There is a close connection between these events. Three quarters of a century ago, the Soviet Atomic Project was launched in the secret Laboratory No. XXUMX of the USSR Academy of Sciences, within the framework of which one of the most important tasks of ensuring the military security of the Soviet Union, and then Russia, was created. weapon.
Perhaps we, contemporaries of this tremendous work, still do not fully represent its significance for our country. But the fact that this event allows us not only to live in a sovereign state, but also to live in general, is an indisputable fact. It is also indisputable that the creation of nuclear weapons gave impetus to the development of the nuclear industry in the USSR, both its military and civilian components, led to the construction of enterprises now included in the state corporation Rosatom.
One of them, the production association "Mayak", is today leading in the weapons complex of Russia. Production of "Beacon" is widely known both in our country and abroad. These are reactor, radiochemical, chemical-metallurgical, radioisotope and instrument-making production.
But the plant has another “glory” - it became the predecessor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. True, the sources of radiation were different: in Chernobyl - a nuclear power reactor, at Mayak - a tank with radioactive waste.
The place where this first major nuclear catastrophe took place was classified for a long time, it didn’t even have an official name, and the event itself over the years of silence was overgrown with rumors. To many, this accident is known as “Kyshtym”, after the name of the small town of Kyshtym in the north of the Chelyabinsk region, not far from Ozyorsk, the previously extremely secret Chelyabinsk-65.
Those who have been to these places will agree that it is difficult to imagine a more “unsuitable” place for such a disaster. The beauty around is amazing: the mountains covered with pine forest, springs, rivers and many lakes connected by channels. I happened to be not far from Ozersk, in the small town of Kasli, famous for its artistic cast iron. On the outskirts of the city, on the banks of the Irtyash lake, there are dacha townspeople, and on the opposite shore - Ozersk. Its high-rise buildings are clearly visible from the side of Kasley. The plant itself is located in 25 kilometers from the city.
The veil of secrecy over such objects was opened in our country only in 90-s, when the decree of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation on the extension of the law “On social protection of citizens exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster to the special risk units” was issued. This resolution also affected direct participants in the elimination of radiation accidents at nuclear facilities. They began to be called "liquidators."
With one of them, Major General of the internal troops in retirement, Sergey Georgievich Selivyorstov, I happened to meet and write down his memoirs about the “Kyshtym accident”. I think the eyewitness story of the tragic events, the beginning of which was laid on 29 September 1957, will be interesting to many today. Unfortunately, its relevance in our time does not decrease, but, on the contrary, increases.
Sergey Georgievich was born and grew up in the city of Ust-Katav, famous in Russia for its trams and participation in the project of the Buran spacecraft being returned. Ust-Katavsky car-building plant gave many indigenous Ustkatavts and visiting specialists a “start in life”. At first Seliverstov went this way: “I grew up in a younger family, and when my father died, I remained in the house the only“ peasant ”. By this time he had finished only seven classes and wanted to study further, but it was necessary to feed the family. I went to the factory, mastered the profession of electrician. At the same time, he entered the evening department of the mechanical technical school and soon began working as a designer. I liked work, I always dreamed of becoming an engineer and was sure that my dream would come true. ”
Sergey Seliverstov was sure: his future was tightly connected with the plant, but fate decided otherwise. In 1952, he was drafted into the army: “In March, a special appeal to the state security forces was announced. We were sent to Western Ukraine to eliminate the gangs of nationalist Bendera. The situation there was very difficult, there were real battles, although the war was over. ” Seliverstov in these battles did not have to participate. He was selected among many Urals for the service in the Ministry of State Security of Ukraine: “I got into the Governmental regiment. The service was calm, but one day my life changed dramatically. ”
Sergei Seliverstov unexpectedly summoned to the authorities and offered to enter the military school, where they needed cadets who had time to serve in the army. Sergey Georgievich approached “in all respects”: he had work experience, excellent characteristics, graduated from a technical school. But a problem arose: “I wanted to be an engineer, I didn’t attract a military career, so I categorically refused. At first they tried to persuade me, and then they said simply: “So it is necessary. I had to agree. ”
Invitation to the Lubyanka
Soon, Ustkatavets Sergey Seliverstov was accepted to study at the Saratov Military School of the Interior Forces of the Ministry of State Security: “I, having already had military service experience, immediately after entering the school, was appointed the squad leader. I studied, like many cadets, excellent. Soon he received recommendations and was accepted into the party. Then membership of the Communist Party was a prerequisite for further successful promotion. And after three years we were given the rank of lieutenants. ”
After graduation, graduates were given leave, and Sergey Georgievich spent it in Ust-Katav. Only one circumstance surprised and worried the young lieutenant: unlike his comrades, he did not receive a distribution: “I wondered for a long time what that would mean, but I could not understand anything.” After the holidays, Sergei Georgievich was ordered to arrive in Moscow, at the Lubyanka: “I remember going to Lubyanka with apprehension. At that time, very few people came to the institution of their own accord. Why called? Unclear. But my military business: ordered to arrive - arrived. And they say to me: “You will serve in Moscow”. Of course, I was confused.
