between glasnost’ and Chernobyl, this investigation will use coverage of the disaster in Soviet Life magazine as a case study. Soviet Life was an English language publication intended for an American audience that, while formally independent, was closely tied to the Soviet State.4
An examination of Soviet Life’s Chernobyl coverage reveals official interpretations of events to have been followed closely throughout. Gorbachev’s initial television address on Chernobyl set the official interpretation of the disaster. Analysis of subsequent Chernobyl coverage in Soviet Life reveals it to be consistently faithful to this interpretation. Furthermore, Soviet Life’s anniversary coverage was consistent to official interpretation and changed only in ways that reflected intervening evolutions of the official narrative. While previous conceptualizations of glasnost would render such a construction of events a failure, the reinterpretation of glasnost’ proposed herein would render such deference to official interpretation a resounding success. It is argued that Soviet Life’s portrayal of Chernobyl was not unique and that the domestic press similarly took their cues from the official interpretation.
Finally, the later evolution of glasnost’ will be noted in order to provide further context and to vindicate to some extent its misinterpretation by Western commentators. Both glasnost’ and perestroika continued to evolve “far beyond their original, well-limited definitions” (Young &
4 Further detail on Soviet Life magazine, its appropriateness as a case study, and the effect of its intended audience being American instead of Soviet is provided within the body of the paper below.
Glasnost v. Glasnost’ 4
Launer, 1991, p. 102). Study of the Soviet Union during this period was, as described by McNair, a “moving target” (1991, p. ix). Key to the glasnost’ and Chernobyl reinterpretation proposed herein is the fundamental importance of understanding the subject of evaluation and using the appropriate metrics – in this case being careful to avoid measuring the Soviet press against the standards of a liberal democratic or Western press system.
Politics, the Soviet Press, and Gorbachev in Historical Context
In order to examine Gorbachev’s glasnost’ reforms it is necessary first to have an understanding of the post-revolutionary press system they were intended to reform. Unlike media typical of liberal democracies, Soviet press was not independent but considered an “ideological apparatus of the state” (McNair, 1991, p. 1). Soviet media was a “means of mass information and propaganda” intended to function as “engines of ideological production; machinery of social knowledge, to be harnessed and consciously directed to solving the tasks of socialist construction” (McNair, 1991, p. 1). In the Soviet Union there was one ‘publisher’ – the Party (Remington, 1988, p. 98).
Strict state control and use of the media followed shortly after solidification of Soviet rule. By March 1919, the entire media apparatus was under Bolsheviks’ control and operated to secure support for the newly formed state (McNair, 1991). According to Markham (1967), Lenin envisaged four functions for the media: i) “To expose beneath-the-surface manifestations, that is to make ‘revelations’ in order to stimulate popular political awareness”; ii) “to elucidate doctrine, especially for the leaders”; iii) “to “inform” all levels of the population”; and iv) “to promote unity of thought” (p. 99). All four purposes further, rather than monitor or counter, state interests.
The term glasnost’, now most commonly associated with Gorbachev, was also used by Lenin. Lenin’s four key press control principles included: “i) partiality (partiinost/ideonost); ii) linkage with the masses (massovost/narodnost); iii) truthfulness and objectivity (pravdivost/obyektivnost); and iv) openness (otkritost/glasnost)” (McNair, 1991, p. 18). According to Lenin, glasnost’ had two dimensions. First, the media was to be positive about Soviet economic life and cover the positive phenomena active in socialist construction. Second, although glasnost’ included criticism, Lenin held that “criticism and self-criticism in relation to negative economic and social phenomena would help to maintain the revolutionary momentum necessary for successful socialist construction” (McNair, 1991, p. 28-29). Criticism was to remain firmly rooted in Soviet ideology and be both “leadership-initiated and leadership-regulated” (McNair, 1991, p. 29).
The essence of this system was surmised well by Markham (1967) who wrote that
While the Soviet system flatly denies freedom of expression to those who would use it against the state, the press is free within prescribed limits to engage in
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loyal criticism. In fact, the press and other mass media had the duty of criticism and of participating in the national activity of self-analysis… Press and people are expected to expose fault and inefficiency in the ongoing work of communism. (p. 107)
With little deviation, this formed the practical and theoretical basis of Soviet media policy from Lenin through to the fall of the Soviet Union.
The most significant deviation was the result of Joseph Stalin’s reinterpretation of Marxist-Leninist thought. Stalin restricted journalistic prerogatives more than other leaders and effectively eliminated the critical dimension of glasnost’. While Lenin initiated the Communist Party’s information monopoly, Stalin brought it to full realization (Brooks, 2000). In the absence of glasnost’s critical aspect, “the Soviet system of public information precluded reflection and discussion” (Brooks, 2000, p. xiv).
Following Stalin’s death, overtures of reform and de-Stalinization were made by Khrushchev. With respect to the press, however, these reforms had little effect. During de-Stalinization, Khrushchev maintained a press “devoted to our cause” and reinforced its role as an agent of state power and policy (Markham, 1967, p. 121). Furthermore, any liberalization that did occur under Khrushchev was reversed by Brezhnev (McNair, 1991). “The press largely retained its monopoly of information after Stalin’s death… until Mikhail Gorbachev introduced glasnost – ‘openness’ or ‘transparency’ – after 1985” (Brooks, 2000, p. xiv).
Of equal importance to the historical evolution of the Soviet press in evaluating Soviet media is ones understanding of the use of socialist realism. This style of presentation showcased Soviet citizens from modest beginnings as heroes whose triumph over adversity led to the success of communism (Clark, 2000). Fitzpatrick (1991) has provided perhaps the best description of socialist realism:
What I mean by “socialist realism” is a method of representation characteristic of the Stalin period and Stalinist mentalité… It was ubiquitous in Soviet journalism of the 1930s… In the socialist-realist view of the world, a dry, half-dug ditch signified a future canal full of loaded barges, a ruined church was a potential kolkhoz clubhouse, and the inscription of a project in the Five-Year-Plan was a magical act of creation. (p. 217)
Although this method of hyper-positive presentation later spread to literature and art, it had its origins within, and remained a prominent feature of, the Soviet press, which actively participated in socialist realist construction (Lenoe, 2004).
Both in its tendency to report events through a socialist realist lens and its close alignment with the Party, the practices of the Soviet press remained largely unchanged from Lenin through to
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Gorbachev. Becker (2002) claimed that although Gorbachev’s predecessors were aware of the limitations within the media system they inherited from Stalin,
they were too focused on an ideological war with the West to make the necessary changes to revivify the press. They settled for conservatism and certainty; in short, stagnation. It took the Gorbachev leadership, with its commitment to reform in all elements of Soviet society, to make real changes. (p. 36)
But how real were the changes Gorbachev envisioned, and to what extent did they represent a functional break with traditional Soviet media policies?
Glasnost v. Glasnost’: traditional versus new interpretations A key claim of this investigation is that there exists a pervasive, yet fundamentally flawed, understanding of glasnost/glasnost’ within existing literature. To establish this, the traditional Western understanding of glasnost as a significant break from Soviet press policies will be outlined. Subsequently, the existing literature on glasnost and Chernobyl will be outlined before the reinterpretation of Gorbachev’s policies as glasnost’ is argued.
Traditional: Glasnost as Significant Break
After being elected General Secretary of the Communist Party in March of 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev began what Sakwa (1990) called the “long-delayed” process of modernizing the Soviet Union’s political and economic institutions. Gorbachev believed that economic revitalization could not be successful without a concomitant political revitalization that would come from increased selfcriticism and democratization of Soviet society – glasnost. Gorbachev promised to “call things by their name” and professed that to know one’s own errors was the “best medicine against arrogance and complacency” (Piotrowski, 1993, p. 289-90). At the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), he claimed that “frankness in the party and society” was vital to the health of the Soviet Union (Soviet Life, 1986c, p. 5).
Lapidus (1988) argued that glasnost was more than merely a means to an end, a mode of rejuvenation to ensure economic success. In 1988, she claimed that glasnost also represented an expression of the Soviet leadership’s trust in Soviet society, a “recognition by the Soviet leadership of the maturity of the Soviet people, and a partial repudiation of the patronizing notion that only a small elite could be entrusted with truth” (p. 9). Chernobyl was the first test of this trust, the first opportunity for the Soviet leadership to take glasnost from policy statement to reality. Would Chernobyl demonstrate Gorbachev’s claim that “acceleration and radical transformation in all spheres of our life are not just a slogan but a course the party will steer firmly and without wavering” (Soviet Life, 1986c, p. 5)?
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Traditional Glasnost and Chernobyl Many have commented upon Chernobyl as a glasnost test and the existing literature on the subject can be divided into three broad schools of thought. The first claims that Chernobyl exhibited the empty nature of glasnost and exposed it as hollow politics rather than substantive policy. The remaining two argue that Chernobyl acted as glasnost catalyst, either by forcing Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership to recognize need for change, or by allowing Gorbachev to make changes he already intended.
Bohlen (1988) argues that Chernobyl was proof of continued and effective Soviet news management because while “newspapers in the West were running stories with charts on roentgens and rems, the Soviet press was running soothing comments from Ukrainian doctors” (p. 83). Pryce-Jones (1995) similarly argued that “glasnost or not, the censor instructed that news of the catastrophe was to be restricted” (p. 82). He further alleged that had radiation not been detected in the West, Gorbachev would not have made his televised address on Chernobyl (Pryce-Jones, 1995). Davis and Kelley (1992) agree with these claims and add that subsequent disaster coverage remained consistent and thus condemn not only the Chernobyl experience but the entire glasnost project.5 White (1991) argued that Chernobyl represented a signal failure for glasnost and Laquer (1989) claimed it belied any “fundamental change” (p. 51).
In contrast to the above noted commentators, however, the majority of literature argues that Chernobyl has been a transformative pivot point for both Gorbachev and the Soviet regime. Tarasulo (1989), for example, has written that
The nuclear power plant explosion at Chernobyl in April 1986 dramatically changed both Gorbachev and the nation’s perception of glasnost. Glasnost proved to be necessary for informing the population about the nuclear catastrophe and avoiding exaggerated rumours. By Soviet standards, in contrast with American perceptions, the coverage of the Chernobyl disaster was a media breakthrough, utilizing high-tech television equipment and soberly assessing the dangers of nuclear power… After a disaster of that magnitude, it became easier to televise and write about industrial and transportation accidents, earthquakes, and floods in the USSR. (p. xxi-xxii)
5 Press coverage of ethnic riots in Alma-Ata in December 1986 and crises in Nagorno-Karabakh in February and March of 1988 were said to follow the Chernobyl approach of an initial news blackout followed by biased and constrained coverage (Davis & Kelley, 1992, p. 142).
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Despite this positive review, the Soviet press’ coverage of Chernobyl has not generally been viewed as a start-to-finish glasnost success.
