Anatoly Dyatlov’s grave

In autumn 2021 we visited Anatoly Stepanovich Dyatlov’s grave, leaving fresh flowers and reflecting on history.

Some claim that Dyatlov was the main person responsible for the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Others believe he was merely a scapegoat, a victim of a flawed political system and an inherently dangerous reactor design.

Anatoly Dyatlov was a complex character. Undoubtedly an expert in nuclear physics and rector operation, but also a difficult person to work with, often reacting angrily to subordinates questioning or disagreeing with his opinion.

Born to a poor family in 1931 in Siberia, Dyatlov worked his way up to the prestigious Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute, where he earned honours in 1959. He spent 13 years installing naval nuclear reactors in a submarine base in the easternmost part of Russia.

In the aftermath of a nuclear incident involving one of the submarine reactors, Dyatlov was exposed to a radiation dose of approximately 100 rem (1.0 Sv). This level of exposure typically results in mild radiation sickness, manifesting as symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue.

In 1973, he moved to Pripyat to work at the newly constructed Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. His experience working on naval reactors made him one of the three most senior managers at the Chernobyl station. He was in charge of the Units Three and Four.

Anatoly Dyatlov’s wife, Isabella Ivanovna was employed at a kindergarten in Pripyat, way below her qualifications as she held a History degree. She died in 2022 in Kyiv. Isabella and Dyatlov had three children.

On the 26th of April 1986 Anatoly Dyatlov was in charge of a safety test of reactor number 4, which in result caused the worst nuclear power plant accident in history.

In 1987, Anatoly Stepanovich Dyatlov, Nikolai Fomin (chief engineer of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant from 1981 to 1986), and Viktor Bryukhanov (manager of construction of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the director of the plant from 1970 to 1986) were found guilty of gross violation of safety regulations leading to an explosion. Anatoly Dyatlov was sentenced to ten years in prison, he was granted amnesty in late 1990.

Dyatlov wrote a paper published in Nuclear Engineering International in 1991 and a book claiming that poor plant design, rather than plant personnel, was primarily responsible for the accident. IAEA’s Report by their International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group from 1992 supports Dyatlov’s evaluation of the RBMK reactor’s design flaws but also criticises the lack of a safety culture in the Soviet nuclear industry.

In 2005, Anatoly Dyatlov released a book titled “Chernobyl. How it Was” (Чернобыль. Как это было), where he shares his detailed version of the events. Unfortunately, the book is only available in Russian, although some unofficial translations exist, and Google Translate is also good enough to understand most of it.

He also appeared in several interviews.

Anatoly Dyatlov died of heart failure in 1995, aged 64.

Anatoly Dyatlov, (photo: Wikipedia)
Anatoly Dyatlov, (photo: Wikipedia)
Anatoly Dyatlov's Grave in Kyiv
Anatoly Dyatlov’s Grave in Kyiv
Anatoly Dyatlov's Grave in Kyiv
Anatoly Dyatlov’s Grave in Kyiv
Anatoly Dyatlov's Grave in Kyiv
Anatoly Dyatlov’s Grave in Kyiv
Anatoly Dyatlov's Grave in Kyiv
Anatoly Dyatlov’s Grave in Kyiv

 

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