The young lieutenant, a graduate of a military school was offered to become secretary of the OBON Komsomol organization, a separate special-purpose battalion that protected the Central Committee of the party. To the great surprise of the Moscow authorities, Seliverstov decisively refused this position, explaining his refusal as follows: "I am not a political worker, I graduated from a command school, I want to serve in my specialty." Then he was given three days to think, threatening in case of disagreement to send somewhere in the "dark". Three days later, Seliverstov again came to the Lubyanka: “I say:“ Send me wherever you want, I am a Uralets student, I am not afraid of difficulties ”. They gave me an appointment in Chelyabinsk. “Well, I think it scared me. Chelyabinsk is almost home! If I knew then ... "
In fact, Sergey Georgievich was sent to "Sorokovka" or Chelyabinsk-40. So before 1966, Ozersk was called. Then the city became Chelyabinsk-65, and only in 1994, received the modern name. Until the terrible autumn of 1957, there was very little time left: “I did not hear anything about Sorokovka then, so I went there with a calm soul. Served, of course, not in the city itself. Had to be on duty at the industrial site, which was located in 25 kilometers from Chelyabinsk-40. ”
"Industrial site" - so briefly called the radiochemical plant for the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Only those who were directly engaged in production or provided protection for a highly classified facility knew that what was being produced at this plant: “At the Industrial Site, natural uranium-235 was enriched, purified, and received liquid plutonium. The whole process was extremely harmful and dangerous. Of course, measures to protect personnel were taken, but then it was little known how radiation affects people. I will give you an example. On duty, I often had to meet with Academician Kurchatov. So, he never changed clothes in the sanitary inspection room, although we reminded him of this. Wave his hand, and the whole conversation! And we could not force it. In general, Igor Vasilyevich was a very modest man: he prohibited him from being guarded, accompanied, and greeted everyone by the hand. Often he gave his wages to young physicists who worked with him. ” Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov died before reaching the 60 years. The number of X-rays received by people while working at the industrial site and during military service at this facility, according to Sergey Georgievich, nobody then measured and counted. As Seliversters says, for a long time it was impossible to obtain a certificate of radiation sickness at all. She was given out only to those who had few weeks left to live.
29 September 1957 of the year at the chemical plant "Mayak" an explosion occurred in an underground repository of radioactive waste production. As it turned out later, due to non-compliance with their storage technology. The explosion was not too powerful, but the radioactive cloud covered a large area. Residents of "Sorokovka" then saved only the fact that the wind carried off emissions products away from the city. The waste was mainly radioactive cesium and strontium. “On Sunday, September 29 1957, my chief Platon Afinasyevich Sinebryukhov, after much persuasion, released me to the city for one day,” Seliverstov recalls. “I went to Sorokovka.” It saved my life. It was on this terrible day that an accident occurred, the scale of the consequences of which then no one could even imagine. Platon Afanasyevich Sinebryukhov soon died due to a large dose of radiation received during the accident, and Captain Vasiliev, who was on duty at the facility at that time, was also killed. Many died later. I was later in Ozersk, as they now call "Fortikovka", went there to visit. At this time, of all my colleagues in this city, only one survived - Nikolai Ivanovich Konnov. The rest was gone.