The literature instead tends to divide the Soviet media’s Chernobyl coverage into two distinct phases, the first being a media blackout following Chernobyl and the second being a period of unprecedented openness. The second stage is argued to begin sometime between May 10th, when the first newspaper correspondents were allowed to visit Chernobyl,6 and May 14th, when Gorbachev, in a televised address, announced to the Soviet nation and international community that “Chernobyl represents a lesson that cannot be avoided” (Miller, 1993, p. 67-8).7 Whatever date is used, it is generally agreed that a marked change in policy occurred at some point during the Chernobyl accident (Bregante, 1989; Cockburn, 1989; Crouch, 1989; Daniels, 1998; Hardgrove, 1993; Lapidus, 1988; Mevedev & Chiesa, 1998; Miller, 1993; Sakwa, 1989; Weiner, 1993).
Following Chernobyl, information was distributed to the press with little censorship, a practice “unprecedented in the USSR” (Tatu, 1991, p. 87). It was argued that this led to later issues such as drug abuse and prostitution being reported honestly and extensively in marked contrast to pre-Chernobyl practices (Bregante, 1989). McNair (1991) wrote that Chernobyl was the incident that “delivered a fatal blow to ‘Brezhnevian’ journalism, boosting the process of radical reform and restructuring of information policy which had begun one year earlier with the election of Mikhail Sergeyivich Gorbachev as General Secretary of the CPSU” (p. 3).
Though there is agreement that a change took place, the nature of that change is contested. Describing this change, Miller (1993) wrote:
The first reaction of the administration to Chernobyl’ was to impose a traditional cover-up. We know nothing of the high politics of the next eighteen days. Did Gorbachev or others take time to realise the seriousness of the accident and its implications, or was there a struggle about its public handling? (p. 67-8)
It is the process of what happened within these eighteen days that divides the literature arguing Chernobyl acted as a glasnost catalyst into two streams of thought. While one claims that Chernobyl forced glasnost upon the Soviet leadership (Cockburn, 1993; Daniels, 1998; Weiner, 1999), the other contends that Chernobyl gave Gorbachev and other reformers within the party the opportunity to push through the reforms they already had planned (Martin, 1989; Piotrowski, 1993; Silver, 1987). Both camps agree though that at some point in Chernobyl coverage glasnost truly took hold.
6 The newspaper correspondents were shortly followed by radio and television reporters as well. Medvedev and Chiesa (1989) further claimed that at this point a policy decision was made to restrict the power of the official censors such that real glasnost began.
7 Miller (1993) has claimed that from this point onwards Gorbachev was a changed politician and the event marked a significant turning point not only for glasnost, but the entire reform project.
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Despite the above noted writers, Chernobyl’s relationship with glasnost is the subject of little scholarly attention. The majority of print on the subject appears within much larger works on either Gorbachev or glasnost more generally.8 When Chernobyl is mentioned, it is done so in order to illustrate some larger process rather than to evaluate it as a subject in its own right. Moreover, the majority of writing was published either immediately before or immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and tends to be coloured by then current ideological imperatives. McNair’s (1991) introductory remarks are telling. He wrote that his
book was written at a time of unprecedented change in the Soviet Union… On literally the last day of writing, the Brandenburg Gate was opened and President Ceausescu of Rumania fell from power. Keeping up with the changes has not been easy. As all who work in this field are aware, the Soviet Union currently represents, from an academic point of view, a ‘moving target.’(p. ix)
With due respect to work completed during that period of immense transformation, a new interpretation is needed. All schools of thought within the literature are equally affected by misguided interpretations of glasnost. Aided by the passage of time and the softening of ideological imperatives, this paper proposes a reinterpretation of glasnost’ that reveals a fundamentally different relationship between it and Chernobyl.
Reinterpretation: Glasnost’ as Firmly Rooted in Marxist-Leninism In order to accurately evaluate the interaction between glasnost’ and Chernobyl, it is imperative to first have an understanding of glasnost’ itself. This paper is not the first to suggest that existing literature has not properly grasped glasnost’. Identifying a key problem with Western interpretations of Gorbachev’s policies, Becker (2002) wrote that
Gorbachev’s communications policy has traditionally been characterized with reference to the Russian word glasnost’. However, there has been confusion over the meaning of this word and its significance for the press. Western analysts… have been trapped by the difficulties of translating an abstract term (literally meaning voice-ness). (p. 39)
8 With the exception of Young and Launer (1991), none have investigated the relation between Chernobyl coverage and glasnost reforms specifically. A number of articles have analyzed the Soviet media’s Chernobyl coverage as a topic in and of itself: Luke (1987) has written about how Chernobyl was ‘packaged’ within both the Eastern and Western blocs in order to keep nuclear programs moving forward. Friedman, Gorney, and Egolf (1987) have written about the lack of information on either radiation or exposure risk within media coverage of Chernobyl. Rubin (1987) has written on the official information policies which were followed at an institutional level by the Soviets and Metropolitan Edison, the owners of Three Mile Island (TMI), following the Chernobyl and TMI nuclear accidents. Young and Launer (1991) analyzed domestic Soviet media and came to similar conclusions as proposed herein on the need to recontextualize glasnost’.
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In addition to translational problems, Cohen claimed that Western journalists tended to ‘get Russia wrong’ (Baer, 2002). He based this claim on a 1996 survey which revealed that American correspondents to have imposed meaning on the Soviet Union by viewing it “through the prism of their own expectations and beliefs” (Baer, 2002, p. 503).
The twin culprits of translation and a Western lens are responsible for the existing literature’s confusion between a glasnost that eventually resulted from Gorbachev’s policies and the glasnost’ the Soviet leader intended. While existing literature tends to evaluate glasnost based on information release and reliability, glasnost’ was never meant to bring about an entirely free press comparable to that of a Western democracy. Rather, glasnost’ was intended as a return to a pre-Stalin press system resembling the one established by Lenin.
Gorbachev claimed that
The main task of the press is to help the nation understand the ideas of restructuring, to mobilize the masses to struggle for successful implementation of party plans… We need glasnost’, criticism and self-criticism in order to implement major changes in all spheres of social life (Becker, 2002, p. 40).
Gorbachev’s regime approved of controversy in the press. Becker (2002) argues, however, that the singular purpose of such “organized pseudo-controversies” was to increase popular support of reform policies. Problems in Soviet society were displayed only to sell change – “the utilitarian side of glasnost’” (p. 42-3).
However, how encompassing was the utilitarian nature of reform? During the course of the reforms, Dejevsky (1989) asked this very question.
The overriding question about glasnost’ is still: is it an end in itself, or is it merely a means to an end? Is its prime purpose to give the people of the Soviet Union access to more information because the leadership recognizes that as a good and necessary aim in itself, or is its main purpose to help Mr Gorbachev consolidate his authority, discredit his predecessors and his opponents, and improve his image in the Soviet Union and abroad? (p. 33)
To this rhetorical question she answered, that “for the time being at least, glasnost’ in the Soviet press will mean exactly what Mr Gorbachev and the Communist Party leadership want it to mean: no more and no less” (Dejevsky, 1989, p. 39).
And Gorbachev meant for there to be strict limits on glasnost’. Unlike glasnost as interpreted by Western observers, Gorbachev’s glasnost’ did not mean to create true (or Western-style) freedom of the press. Controversy and negative reporting were intended only in order to further the socialist cause. Commenting on the limitations of glasnost’, Gorbachev said he was
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for glasnost’ without reservation or limitations, but for glasnost’ in the interests of socialism. To the question of whether glasnost’, criticism and democracy have limits we answer firmly: If glasnost’, criticism and democracy are in the interests of socialism and the interests of the people they have no limits! This is our criterion. (Dejevsky, 1989, p. 39)
Despite the cleverly worded claim, there clearly were limits. In 1987, Gorbachev told editors that glasnost’ did not permit publication of anything. Rather, it was meant to “strengthen socialism and the spirit of our people” (Becker, 2002, p. 44). Criticism of shortcomings was acceptable only when it would not lead to “the undermining of socialism and socialist values” (Becker, 2002, p. 44).
In fact, Gorbachev’s use of the media as “an instrument of restructuring” even caused him to believe that the Party’s role in directing the press would increase throughout the reform process (Becker, 2002, p. 45).
The more active role of the press and masses in society engendered by the reforms and press liberalization did not mean that under glasnost’ the Party would give up its role in the press or otherwise as the ultimate arbiter of policy. It might allow for a relatively wider sphere of legitimate controversy, but it was still to determine where the boundaries of deviance lay. Diversity was always to be sanctioned in accordance with the priorities of the government. (Becker, 2002, p. 44)
If we accept the alternate interpretation of glasnost’ as provided by Becker, then Gorbachev’s reforms ought to be viewed as a return to the pre-Stalin press policies of Lenin, rather than either a departure from, or a completely new development in, Soviet press policies.
Ebon (1987) argued during the reforms themselves, that Gorbachev was consistent with Lenin and Trotsky when it came to the press. Stalin altered the system and built in additional controls, but Gorbachev, according to Ebon (1987), was returning to Leninist basics. Gorbachev, in 1988, stated journalism was to “advance the ideas of restructuring, and affirm positive, progressive trends, and to overcome everything negative” (Becker, 2002, p. 45). This claim is ideologically consistent with those of Lenin. Glasnost’ was not a departure from, but rather a return to, socialist fundamentals. While Remington (1988) described the change by writing that under Gorbachev “the orchestra had begun performing in a new key” (p. 28), it is important that this key differed only from the one which immediately preceded it and was grounded firmly within traditional sources of socialist thought. While glasnost’ changed the orchestra’s key, it was no move towards atonality.
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Glasnost’ and Chernobyl
Reinterpreting glasnost’ necessitates a new examination of its relationship with Chernobyl. Using glasnost’ as intended by Gorbachev, rather than glasnost as understood by Western observers, reveals a relation between it and Chernobyl that differs significantly from that described in existing literature. Based on this reinterpretation, Soviet media coverage of Chernobyl was neither, as the literature has suggested, a failure nor a turning point. Rather, the media’s Chernobyl coverage exemplified glasnost’ as was intended.
Although this paper recognizes that at some later point Gorbachev’s reforms gained unanticipated momentum and moved beyond their intended reach (Young & Launer, 1991), and glasnost’ was replaced by a glasnost more in line with Western understandings of media independence, it was not during Chernobyl. Like most evolutions, the suggestion of any specific point of departure is artificial and the process by which glasnost’ transmogrified to glasnost was both complex and continual. Indeed, as has been suggested elsewhere, the emergence of glasnost was part of the immense change and many processes that led to the crumbling of the Soviet project more generally.
Chernobyl, however, represented a point in time where glasnost’ operated exactly as Gorbachev intended. While failures were discussed in the press, their presentation was not only sanctioned by the leadership, but was used to support existing policies. In order to demonstrate this glasnost’ success, this paper will use Soviet Life’s Chernobyl coverage as a case study. The magazine followed official interpretation of Chernobyl flawlessly, providing support for government policies and exemplifying glasnost’ in action.
