There were clouds on the horizon for Viktor Bryukhanov, the director of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl. It was his job to explain what happened to the high-rank party members at Kyiv Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine.
It is very likely that he still didn’t understand the full extent of the damage caused by the explosion in the Reactor No. 4 hall, and knowing that his career was at stake, he decided to play it safe and described situation in Pripyat as “normal”.
It is hard to tell the exact date of this document. The red stamp is dated signed 06 1986 which means June, but I suspect that’s the date of filing this document in a government archive.
“Situation in the city of Pripyat is normal” would suggest that it was sent before the evacuation of the city.. The letter doesn’t mention destruction of the reactor itself, and the timeline provided by Bryukhanov ends in early morning after the accident.
Bryukhanov’s letter reads:
USSR Ministry of Energy and
Electrification of the USSR
About accident at the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant.
On April 26, 1986 at 1:25 am power unit no. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded during the preparation for a scheduled work in the Kyiv region.
As a result of the explosion the roof and walls of the upper part of the reactor hall collapsed. The turbine hall protective building was partially destroyed. A fire broke out and at 4:50 am, it was localized. At 6:00 am, the fire department extinguished it.
About 200 workers were at the station at the moment of the explosion. Nine of them received burns of various degrees. At 6:00am, one person whose last name was not identified died in the medical unit. Three people were in serious condition. Thirty-four people helping with eliminating the fire were taken to the medical unit. Nine of them were firemen. At 8:00 am, the senior operator of the reactor unit, V.I. Khodemchuk, was still missing.
At 3:00 am, the city’s level of radiation was 4-14 micro roentgen per second. By 7:00 am, it dropped to 2-4 micro roentgen/sec.
Near the accident site, it read up to 1000 micro roentgen per second. Power unit #3 was shut down due to an emergency at the 4th power unit. Power units #1 and # 2 are operating normally.
A government commission is investigating the cause of the accident and the amount of material damage.
The situation in the city of Pripyat and adjacent settlements is normal.
Director of the ChNPPV. V. R. Bryukhanov
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