Only in 1994, Selivorstov was given a certificate of a participant in the aftermath of the accident at the Mayak production association and radioactive waste discharges into the Techa River. This was done after his repeated demands and requests to the archives: he accidentally found out that a closed government decree had been issued on the privileges laid down by the liquidators. “If I didn’t make a noise myself, no one would have remembered me. After the terrible events of 1957, a moratorium on 30 years was declared: you could neither tell nor write about the accident, ”says Sergey Georgievich.
The inhabitants of “Sorokovka were really lucky then: a radioactive cloud passed by the city, but numerous villages, over which, by the will of the wind, had passed its path, were doomed. “After the accident at Mayak, Minister of Medium Machine Building Mikhail Georgievich Pervukhin arrived to reassure the population. But there was no panic: we did not know what all this could threaten. We guessed later, when irradiated people began to die, and we began to eliminate the consequences, ”Seliverstov recalls. - Everything happened in a nightmare, it seemed unreal. Residents of the infected villages were forced to completely strip and wash, took away all their clothes, gave out new ones. Houses were bulldozed, leveled them to the ground. All the cattle were driven into the pits and shot. It was terrible, but there was no other way out. By this time came the trains with prefabricated panel houses. Before the onset of winter, they were gathered in “clean” territories, resettled the injured, and each was given out 15 thousand rubles each. ”
Now the level of radiation in the river Techa is about four x-rays per hour. This is a lot, but residents of villages located on its banks continue to take water from the river, fish, and graze cattle on the banks. But as time goes on, it gradually erases terrible events from memory, and they become the past, history. People affected during the accident were resettled to many localities: so they became less noticeable. And when the irradiated were ill and died, it did not affect the prosperous statistics. Many, very many, radiation was reminded of itself only a few years later.
On Mayak, Seliverstov served from 1954 to 1962 for a year and decided to continue his studies - to enroll in a law school, but the medical board "rejected" him. As it turned out, due to a lack of white blood cells in the blood. This was the result of increased doses of radiation. He was accepted to study after all - to the military-political academy. V.I. Lenin. Four years of study have gone unnoticed. In the third year, Sergei Georgievich was given the rank of major, and after graduation, he was again assigned to the Urals, where he was engaged in the protection of all closed facilities of the Chelyabinsk region.
In 1974, Seliverstova was unexpectedly summoned for him to Moscow, to Minister of the Interior N. Shelokov. He received a new appointment - the post of deputy commander of the unit - the head of the political department of the division, in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod). In addition, Seliverststov learned from Schelokov that another rank (colonel) was given to him ahead of time: “I arrived in Gorky. The division commander there was then Nikolai Semenovich Orlov, a Karelian by nationality, a front-line soldier, a very experienced and knowledgeable man with a difficult character. He immediately stated: "It is difficult to work with me." And I answer: "I am a Uralets citizen, I saw everything, I am not afraid of difficulties." In the beginning - exactly, “sparks were cut out”, it was the case. But then nothing worked together. ”
Here, in Gorky, in 1976, Sergey Georgievich was awarded the Order of the Red Star: “Of course, I didn’t perform feats, but I worked very hard. Soon Deputy Minister of the Interior - Lieutenant-General Yuri Mikhailovich Churbanov arrived in Gorky. He offered me to serve in Moscow, in one of the departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. At first, I refused: the appointment of an unknown colonel from the periphery to no one in the capital would have pleased anyone, but Churbanov still managed to defend my candidacy. In the ministry, I was engaged in personnel work. In my jurisdiction were all political workers of the internal troops of the Soviet Union, graduates of academies. We can say we were friends with Yury Mikhailovich Churbanov, we went on business trips together. I often met then with Interior Minister Nikolai Anisimovich Shchelokov. ”
The further life of Sergey Georgievich was no less rich in events. He was soon sent to guard the "construction of the century" - BAM, then he was appointed deputy commander of the Western Military District for political affairs, was elected delegate to the XXVI CPSU Congress, was given the rank of major general.
Last year, 60 celebrated its anniversary from the day of the Mayak accident. The results are so far disappointing: 60 years is too short a period for the consequences of a radioactive explosion, which left a terrible mark on the Ural land, to be completely overcome. Witnesses who survived those tragic days are getting smaller. And the more valuable for us are the memories of eyewitnesses to this disaster. Sergey Georgievich Seliverstov turned out to be one of those who "fell out of life" in 1957 year. So fate decreed.
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