Soviet Life Magazine
In order to examine how Chernobyl was covered by Soviet Life, it is necessary to first provide context and introduce the magazine. Formerly published as The USSR, Soviet Life was the result of a bilateral, cross-cultural agreement between American and Soviet governments. While Soviet Life was published by the Soviet government and distributed in the USA, the American government published Amerika in the Soviet Union. Despite bearing the stamp of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, Soviet Life has been recognized as an “unofficial” publication of the Novosti press agency, itself an “unofficial” news agency of the Soviet government (Turpin, 1995). Officially, Novosti was a co-operative whose shares were owned by the Soviet
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people (Gerol & Molyneux, 1988, p. 176). In practice, however, state control of Novosti made the Soviet Embassy seal entirely appropriate.9
Soviet Life magazine presents an ideal source for this case study investigating the relation between glasnost’ and Chernobyl, as it is published in English. While other Soviet press publications are partially available in English translation, it is not possible to examine their Chernobyl coverage in its entirety. In contrast, it is possible to examine Soviet Life’s coverage from the onset of the disaster through the following year. The magazine’s close relationship with the Soviet government also makes it an ideal source within which to examine glasnost’ as it was intended by the party leadership. Although the American audience of Soviet Life was significantly different from that of the domestic press, this does not alter its effectiveness as a case study as Chernobyl coverage was consistent with that of the domestic press (Taylor, 2007; Young & Lauder, 1991).
Despite the unique nature of this publication, as a Soviet-printed English language magazine distributed in America, it has been the focus of little scholarly attention. The website of Russian Life, the successor to Soviet Life published since the fall of the Soviet Union, includes a brief commentary on its history that incorporates a description of its predecessor publication. Within this account, Russian Life, now owned and published by a private American corporation, claims that while Soviet Life was never “a blatant red propaganda tool”, it nonetheless did “hew to the government line” (Russian Life, 2009).
Turpin has written the sole work investigating Soviet Life and the effects of glasnost’/glasnost upon its content and argued that the magazine changed dramatically as a result of Gorbachev’s policies. In an in-depth study on the Soviet media’s foreign publications, specifically Soviet Life and the Moscow Daily News, Turpin (1995) contrasted the content and nature of Soviet Life during a two-year period under Brezhnev with a two-year period under Gorbachev. Through this analysis, Turpin (1995) concluded that over the first three decades of its publication, the purpose of Soviet Life, “to sanitize Soviet affairs and convince international readers, especially in the United States of America (USA), that the Soviet Union was a democracy” (p. 25), remained unchanged.
However, the advent of Gorbachev’s media reforms provoked a dramatic change in content. Turpin (1995) quoted the magazine’s Washington-based editor, Sergei F. Ivanko, who in 1990 said that Soviet Life’s purpose, “has always been to present the Soviet Union and its people to the American people … now that perestroika and glasnost are in full swing, it is much easier for
9 Ebon (1987) refers to Novosti as independent only in a most sarcastic manner. Hollander (1972) also disputed the unofficial nature of Novosti writing: “Officially, Novosti is a “public” news agency, while TASS is the government agency. In reality, the difference is one of purpose. TASS is the official state news agency as the term is understood in the West, while Novosti functions more as a public relations agency for the Soviet Union” (p. 32). Gerol and Molyneux (1988) further alleges that Novosti was tied to the KGB and international correspondents were instrumental in the Soviet Union’s worldwide information gathering networks.
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us to present life in the Soviet Union as it is” (p. 25). Turpin (1995) concluded that Soviet Life had changed with Gorbachev’s reforms:
Soviet Society was more realistically presented, no longer as a model society, but as one fraught with social, economic, and political problems. The United States no longer represented the evil capitalistic society. The policies of perestroika, democratizatsiya, and glasnost promoted radical changes in Soviet society: the content of Soviet Life showed these changes. (p. 76)
As she was examining primarily the magazine’s content rather than the theories that underlay it, Turpin did not provide a definition or demonstrate an understanding of glasnost’ entirely in agreement with that used here, nor did she draw attention its manifestation within the publication. Nonetheless, her presentation of Soviet Life’s content supports the reinterpretation of glasnost’ presented herein.
Turpin’s examination, however, used coverage that began two years after Chernobyl, and never commented on either Chernobyl or its relation to glasnost’. Thus, while Turpin’s investigation showed Soviet Life to have exemplified the goals of glasnost’, in order to demonstrate how, as Russian Life suggested, it hewed to the government line and fulfilled Gorbachev’s glasnost’ goals, this paper will examine Soviet Life’s Chernobyl coverage in close detail.
Glasnost’, Chernobyl, and Soviet Life
Like the domestic Soviet press, Soviet Life initially delayed reporting on Chernobyl.10 The accident was not covered until after Gorbachev’s televised address had both legitimized Chernobyl as a news topic and established an official interpretation of the accident to be reported. In order to demonstrate Soviet Life’s loyalty to this interpretation, we will begin by examining Gorbachev’s address and the Soviet leadership’s interpretation of the events. Next, Soviet Life’s coverage of Chernobyl during the year that followed the accident will be examined to demonstrate the magazine’s conformity to the official line and the glasnost’ principles that made it acceptable to report problems. Finally, the magazine’s ‘one year later’ Chernobyl
10 This blackout was maintained despite the fact that, by chance and coincidence, Soviet Life’s Chernobyl coverage embarrassingly predated the accident by two months. The magazine’s February edition contained a seven page section on the safety of nuclear power plants in the Soviet Union (Soviet Life, 1986a, p. 6-11). This section offered “a glimpse of life in a town next to a nuclear power plant”, “a town born of the atom”, Pripyat, and promised to “Explain how nuclear power related to the issues of resources, safety, pollution and weapons.” It was reported that the plant had emergency core cooling systems and could be shut down in a matter of seconds. Chief engineer, Nikolai Fomin was reported as saying that “even if the incredible should happen, the automatic control and safety systems would shut down the reactor.” After the accident, however, no mention of this report, or the claims made within it, was ever seen in the pages of Soviet Life.
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update will be examined to demonstrate the magazine’s continued loyalty to official interpretation and glasnost’ principles.
Setting the Stage: Gorbachev’s Televised Address
Soviet Life commenced its Chernobyl coverage by publishing the text of Gorbachev’s May 14th television address in its June 1986 issue (Soviet Life, 1986c, p. 13).11 Reprinted in its entirety, this address established official interpretation of the accident. While it recognized the disaster as tragic, official interpretation nonetheless presented a story of success. Presented in typical socialist realist manner, efforts to combat the accident’s effects were portrayed as indicative of the Soviet people’s heroism. Technical or critical accounts of how or why the accident occurred were conspicuously absent. The disaster’s magnitude was downplayed and Western media was attacked for sensational reporting. Attention was shifted away from the disaster itself, and directed towards the policy lessons that ought to be learned from it.
Gorbachev’s address began by acknowledging that “a misfortune has befallen us – the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant” (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). The misfortune instantly claimed the lives of two plant workers and later those of seven firefighters, while an additional 299 casualties had later been hospitalized for “radiation disease of varying degrees of gravity” (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). Although Gorbachev acknowledged the tragedy of these consequences, Chernobyl was presented as a success. The disaster provided the opportunity for the state and its people to triumphantly overcome adversity. According to the address, the almost three hundred hospitalized responders, for instance, were being given “every possible treatment” and the Soviet Government would ensure the care of the deceased persons’ families and loved ones (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). In order to “limit the scale of the accident”, many were reportedly taking part in unspecified “vigorous work”, Pripyat was “evacuated in a matter of hours”, and the politburo12 and government commission were working around the clock (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). According to Gorbachev, Chernobyl precipitated a successful Union-wide effort in which, “the scientific, technical and economic potential of the entire country has been put to use” (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13).
11 Although the text of a May address appearing in June may seem like a large delay in reporting, this was consistent with Soviet Life’s other reports, which were typically delayed by two months. A statement by Gorbachev on the elimination of nuclear weapons made in January, for instance, appeared in the March issue (Soviet Life, 1986b, p. 2-3). Gorbachev’s comments at the 27th Congress of the CPSU in February likewise appeared in the May issue (Soviet Life, 1986c, p. 3-4).
12 The politburo was the functional executive of the Communist Party and while different in several key respects including their being a party as opposed to government body (though politburo members held many key government positions and the lines between party and government were more theoretical than functional) acted similar to Cabinet in a Westminster governance structure. Functionally the politburo was responsible for key policy decisions.
Glasnost v. Glasnost’ 16
The triumphal success story provided by Gorbachev did not in any way, however, comment on either the nature of the accident or any of its potential causes. The following selection was typical; “Despite the entire gravity of what happened, the damage turned out to be limited” (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). This statement, although acknowledging Chernobyl’s severity, neglected to inform the reader how it occurred. Damage was described only as “limited”.
The official interpretation of events included descriptions of a villainous Western media establishment. In his address, Gorbachev ferociously attacked the way Chernobyl had been dealt with by the “governments, political figures and mass media in certain NATO countries” (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). He alleged that these groups had “launched an unrestricted anti-Soviet campaign” in order to “defame” the Soviet Union and its foreign policy (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). Specifically, the attacks were said to be motivated by attempts “to lessen the impact of Soviet proposals for the termination of nuclear tests and for the elimination of nuclear weapons” (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13). In this manner, Gorbachev not only criticized the Western media, but redirected focus from the accident to implications for a pre-existing foreign-policy initiative.
This theme would become fundamental to the official interpretation of Chernobyl. In his televised address, Gorbachev transformed the internationally embarrassing domestic catastrophe into a vindication of international foreign policy aims.
We realize that it is another sound of the tocsin, another grim warning that the nuclear era necessitates a new political thinking and a new policy… It should not be forgotten that in our world, where everything is interrelated, there exist, alongside problems of atoms for peace, also problems of atoms for war. This is the main thing now. The accident at Chernobyl showed again what an abyss will open if nuclear war befalls humankind. For inherent in the nuclear arsenal stockpiles are thousands upon thousands of disasters far more terrible than the one at Chernobyl (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13).
Gorbachev directed focus away from domestic and civilian nuclear power. Although the two problems may have been related, “the main thing now” was international policy on military arms control.
Gorbachev not only spoke of the need for international agreement, but also acted in order to demonstrate the Soviet Union’s support for nuclear arms control. Specifically, within his Chernobyl address, Gorbachev announced;
the Soviet Government, having considered all circumstances connected with the security of its people and all of humanity, has decided to extend its unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests through August 6 of this year, that is, the date on which more than 40 years ago the first atomic bomb was dropped on
Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management – Volume 9 – Spring 2013 17
the Japanese city of Hiroshima, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of people perished (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13).
In doing so, not only was the Soviet Union presented in a favourable light, but by referencing Hiroshima, Gorbachev alluded to the fact that while the Soviet Union accidentally caused the Chernobyl explosion, the United States had intentionally caused the Hiroshima explosion. To end his address, Gorbachev announced: “I confirm my proposal to President Reagan to meet without delay and to agree on a ban on nuclear testing” (Soviet Life, 1986d, p. 13).
Within his televised address, Gorbachev established the officially sanctioned interpretation of Chernobyl, which described the disaster as tragic and presented it, in typical socialist realist fashion, as a story of Soviet triumph. Technical or critical appraisals were excluded and Western media was lambasted for inaccuracies and speculation. Most importantly, Chernobyl was presented as justification for Soviet efforts at disarmament.
Towing the Line: Soviet Life Articles
The Chernobyl coverage that followed in Soviet Life remained in lockstep with Gorbachev’s official interpretation. In order to demonstrate this adherence, the entirety of the magazine’s Chernobyl coverage, mostly from the August and September issues, is examined. The August issue contained an article that focused on the press conference held by American doctor Robert Gale, describing his efforts to assist the victims of Chernobyl. The September issue included a twelve page special section on Chernobyl containing numerous articles focusing on the Soviet test ban, the accident, the evacuations, and the cleanup.
The investigation into these articles is organized thematically and illustrates their loyalty to Gorbachev’s interpretation of the accident. Consistent with the official version, while Soviet Life recognized that the accident had been tragic, Soviet heroics and success stories from the cleanup were emphasized. Critical or technical accounts were absent. Soviet Life downplayed the disaster’s significance and lambasted reports of Western media. Consistent with Gorbachev’s address, the issue allocated the most column space was continuance of the test moratorium and nuclear détente.
The loyal mirroring of Gorbachev’s account within Soviet Life alone signified a glasnost’ success. Rather than being concealed, as would likely have been the case under former leaders and press policies, Chernobyl was openly discussed, but only in ways consistent with the official narrative and only in furtherance of the socialist cause. Such reporting was consistent with the goals of glasnost’.
Glasnost v. Glasnost’ 18
Chernobyl was not hidden from Soviet Life readers. The magazine echoed Gorbachev’s acknowledgement that two people died “at the moment of the accident” and another three hundred were affected by radiation (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 34). The tragedy was said to be “torture” for attending doctors (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 38). Such torture, however, was not without benefit as the accident’s aftermath provided a unique educational opportunity for Soviet medical workers (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 38). Doctors were provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain first-hand experience with radiation sickness, a subject previously limited to textbooks.
Furthermore, the accident showcased the triumphant success of the Soviet health care system. Soviet Life reported that doctors, “when they faced the real and imagined consequences of the accident… had to quickly mobilize all resources and reorganize all work” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 36). Not only was the reorganization presented as a success consistent with Gorbachev’s official interpretation, but it exemplified the rationale for reporting problems under glasnost’ reforms. Problems were legitimate press material as long as their presentation illustrated triumphant conquering of the problem by Soviet workers – here, health care workers.
Soviet Life not only reported the success of heath care mobilization and reorganization, but also the successes of treatment. An article on Dr. Robert Gale, an American bone marrow specialist who travelled to Moscow to treat the most heavily radiated patients, emphasized the incredible accomplishments of the doctors – both American and Soviet. The magazine reported Gale’s acknowledgment that, “the high level of specialized equipment already in the Moscow clinic made it possible to perform complicated surgeries within a short period of time and to successfully treat serious cases of contamination” (Soviet Life, 1986e, p. 2).
Despite the casualties it caused, Chernobyl was reported as a success story for Soviet technology and medicine. Furthermore, the focus of reporting was wholly consistent with purpose of news media under glasnost’. Gale’s actions were highlighted to support a Soviet policy aim. His ability to overcome political concerns and differences with the Soviet Union and display compassion that transcended national borders to aid those in need was important news at a time when Gorbachev was pursuing a policy of international cooperation and détente.
Like the coverage of the doctors, Soviet Life portrayed first responders to have been triumphant. The magazine’s reports were embedded with socialist realist descriptions of how despite having occurred shortly before one thirty in the morning, “by 5:00 the fire was extinguished” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 34). Like Gorbachev’s address, Soviet Life recognized the tragic nature of the accident, but emphasized the Soviet heroism of the response.
While heroism was heralded, the accident’s origin was overlooked – had it been reported, the triumphal motif would have been more difficult to maintain. Lockstep with official interpretation, technical or critical accounts of the accident were absent from Soviet Life. In fact, an article in
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the magazine’s September issue opened with, “ ‘Blind chance sweeps the world along’ of the 41 operational reactors in the Soviet Union, chance chose one of the newest, which went into service in 1983” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 34). While the accident was certainly improbable, it was in no way a natural result of “blind chance”.
Furthermore, the brief description that was published omitted key causal information.
On the night of April 25-26, during the routine shutdown of one of the four reactors at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (about 130 kilometres north of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital), the reactor’s power suddenly increased. Significant release of steam and the subsequent reaction created hydrogen gas, which exploded, and a fire. (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 34)
Nowhere was any mention made of the test that had taken place and directly caused the explosion. According to Soviet Life’s presentation, the power had increased suddenly without any explanation. The steam release and the subsequent hydrogen explosion were likewise unexplained.
As in Gorbachev’s address, Soviet Life’s coverage was void of technical or critical explanation of the accident. Rather, the accident and its consequences were presented as “unlikely”, “almost impossible”, and something “no one could have predicted” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 35). Glasnost’, as espoused by Gorbachev – and Lenin before him – was not about exposing truth for its own sake. Criticism was a tool appropriate for use only in the pursuit of policy goals. In the absence of a policy goal, critical investigation was omitted.
Like Gorbachev’s , which address that claimed damage was “limited”, Soviet Life’s presentation of Chernobyl downplayed the disaster’s magnitude. Chernobyl was compared to prior nuclear accidents in the United States and Britain to make it seem more commonplace. Furthermore, the construction of these comparisons made it appear as if Chernobyl had been, in some respects, less drastic or better managed.
The manner in which Chernobyl was compared to Britain’s Windscale accident is revealing. Soviet Life reported that the Chernobyl fire had been extinguished by five o’clock in the morning, two had died during the accident itself, “some” later, and about 300 were hospitalized with radiation sickness. A “similar” fire at Windscale, however, “had raged for 12 hours, and the radiation leak had caused about 260 cases of thyroid gland cancer, 13 of which resulted in death” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 34). Although the presentation suggests otherwise, the magnitude of disaster at Windscale, while serious, was not comparable to Chernobyl. The opposite illusion was created by comparing duration rather than magnitude of fires, and through the oblique reporting of death tolls. While Soviet Life attributed 13 deaths to Windscale, “some” were a result of Chernobyl despite the fact that by that point 29 deaths had been officially attributed to radiation sickness from Chernobyl (Marples, 1988, p. 34).
Glasnost v. Glasnost’ 20
Soviet Life similarly compared information disclosure policies of the American Three Mile Island (TMI) meltdown and Chernobyl.
U.S. experts know from the experience of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant accident how difficult it is to ascertain the cause of such incidents. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) received information about the Three Mile Island accident almost two months later. The IAEA and the governments of other countries received information about what happened at Chernobyl on April 28. (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 34)
The two accidents, however, are largely incomparable as the amount and type of radiation, as well as the scale of the accidents and their cleanup efforts, differed immensely. Left unsaid was that unlike Chernobyl, TMI did not send a radioactive plume across international borders, thus reducing the role of the IAEA. Furthermore, while the IAEA may not have been notified of TMI immediately, news of the accident was broadcast on a local radio station a mere four and a half hours after it occurred and the story appeared on national news wires within five hours – a stark contrast to the initial media blackout following Chernobyl (Rubin, 1987, p. 42).
Soviet Life downplayed Chernobyl through comparisons designed both to make it seem less extraordinary and to showcase the Soviet state’s superior handling of the accident. Yet these comparisons, and the ways in which Soviet Life made them, are problematic. For a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, those mentioned above, Chernobyl is simply not comparable to either Windscale or TMI. Like Gorbachev’s speech, and consistent with glasnost’, the twin purposes of comparison were to downplay the disaster and showcase Soviet triumph.
Just as Gorbachev’s address vilified Western media’s Chernobyl reporting, so too, did Soviet Life. In its report on Dr. Gale’s Moscow press conference, the magazine reported many of the questions asked to have been “bred by the lies that some members of the Western media had been feeding their readers and listeners during these disquieting days” (Soviet Life, 1986e, p. 3). The magazine alleged Western media to have exploited Chernobyl as an opportunity to discredit the Soviet Union. This critique was consistent both with Gorbachev’s speech and the press principles of glasnost’. Allegations of Western alteration were ironic, given the way both Gorbachev’s address and Soviet Life altered the focus of the Chernobyl coverage from nuclear power explosion to international arms race and nuclear détente.
Following Gorbachev’s lead, Soviet Life’s Chernobyl coverage transformed an internationally embarrassing domestic catastrophe into a justification for existing policy aims. The magazine quoted Dr. Gale as lending support to Gorbachev’s position.
The most important lesson of the accident at Chernobyl, according to the American doctor, is that it demonstrated that science and medicine have no national boundaries. “One thing that the events of the past few weeks clearly
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show is how limited is the possibility of reacting to nuclear catastrophes. If anyone believes that quick medical aid could be given during a nuclear war, it is regrettably out of the question. (Soviet Life, 1986e, p. 2)
Gale’s Soviet counterpart, Dr. Vorobyov, was also quoted as supporting this position, adding that the accident demonstrated the vital need for international cooperation (Soviet Life, 1986e, p. 3). Although these certainly were the opinions of Dr. Gale, as he has restated them elsewhere (Gale and Hauser, 1988), Soviet Life included them in its coverage only because they lent support to the official narrative. The accident proved nuclear war was possible and Soviet efforts to reduce nuclear stockpiles and nuclear testing were righteous.
The twelve page Chernobyl section in Soviet Life’s September issue opened with a two page timeline that detailed “The Year of Taming the Uncontrolled Atom” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 30-31). The timeline revealed the extent to which focus had shifted from accident to arms. Of the eleven entries on the timeline, only one mentioned Chernobyl. The first nine chronicled Gorbachev’s efforts towards disarmament. The tenth entry, which finally mentioned Chernobyl, was dated May 14th rather than April 26th. While the accident occurred in April, it was May 14th that Gorbachev addressed the nation “in connection with the Chernobyl accident” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 30-31). The timeline reprinted the following excerpt of Gorbachev’s address.
Now that attention to nuclear problems has increased, the Soviet Government, having weighed all circumstances connected with the security of its people and all of humanity, has decided to extend its unilateral moratorium on nuclear explosions through August 6 of this year. (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 30-31)
The timeline addressed the accident exclusively as justification for disarmament. The focus shift embedded in Gorbachev’s address and the official interpretation of the accident was supported entirely by Soviet Life’s atom taming timeline.
The timeline was followed by a dense two-page article on the test moratorium within which Chernobyl was only briefly covered. After explaining the nuclear weapons ban and its history in great detail, the article quickly and curtly explained the lessons of Chernobyl.
The accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was a new, serious warning to everyone. It showed how dangerous nuclear energy can become if it gets out of control. But in spite of the importance of the problems involved in the peaceful uses of nuclear power, the problem of its military use is much more important in our interdependent world. A nuclear accident like the one at Chernobyl is nothing like a nuclear war. True, there is a need to arrange effective international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear power, but first of all we must redouble our efforts to stop nuclear testing and ban nuclear
Glasnost v. Glasnost’ 22
weapons. This is the conclusion that has been drawn in the Soviet Union. (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 33)
Military use of the atom was portrayed as much more important, or dangerous, than civilian to shift reader focus from the civilian disaster to policies of military detente.
After quoting a section of Gorbachev’s television address, the article proceeded to cite a number of Western scholars and politicians who supported Gorbachev’s policies. For instance, Dr. Bernard Lown, co-chairman of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an organization which united doctors from over forty countries, called the test moratorium “an unprecedented act of statesmanship” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 33). US Congressman Edward Markey, and British Member of Parliament Denis Healy, were also quoted as supporting Gorbachev’s test ban (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 33). According to Soviet Life, it had been more than a year since the Soviet Union had conducted any tests, as the USSR “rose above national considerations, tactical considerations and differences and disputes” to strive towards much more important goal – “peace and a secure future” (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 33).
Soviet Life’s test moratorium article concluded that,
Having accepted the challenge of the atom that had gotten out of control and having limited the Chernobyl accident to a minimum, the Soviet Union was now even more determined to prevent a global nuclear catastrophe. In spite of the effectiveness of the measures to control the after effects of the Chernobyl disaster, we saw clearly that nothing could eliminate the after effects of a catastrophe that would be a thousand times more destructive. The accident was behind us, but its lesson remained: Humankind has set in motion truly fantastic forces that must be kept securely in check. (Soviet Life, 1986f, p. 33)
The success of the Soviet response did not change the need for disarmament – the world needed to reduce its nuclear a

Post

1988-05 – CIA – Chernobyl – Middle East – South Asia – Nuclear Handbook

Directorate of
Intelligence
(b) (1)
(b) (3)
Middle East-South Asia:
Nuclear Handbook I
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APPROVED FOR RELEASE
DATE: JAN 2004 ~
NESA 88-!0027X LDA 88-!0577X
SW 88-10033X IA 88-/0032X
May 1988
Copy 5 J 7


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Reverse Blank
Directorate of
Intelligence
Middle East-South Asia:
Nuclear Handbook .___I _ ____.
A Reference Aid
This paper was prepared by ffice
of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis;
Office of Leadership Analysis;.–~~—,.–‘
!—–,..,,!. ffice of Scientific and Wea pons Research;
._a_n~-‘—~ Office of Imagery Analysis; with a
NESA. It was
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Comments and queries are welcome and may be
directed to the~ I
I ~ES~~-~~~~~~~
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NE~/0027X LDA 88-/0577X
SW 88-/0033X IA 88-/0032X
May 1988
Summary
Information available
as of 15 April 1988
was used in this report.
Middle East-South Asia:
Nuclear Handbook ~I –~
In the past two decades, countries in the Middle East and South Asia have
moved steadily to expand their nuclear capabilities. Activities range from
basic university research to operation of sophisticated nuclear power
programs and, in some instances, to covert nuclear weapons research and
development programs. Like countries in other parts of the world, the
states in this area have pursued nuclear programs for a host of reasonsthe
need for economical energy sources, the desire to develop and to stay
close to leading technologies and scientific applications, and the determination
to compete for influence, prestige, and power regionally and internationally.
The Middle East and South Asia have a history of regional
conflict, political volatility, and social disquiet that makes nuclear activity
there a subject of special concern. I I
Most countries are interested in nuclear technology for civilian
applications:
• Two countries-India and Pakistan-have nuclear power reactors, and
nine others, including Egypt and Israel, hope to have power reactors
within the next 10 years. Most, however, are unlikely to achieve this goal
because of economic and political constraints.
• Nuclear technology could become important to food production. In India,
for example, improved crop varieties are being developed from radiationinduced
crop mutations.
• The region’s health facilities use nuclear technology for insect and pest
control, sterilization of medical products, and medical diagnosis and
therapy.~! –~
Most Middle Eastern and South Asian countries have not developed the infrastructure
or technical abilities to deal with the safety problems nuclear
power can pose. Indian nuclear facilities, for example, already have had
frequent-though minor-safety problems. Responses to a Chernobyl’ or
Three Mile Island-type accident would be much slower and less effective
than in the USSR or the United States, and much more human and
environmental damage would result than occurred in the USSR.I~—-
Only a handful of states have pursued weapons development, but the
prospects that more will follow suit are strong:

ev1ces qu1c y.
iii ~10027X LDA 88-10577X
SW 88-10033X IA 88-10032X
May 1988
– ‘—I_ _____J
Reverse Blank
None of the states in the region could have initiated or advanced its nuclear
program without foreign technology and equipment. The degree of dependence
on external assistance varies widely, but even the most sophisticated
programs in the region rely on outside help:


• rnma nas rnvorea se1I-sumc1ency m nuc1ear power om 1s snowmg mterest
in purchasing Soviet power reactors.
Although some Middle Eastern and South Asian states are probably
pursuing nuclear technology only for prestige, many are serious about
developing a nuclear infrastructure that will enable them to utilize the
benefits of the technology in the future. Despite growing opposition to
nuclear power in parts of the developed world, many Middle Eastern and
South Asian states continue to favor it, and the region could become a lucrative
market for nuclear suppliers. The United States, which paved the
way to nuclear technology for many of the region’s states with the Atoms
for Peace Program, could play a major role in the region’s nuclear future if
proliferation concerns can be resolved. I I
v
I ,
Contents
Page
Summary iii
Scope Note ix
Country Studies
Algeria l
Bangladesh 5
Egypt 9
India 13
Iran 25
Iraq 29
Israel 35
Libya 43
Morocco 49
Pakistan 53
Saudi Arabia 63
Sri Lanka 67
Syria 69
Other Countries 73
International Nuclear Treaties 75
Appendixes
A. 77
B.
Reverse Blank vii
Scope Note
Reverse Blank
This handbook provides readers with basic facts about nuclear programs in
the Middle East and South Asia. It also examines the extent to which
countries in the region rely on foreign support for their nuclear programs
and the prospects for nuclear weapons proliferation . ._I __ _J
Information in this handbook is restricted to the Secret level to allow
maximum distribution. Despite the exclusion of more highly classified
material, sufficient information was available to describe the status of
nuclear programs throughout the region as well as to make judgments
concerning proliferation dangers.LJ
ix
()
0 c
~ –< VI 2' 0.. ii' "' Algeria To meet the energy needs of Algeria's expanding population and still maintain sufficient oil and natural gas exports to sustain the economy, the Bendjedid government has chosen to use nuclear power to supplement existing energy resources. The rudimentary Algerian nuclear program will grow as a result of an agreement in 1985 to purchase the country's first research reactor and a pilot fuel fabrication plant from Argentina,~ !Existing economic an technolog1cal hm1tat1ons md1cate that the rate of that growth will probably be slow. I I Algeria, which has not signed the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT), probably can be persuaded to accept limited safeguards, which will help to ensure that the country's low proliferation potential is kept to a minimum. I I Organization The New Energies Commission (CEN), which replaced the Center of Science and Nuclear Technology in 1982, supervises nuclear research and development in Algeria. CEN's director reports directly to the President and holds the rank of a Cabinet minister. CEN has six "centers" or divisions and employs approximately 600 people, according to a Lawrence Livermore study.I I Key Decisionmakers As President and Minister of National Defense, Chadli Bendjedid has ultimate responsibility for nuviewed as an infringement of its sovereignty-and circumscribes its future nuclear options. As an Arab leader, Bendjedid also probably refuses on principle since Israel has not signed. I clear matters. A self-described pragmatist, Bendjedid '--------------------------' is first and foremost interested in Algeria's economic development and is pursuing nuclear power for civilian uses. We have no reporting that he favors nuclear weapons development. Bendjedid, however, refuses to sign the NPT or to accept full-scope safeguards for Algerian nuclear facilities. We believe his refusal is based on both nationalistic and pragmatic grounds. Signing would open Algerian facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) scrutiny-probably Electricity Production Algeria has a capacity of 3,142,300 kW, virtually all of which is supplied by oil and natural gas. In March 1981 the government adopted a nuclear energy program aimed at meeting 10 percent of the country's 1 ..... 2 electrical energy needs from nuclear power by the year 2000. Algeria is unlikely to reach its goal because it has not begun to build a power reactor. I I Uranium Mining to include three research reactors. Financial problems and lack of water for cooling the reactors stymied these projects. • Negotiations with the United States for a Triga research reactor failed because of Algeria's unwillingness to sign the NPT and accept full-scope safeguards. • Other negotiations with potential West European suppliers failed because of similar difficulties. • In 1985, Argentina agreed to sell Algeria a 1-MW research reactor and provide training and other support functions. The research reactor is under construction, but the program is experiencing personnel and supply problems. Argentina claims the agreement calls for IAEA safeguards in all nuclear transfers, according to a Lawrence Livermore study. Algeria has an estimated 28,000 metric tons of uranium reserves, according to a nuclear energy expert. Mining is conducted in Gara Ekar, Dahra region, and Timgaouine[ !These mines produCe enough uranium yearly tor about 1,200 ~---------------------~ tons of yellow cake (a concentrate produced during milling containing 80 percent uranium oxide). I~---~ International Relations Algeria negotiated with numerous countries to develop its nuclear program but appears to have settled on Argentina as its prime supplier: • In the early 1980s France conducted feasibility studies for a power reactor and pursued a deal to design and build a nuclear research center that was Reverse Blank 3 Bangladesh Bangladesh is developing a core of trained nuclear personnel, but financial problems are inhibiting significant advances in its nuclear program. Dhaka's first research reactor began operating in 1986, and the country has plans to build at least one power reactor.I I Organization The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), established in 1973, is part of the Ministry of Energy. The BAEC employs about 300 scientists and technicians~ I Key Decisionmakers President and Minister of Defense Hussain Mohammad Ershad dominates all aspects of national decisionmaking, including nuclear matters. He has no scientific training or experience and probably relies heavily on others for technical advice. Ershad, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1982, supports a nuclear power program. He has no known aspirations to develop nuclear weapons,! I I I Minister of Energy and Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anwar Hussain is Bangladesh's leading nuclear expert. He reports directly to Ershad and, like Ershad, supports power development but not weapons. 5 Electricity Production Bangladesh currently has plans to build a 300-MW reactor near Pabna with foreign financial and technical assistance. Some potential foreign suppliers have questioned the need for expensive nuclear power given Bangladesh's large supplies of natural gas. They have also expressed doubts that Bangladesh can bring on line a 300-MW plant, which would increase electrical output by 31 percent, without a major expansion in the capacity of the country's power grid.c::::::::J Uranium Mining I !substantial uranium deposits were discovered m the Sylhet area in 1985. The BAEC intended to mine the deposits if testing indicated they were commercially viable. We have seen no information to indicate any followup by Dhaka.~I ----~ 6 International Relations Bangladesh depends on foreign sources for all its nuclear program's needs. It has discussed assistance with several states, I • Bangladesh has ta.,..,I~k~ea~w=1~th~c~a~n~a~a~a-, ~rn~e~u=n~n~e~a~----' States, Japan, and France about acquiring a power reactor, but its most recent efforts have been with Argentina and West Germany. • Bangladesh considered purchasing hot cells from private firms in Canada and the United Kingdom, but it eventually bought them from East European suppliers. • The USSR offered to supply a complete food irradiation plant two years ago, but we have no information on the current status of this offer.I I Reverse Blank 7 Egypt Egypt's longstanding plans for building nuclear power plants remain on hold because of safety concerns, financing difficulties, and the lack of an adequate technical infrastructure~ I II Moreover, thehernobyl nuclear accident m ~reased public and government sensitivity to nuclear safety and further slowed plans to build nuclear power plants. Nonetheless, official interest in nuclear power generation remains alive and is likely to grow if the hydroelectric capabilities of the Aswan High Dam fall as a result of a prolonged drought. I I Organization The Ministry of Electricity and Energy supervises the country's nuclear endeavors through the Egyptian Atomic Energy Establishment (EAEE) and the Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA),I I I I The EAEE, established in 1957, is responsible for most atomic research and operates the Nuclear Research Center at Inshas Ar Ramal and the National Center for Radiation Research and Technology in Cairo. The NPPA coordinates Egypt's efforts to acquire nuclear power, including negotiations for purchasing foreign reactors.I I Key Decisionmakers President Hosni Mubarak has final responsibility for Egypt's nuclear activities. Nevertheless, we believe he remains aloof from most aspects of nuclear decisionmaking, preferring to rely on trusted subordinates. I !Mubarak probably recognizes Egypt s need for nuclear power but favors gradual development to avoid the possibility of a Chernobyl'-style accident. I I Minister of Electricity and Energy Mohammed Maher Abaza, who reports to the President, has Cabinet-level responsibility for most of Egypt's nuclear activities. For a decade Abaza has been the government's untiring and outspoken advocate of nuclear power development. He is Egypt's main point 9 of contact with nuclear supplier nations, including the United States, and has been successful in acquiring foreign technological assistance for the program, Electricity Production Egypt hopes to meet 40 percent of its electrical needs-about 8,000 MW-with nuclear power by the year 2005, but this ambitious goal is unlikely to be 10 11 met, k I Groundbrea mg tor Egypt s first power plant at Ad Dabah has been stalled for years, and we believe it will be indefinitely delayed unless financing problems are overcome. I I Uranium Mining Egypt is mining uranium. In mid-1987 the Electricity and Energy Minister announced that promising uranium ore discoveries had been made in the As Sahra'ash Sharqiyah (Eastern Desert) and Sinai. Before this discovery, Egypt's uranium resources were estimated at 100,000 tons, according to the IAEA . ._I __ __, International Relations Egypt has nuclear cooperation agreements with several countries. Although initial Egyptian interest in nuclear power was raised by the US Atoms for Peace Program, rapidly deteriorating relations with Washington in the late 19 50s pushed Cairo toward the USSR as a nuclear patron. In 1956 Egypt signed its first agreement with the USSR for a nuclear research center. Since then, Egypt has sought to expand its nuclear base by signing nuclear cooperation agreements with the IAEA, India, Yugoslavia, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, Norway, France, West Germany, Canada, Australia, Libya, Iraq, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and Niger. I I Egypt has been active in international forums on nonproliferation issues and strongly promotes nuclearweapons- free zones in the Middle East and elsewhere, I !Egypt has also signed and ratified the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for nuclear damage and the agreement on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials.I I The United States and West Germany are Egypt's and Safety Center and has given the Egyptian Nuclear Research Center over $200,000 worth of equipment. The Germans also provide training . ._!_ ____ most active nuclear partners. The United States has a L_ ______________________ __J sizable training program under both a bilateral agreement and the IAEA program. West Germany provides a full-time expert to the Nuclear Regulatory 12 India India has an extensive and sophisticated nuclear program. The nuclear program is part of an overall Indian leaders, opposes the NPT on the grounds that it discriminates against Third World states and is an ineffective arms control measure.I I industrialization strategy guided by a desire to avoid Minister of State for Science and Technology reliance on external assistance: India has six nuclear Kocheril Raman Narayanan-the ranking official in power reactors of mixed foreign and indigenous con- the Science and Technology Ministry-functions as struction, and four more are under construction. C::::J the chief executor of Gandhi's nuclear policies. We believe he plays almost no role in policy formulation. India detonated a nuclear device in 1974 and probably has the capability to produce nuclear weapons. In all likelihood, India has maintained a small, covert weapons program since the 1974 test in anticipation of an eventual decision to build and deploy nuclear weapon systems.I I Organization The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) administers all Indian nuclear programs, and the DAE's principal secretary chairs the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), a six-member policy advisory group. The secretary reports to the Prime Minister through the Minister of State for Science and Technology. I lhe DAE employ' 36,000 persons, mcludmg about 23,000 scientists and technicians. The Department operates four main research facilities: the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) at Trombay; the Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research at Kalpakkam; the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Calcutta; and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay.I I Key Decisionmakers Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who also holds the Science and Technology portfolio, makes all final decisions on nuclear policies. He supports continued development of India's nuclear energy program to facilitate steady modernization of the country. Gandhi claims that he opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but he has made clear that Pakistan's nuclear weapons ambitions are forcing a reevaluation of India's nuclear goals. Gandhi, like previous 13 Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan, who became DAE principal secretary and AEC chairman in March 1987, supervises the Indian nuclear program's daily operations. I 14 15 Nuclear Reactors India has the following nuclear reactors: • Madras I, 220-MW power reactor: - Heavy-water moderated, natural uranium fuel. - Startup: 1982. - Supplier: Indigenous construction. - Safeguards: No. • Madras II, 220-MW power reactor: - Heavy-water moderated, natural uranium fuel. - Startup: 1984. - Supplier: Indigenous construction. - Safeguards: No. • Narora I, 235-MW power reactor (under construction): - Heavy-water moderated, natural uranium fuel. - Startup: 1988 target. - Supplier: Indigenous construction. - Safeguards: No. • Narora II, 235-MW power reactor (under construction): - Heavy-water moderated, natural uranium fuel. - Startup: 1990 target. - Supplier: Indigenous construction. - Safeguards: No. • Kakrapar I, 235-MW power reactor (under construction): - Heavy-water moderated, natural uranium fuel. - Startup: 1993 target. - Supplier: Indigenous construction. - Safeguards: No. • Kakrapar II, 235-MW power reactor (under construction): - Heavy-water moderated, natural uranium fuel. - Startup: 1995 target. - Supplier: Indigenous construction. - Safeguards: No. 16 I IWe estimate India will achieve a 35- percent increase-about 1.5 percent of its electrical capacity-in nuclear power generation in the next five years. ~I ---~ Uranium Mining India has an estimated 62,700 metric tons of uranium reserves, according to the IAEA. There are active uranium ore concentration operations at Jaduguda, and uranium recovery plants at Surda, Rakha, and Mushabanq !Uranium production is estimated! lat 160 tons annually. I I India's deposits of thorium, a material that can be used as a nuclear fuel, are among the largest in the world. The Indians have tried to utilize thorium, which can be irradiated in breeder reactors or heavywater reactors to convert the fuel to fissionable U-233. Their process, however, is not economical and produces highly radioactive U-233, which presents a serious handling and disposal problem. ~I ---~ International Relations India's relations with other nations often have been troubled by New Delhi's determined go-it-alone attitude on nuclear matters and its refusal to sign the NPT.I I Canada supplied India with two nuclear power reactors but stopped cooperation and supplies in 1976 before the second plant was finished because of New Delhi's covert use of plutonium from the Cirus reactor in the 1974 nuclear explosion. India's refusal to accept safeguards and sign the NPT also contributed to ~---------------------~ Canada's decision. Apart from Tarapur, all of India's Electricity Production About 2 percent of the country's 43,400-MW electrical capacity is supplied by nuclear power. India plans to increase that by 8 to 10 percent in the next 15 years, but Indian nuclear officials recognize that goal will be difficult to achieve, nuclear power reactors are based on Canadiansupplied technology. ~I __ ~ The United States, which provided India with its first nuclear power reactors-Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS I, 11)-also stopped nuclear cooperation 18 with India in 1980 because of the NPT issue. A short time later, however, the United States eased some of its nonproliferation policies and helped locate alternative suppliers for fuel and spare parts for TAPS. France agreed in 1982 to provide some of the fuel, and in 1983 West Germany agreed to supply spare parts, according to a nuclear scholar on South Asia. French and West German firms built heavy-water plants in India with help from Swiss consultants. The French and Swiss continue to supply India with 19 nuclear fuel and technology. France has recently discussed with India the possibility of building nuclear power plants. The Soviet Union supplies India with heavy water and is discussing cooperation in power plant construction. India's nuclear establishment is divided over the issue of acquiring foreign reactors. Those opposed argue that foreign reactors would not mesh well with the indigenous system and that safeguards would be 20 21 required. They also worry that dealing with the Soviet Union would make the Indian nuclear program hostage to Moscow for fuel, just as it has been hostage to the United States and France. The costs and loss of prestige in purchasing foreign reactors also contribute to their opposition. On the other side, the Prime Minister's influential science adviser, M. G. K. Menon, favors importing reactors to meet the nation's pressing power needs. If those favoring outside help prevail, the process of incorporating foreign technology is likely to be slow and tentative.I I India has had or now has nuclear cooperation agreements with several countries, including Argentina, Egypt, France, Libya, Poland, West Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Most of these agreements provide only for exchanges of scientists, training, collaboration in selected areas, and exchanges of information. I I New Delhi's go-it-alone philosophy has contributed to its inability to meet some nuclear goals as well as given rise to significant safety and environmental concerns: • Power reactor shutdowns because of safety and maintenance problems have aggravated electricity shortages, and heavy-water plants have been unable to meet production targets. • Radiation leaks from some reactors have been above recognized safe levels. According to a nuclear power expert, in the 1970s the Tarapur power reactor became an environmental hazard because radiation levels were high and maintenance poor. Thousands of untrained maintenance workers received excessive radiation doses. • The Rajasthan I power reactor has had heavy-water leaks\ 22 Reverse Blank 23 I Iran The Khomeini regime, after a hiatus caused by the revolution, reinstituted Iran's nuclear program in 1982. The new program apparently is directed at resurrecting at least part of the Shah's ambitious nuclear power plans, but few visible results have been achieved. Efforts are under way to secure the necessary foreign assistance to complete the Bushehr nuclear power reactors and obtain a pilot-scale fuel fabrication plant and heavy-water facility.I I Iran does not pose a weapons proliferation threat at this time. Uranium enrichment and weapons design work done before the 1979 revolution, although it did not progress far, could provide a foundation for future weapons development, according to a nuclear proliferation expert. Tehran's ambitions for regional dominance as well as concern with Pakistani and Iraqi nuclear achievements provide the major incentives for Iran to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Although Tehran, in our view, will try eventually to develop a weapons capability, it lacks trained scientists and an unsafeguarded source of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium. Organization The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), established in 197 4, oversees all aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. Its director, counseled by a fourmember advisory committee, reports directly to the Prime Minister.\ Key Decisionmakers Prime Minister Mir Hosein Musavi-Khamenei controls nuclear matters in the Iranian parliament. He publicly supports the development of nuclear power, but we have seen no evidence that he is pushing a nuclear weapons development program . ._I ___ _, 25 Reza Amrollahi, director of AEOI since 1982, maintains a high profile by leading Iran's delegations to IAEA conferences, handling public relations, and negotiating with foreigners. I 26 International Relations The success of the Khomeini regime's nuclear program depends heavily on securing foreign assistance, an objective that will be difficult to achieve as long as the Iran-Iraq war continues. Iran's program under the Shah laid the basis for close links to Wes tern suppliers, including the United States, West Germany's Kraftwerk Union, and the French-based Eurodif uranium enrichment facility. By 1978 doubts within the government about Iran's overly ambitious plans began to surface because of serious financial problems. Many of Iran's foreign nuclear agreements were terminated before the 1979 revolution, and the new Islamic government canceled the rest of the program and withdrew from Eurodif. The Khomeini regime considered it ridiculous to continue a program that depended .totally on foreign expertise, according to a nuclear energy expert. I I In 1982, Iran began an effort to settle its disputes. with French and West German suppliers, which arose from the cancellation of their contracts and Iran's withdrawal from Eurodif. Tehran probably realized it would waste the billions of dollars already spent on the program if the projects remained dormant. Iran has sought repayment of the Eurodif loan and may seek French aid in other areas. Paris has already repaid two-thirds of Iran's original Eurodif loan. Iran is working with a consortium of companies from West L_ _____________________ _J Germany, Argentina, and Spain to complete the Electricity Production Iran under the Shah planned to have by the mid- 1990s 20 nuclear power plants providing about 23,000 MW of electricity, but construction had begun on only two of the plants when the 1979 revolution stopped work. West Germany's refusal to grant export permits for sensitive nuclear equipment for the Bushehr reactor and other complications caused by the Iran-Iraq war have prevented significant progress toward completing this power project. LI ____ __J Uranium Mining Iran has 5,000 tons of uranium reserves, noqe of which is currently mined. It was exploring for additional uranium deposits in early 1988, LI _____ __J 27 Bushehr I power reactor, although the danger to construction workers because of the Iran-Iraq war is limiting progress. Wes tern firms are reluctant to send workers into a war zone, and Iraq's air attack on Bandar-e Bushehr in November 1987 was probably intended to reinforce these concerns.I I In an effort to keep its dependence on traditional Western suppliers to a minimum, Iran has turned to Argentina and China. Argentina, in addition to its Bushehr work, is providing technology and training. Buenos Aires has agreed to help convert Tehran's research reactor from highly enriched uranium (93 percent) to low-enriched uranium fuel, and to supply 20-percent-enriched fuel under international safeguards by 1989. A nuclear cooperation agreement was reached with China in mid-1987 that includes scientific exchanges and the eventual purchase from China of miniature neutron source reactors and a heavywater research reactor,! I I L___ ___ -----,J 28 Iraq Iraq has the most ambitious nuclear research program in the Arab world, and it is continuing to develop a nuclear capability despite destruction of its Osirak reactor by Israel in 1981, the war with Iran, and severe financial constraints. Before the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, Baghdad used its oil leverage with energy-poor nuclear suppliers such as France and Italy to acquire a wide range of equipment and technology, including key elements of the fuel cycle. We believe Iraq's ultimate goal is to obtain a nuclear weapons capability, although we have no direct evidence of a weapons program. Iraq has made special efforts to acquire technologies necessary to produce plutonium, which it does not need for its power program. Baghdad's nuclear weapons ambitions probably are driven by its interest in being a leader in the Arab world, the need to obtain the necessary military strength to counter the long-term threat from Iran, and concern over Israel's nuclear capabilities.~1--~ Organization The Atomic Energy Commission of Iraq (AECI), founded in 1956 and chaired by Iraq's president, administers the country's nuclear policies and programs. The commission's most important facility is the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center.I~---~ Key Decisionmakers President and AECI Chairman Saddam Husayn almost certainly makes all major nuclear decisions. We believe Husayn wants to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, but he probably realizes this is technologically impossible in the near term. I I Atomic Energy Commission Director Rahim al-Kita! has served as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors since at least early 1986. Although we believe he plays an important role in Iraq's efforts to develop nuclear power, we 29 have no reporting on his views on nuclear weapons. 30 31 ~- Electricity Production None of Iraq's electricity is supplied by nuclear power. Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission plans for 10 to 15 percent of Iraq's electricity to be produced by nuclear power by the year 2000-a goal that is unlikely to be reached. The closest Baghdad has come to a decision to construct a power reactor has been commissioning site feasibility studies. The production of nuclear-generated electricity is probably not a priority in Iraq's economic development plans, because it has other abundant energy resources (hydroelectric, oil, and gas). I I Uranium Mining Iraq has no significant uranium reserves, but the Al Qa'im phosphate fertilizer plant has a facility for the extraction of uranium from phosphates,! I I !Iraq estimates its phosphate reserves at I billion tons.I I International Relations The Iraqis have relied heavily on foreign equipment, personnel, and training to assist in the development of their nuclear program. In the last two decades, most of the aid has been provided by France and Italy, supplementing the USSR, Iraq's initial nuclear patron. ~I -----~ The Soviet Union has been linked to Iraq's nuclear program since the 1960s, when Moscow supplied Tuwaitha's first research reactor. The Soviets have conducted site surveys in Iraq for a nuclear power reactor and may hope to win a contract to construct it. Iraq has asked the IAEA for assistance in evaluating the Soviet proposals, and, if work proceeds, firms from several European countries may act as engineering consultants.I I France and Italy have made major contributions to the extensive research facilities at Tuwaitha. Iraq signed an agreement with France in 1975 for a nuclear research center and two research reactors (Tammuz I and II). Work on the reactors stopped in June 1981 after the Israeli raid. Although Paris agreed in principle to rebuild the destroyed and damaged reactors,\ 32 I trench firms have done only some cleanup work on t e Osirak reactor. I I Iraq signed a $50 million nuclear cooperation agreement with Italy in 1976 for the supply of five laboratories, including one with hot cells for remote handling of radioactive material, according to a nuclear energy expert. Italy, however, has stopped its support to Iraq's nuclear program because of US pressure. I I Brazil has agreed to supply Iraq with enriched uranium and to help with uranium prospecting, but only some uranium oxide has been supplied. Iraq has also acquired large quantities of uranium-mostly in the form of yellow cake-from several sources including Niger, Portugal, and Spain.I I Nuclear cooperation discussions with India have resulted in an agreement for India to train Iraqi scientists and engineers, but New Delhi has refused to ~-----'-, transfer technology under any circumstances, I I I ~raq has discussed nuclear cooperauon wnn Canada, Pakistan, and Egypt, but we are unaware of progress in these discussions. The United States has no nuclear cooperation with Iraq, although we believe Baghdad has sent graduate students to the United States to study nuclear science. Reverse Blank 33 Israel The driving force behind Israel's nuclear program is national security. I e omomg o raq s s1ra reactor m 1981 illustrates Israel's determination to maintain a monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East.~1----~ Israel, which began nuclear research as soon as it became a state in 1948, has the most advanced nuclear technology in the Middle East. Although it would like to buy nuclear power plants-which would be much cheaper than building its own-questions about its nuclear weapons program have limited cooperation with nuclear suppliers. Concern among potential suppliers over Arab reaction to cooperation with Israel has also been a problem for Israel. I ~---; Organization The Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) is the principal national authority concerned with nuclear policy and program administration. Attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, the IAEC manages the nation's research facilities and programs with the assistance of relevant government ministries such as Defense, Foreign Affairs, Science and Development, and Energy and Infrastructure. ~I ----~ The IAEC has 20 commissioners-largely former senior government officials-who sit on the main board, the apex of the IAEC's structure. They are responsible for policy support to the commission. (CNF) Despite Israeli claims that the Defense Ministry has little or no involvement in the nuclear program, the Ministry almost certainly plays a role in the country's nuclear activities. We believe the IAEC and the Defense Ministry operate in tandem, Whatever its relationship with the Defense Ministry, the IAEC has a sizable internal bureaucracy that deals with various nuclear activities, including the 35 day-to-day operations of Israel's two research reactors. IAEC's bureaucratic structure consists of a director general, a deputy director general, several advisory subcommittees, and at least three functional divisions. We estimate that the overall IAEC scientific and technical staff totals 400 to 500 personnel. I I Key Decisionmakers Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is chairman of the IAEC and has final authority over nuclear policy. He professes to oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons and has called for the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. Nevertheless, like previous Israeli leaders, he has ref used to sign the NPT, noting that Israel would compromise its nuclear capabilities if it were forced to open all its facilities to IAEA inspection. Moreover, Shamir has never dismissed the possibility of an Israeli nuclear deterrent to counter the conventional forces of Israel's Arab neighbors. 36 Because Israel lacks natural energy resources, primarily oil, Shamir supports the development of nuclear power reactors. I I 37 Electricity Production Israel has a 4,750-MW electrical generating capacity, but no electricity is produced by nuclear power. Israel has researched the feasibility of nuclear power and has chosen a site in the Negev desert for a future nuclear plant. The Israel Electrical Corporation estimates that Israel will not need a nuclear plant until the year 2000. Tel Aviv's research has concluded that it would be less expensive for Israel to acquire foreign nuclear power technology than to produce its own power reactors. I I Uranium Mining Israel has no uranium deposits, but since the early 1970s it has been recovering uranium from phosphate deposits in the Negev desert. Uranium recovery is almost certainly sufficient to permit the continuing operation of the Dimona reactor, which probably consumes no more than 20 to 30 tons of uranium per year.I~---~! International Relations Israel's refusal to sign the NPT and to put all its nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards has severely limited nuclear cooperation with other countries. For instance, Israel has unsuccessfully approached several countries-including the United States, Canada, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and West Germany-to purchase a nuclear reactor and nuclear technology. Serious discussions developed only with France, but Paris pulled out of the negotiations because of concerns about damage to its relations with important Arab trading partners. I I - 38 39 ret ·~ ~ 40 Reverse Blank 41 Libya Libya has some of the most modern nucl ear facilities in the Middle East, but for the last decad ently has not assigned high priority to its program. During the 1970s, after Mu'am Qadhafi took power, the regime develope plans for joint nuclear power production the training of nuclear researchers and sc the purchase of state-of-the-art nuclear f Most of these plans have been shelved be Libya's troubled relations with its neighb were to provide much of the manpower fo projects, and because of Qadhafi's insiste ting his maverick political ideas before an national objective. If the regime were to develop a nuclear weapons capability, we believe that goal could be reached for at e it apparnuclear mar ald ambitious with Egypt, ientists, and acilities. cause of ors, which r these nee on puty other decide to do not least a decade. Organization The Libyan Atomic Energy Commission (LAEC), formerly the Secretariat of Atomic Energ ( 1981-April 1986), reports to Qadhafi thr Council of Ministers. We believe that the little influence on nuclear policymaking a only in a reporting capacity. The Tajara' Research Center is the LAEC's principal probably the major source of expert advic matters for Qadhafi and the government. y ough the latter has nd serves Nuclear facility and eon nuclea1 I Key Decisionmakers Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has long harbo red a strong interest in a nuclear weapons capa has made unsuccessful efforts to obtain w bility and ea pons directly from China.I I LAEC Director Nuri al-Fayturi al-Madni is a former Transport Minister (1975-80) and has no previous training or expertise in nuclear matters. We believe he received his current post primarily because he is a good manager who has demonstrated appropriate revolutionary commitment. I '----~I he heads a revolu'--t-1o_n_a_r_y_c_o_m_m_1t-te_e_m_ _~ 43 Sabha and served on the committee that negotiated Libya's now defunct union with Morocco.\ Electricity Production Libya has a 4,070-MW electric power capacity, none of which is supplied by nuclear energy. Libya has had plans since 1971 to purchase two Soviet-supplied 440- MW nuclear power reactors, but construction has not 44 45 begun because of a failure to agree on payment terms and controversies over which country will man key components.I~-~ Uranium Mining Libya has no known uranium deposits but has exploration projects under way in the Qarar Marzuk (basin) and the Kufra Basin. The uranium deposits found in the Aozou Strip, which is territory disputed with Chad, is probably one of the reasons behind Qadhafi's determination to hold onto the area.~1----~ International Relations Libya's most important foreign nuclear partner is the USSR. A 1975 agreement with Moscow provided Libya with the Tajara' Nuclear Research Center and includes provisions for training Libyan nuclear engineers and scientists, according to a nuclear power expert. I I Resentment among Libya's nuclear officials over Soviet unwillingness to supply Libya with detailed or sensitive nuclear technology has kept the nuclear relationship tense, I Working-level rela""'u=o=ns~o=et~w~e~e=n~L~1o =y=a=n~a~n~a~s~o~v,~e~t _, nuclear officials are poor. Libyan officials resent the condescending attitude of their Soviet counterparts and suspect them of stalling and padding costs and prices. The two sides have experienced considerable friction over whether Libya will pay for nuclear help in petroleum or hard currency, with Moscow insisting on the latter. Aside from the research center supplied by the Soviet Union, Libya's gains from nuclear cooperation agreements with other states have been modest: • In 1973, Libya and Pakistan were engaged in prolonged nuclear-related negotiations, according to academic studies. The rela~ t...--io-n~sh,...,i~p-p_r_o...--ba-.b'"""'l_y_r_e~sul ted in some Libyan financial and material assistance to Pakistan's nuclear program, but it is unclear whether Libya benefited. The relationship with Pakistan deteriorated soon after Ali Bhutto's ouster as Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1977. • In 1984, Libya initiated discussions with Belgium for a uranium tetrafluoride plant and nonnuclear services for the planned Soviet-supplied power reactors. US pressure on Belgium in 1985 halted negotiations. • Libyan efforts to purchase a power reactor from Argentina have not progressed since 1985, when a civilian government gained power in Argentina. • A 1984 agreement with Brazil for uranium prospecting and development services has shown little return.I I The United States has never had nuclear dealings with Libya, which in 1983 was placed on a list of states subject to especially strict nuclear export controls. Libyan students in the United States were prohibited at that time from continuing their studies in nuclear-related sciences. During the 1970s, Libya relied on US universities for training in nuclear physics and engineering. Since the expulsion of the 46 .. Libyan People's Bureau (embassy) from the United States in May 1981 and the subsequent State Department exclusion order, Libya has attempted to send students to almost any country willing and able to offer nuclear training. I I Reverse Blank 47 Morocco The Moroccan Government is considering acquiring from one to four 600-MW nuclear power plants to reduce the country's heavy dependence on fuel imports- 90 percent of Morocco's energy is imported. Central to the success of these plans is Morocco's ability to locate a foreign nuclear partner that will also provide the necessary financing.I I Organization The recently constituted National Center for Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology oversees and coordinates all national nuclear activities, according to US Embassy reporting. Moroccan nuclear officials, however, have told US diplomats that, in practice, the Ministries of National Education and of Energy and Mines frequently challenge the National Center for control of nuclear matters. The National School of Industrial Minerals, which is subordinate to the National Education Ministry, will operate the Triga Mark I research reactor, which is to be constructed in Rabat. I I Key Decisionmakers King Hassan II supports the careful development of nuclear power,I . I We have seen no mmcauon that the Kmg is mterestea in nuclear weapons research. '----------' Mohamed Hilali became Minister of National Education- his first government post-in September 1986. ~t I lthe nuclear views of the Kmg's subordmates, we expect them to support and implement the King's policy directives with little deviation. As a group, they almost certainly support the acquisition of nuclear power for economic and commercial reasons.IL__ ___ _, Electricity Production Morocco has a 2,000,000-kW electrical capacity. None of Morocco's electricity is produced by nuclear power, but the government has plans-almost certainly unachievable-to add up to 2,400,000 kW of nuclear-generated electrical capacity by 2007.------~ I I Uranium Mining Morocco has 7 million tons of uranium associated with the country's large phosphate deposits. Industrial L_ ___________________ ___, technology to make extraction of the uranium eco- Mohamed Fettah has been Minister of Energy and Mines since 1985. \ 49 nomically feasible has not been developed, ._I ___ ___, 50 US firm for a power reactor and two uranium extraction plants, but they were discontinued after mid- 1982, primarily because of strong competition from the French. Despite King Hassan's preference for US technology, Morocco has turned to France for some of its nuclear needs-primarily because of better financial terms. Beginning in early 1981, during negotiations with the French over construction of uranium extraction facilities, the Moroccans discussed the purchase of complete development packages. These were to have included: French purchase of all Moroccan uranium oxide at guaranteed prices, enrichment services for that portion of Moroccan uranium oxide needed to fuel a power reactor, construction of the power reactor, and training of personnel to operate the facility. We do not know the results of these talks. In 1986, Moroccan nuclear engineers were being trained in France at French expense,! llAlthough the Frenc.,..,h~G~o=v=e=rn""'m=-o-en=t,,....,..,.w"'"o"'"'u"'""'ld,.......,h"'""k"""e ~ '------------------------~ ~re this new market, it has been hesitant ' International Relations Morocco needs foreign support for all aspects of its nuclear program. Rabat has sought foreign help in uranium extraction facilities, research, and nuclear power plant construction. Discussions with several countries have resulted in cooperation mainly with the United States and France, although some nuclear activities are being pursued with other Arab states. Negotiations were begun in late 1976 between Morocco and the United States that resulted in a 20-year nuclear cooperation agreement that was ratified in 1981. This agreement was the first nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and an Arab nation after passage of the Nuclear NonProliferation Act in 1978. A Triga research reactor was contracted for in 1981 but never installed, and Rabat now plans to purchase a larger Triga research reactor from the United States that will include components of the unfinished reactor, I I I f egotiations began with a Reverse Blank 51 because Morocco is heavily in debt, The French firm Sofratome signed a contract in 1983 whereby Sofratome would conduct site and feasibility studies for Morocco's first nuclear power plant. Among the issues to be resolved include evaluations of prospective sites, along with the technical feasibility of desalination of seawater at the coastal sites . ._I __ __, Pakistan Pakistan is the only state in the Middle East and South Asia besides India to have a nuclear power reactor. Islamabad's civilian nuclear program lags its nuclear weapons work.I.__ ___ _, Pakistan has made excellent use of a clandestine nuclear procurement network to master the fuel cycle and develop a nuclear weapons capability. The nuclear program, which began in the 1950s with help from the US Atoms for Peace Program, took a new and more dangerous turn in the 1970s following a humiliating military defeat by India in 1971 and New Delhi's peaceful nuclear explosion in 1974. In 1966 then Foreign Minister Bhutto pledged that Pakistan would match India's nuclear capabilities and vowed that Pakistanis would "eat grass" to reach that goal. Support for nuclear weapons development is the one political issue the Pakistani population and political parties agree on, according to media polls. Pakistan has repeatedly denied it is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. There is little doubt, however, that it is following this course. Islamabad knows it cannot win a conventional war with India and, therefore, probably believes nuclear weapons are necessary for its survival. India's nuclear capability and Pakistan's belief that the United States is an unreliable ally are additional factors behind its nuclear weapon program. Organization The precursor organization to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (P AEC)-the governing board for Pakistan's nuclear program-was formed in 1955 soon after Pakistan's nuclear program began. The commission consists of a chairman and four members. We believe the PAEC oversees most nuclear activities, including weapons, power, medical, and agricultural research. Day-to-day activities are handled through a system of directorates and divisions that report to the PAEC chairman. The PAEC's premier 53 research facility is the Pakistan Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), located near Islamabad. Pakistan's other key nuclear organization is the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), named after its director Abdul Qadeer Khan. KRL operates Pakistan's unsafeguarded gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant at Kahuta, which is the country's most likely means for acquiring weapons-grade fissile material. The independent-minded A. Q. Khan appears to run KRL as a separate organization, free from the oversight of his longtime rival, PAEC Chairman Munir Khan.I I Key Decisionmakers President Zia is the ultimate formulator of Pakistan's nuclear policy. He probably consults with a small circle of trusted advisers before making key decisions. These advisers appear to include the Prime Minister, key generals, and scientists. We believe Zia is fully committed to the covert development of nuclear weapons and will not alter this course.I I Prime Minister Mohammed Khan Junejo may play a role in general nuclear decisionmaking~ 54 -.. 55 '----=c=e=rt=a""'"'m=->I””‘”‘y””””‘s””‘u=p=p=o=rt=s””””t””‘h””””e–=a,..,,e”‘”‘v”””el,..,,o””‘p””‘m'””‘e'””n'””t….,ocrf-n,.,.u,….,c,…el ar wea p-
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ons as a deterrent to India, but does not appear to be .
involved in nuclear weapons decisionmaking ·I~–~ …W… ….-e–.b-e””‘”h-e-ve___,.th.–a_,t,_A-.—sl.–a-m—.B..–e_g_a_s___,…,Y-1c_e_C7″‘

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