After 27 years after the evacuation of thousands of residents of Chernobyl, Pripyat and the surrounding villages, life in the zone is in full swing - here in the midst of the most ambitious and dangerous construction of Ukraine - a new steel sarcophagus is being built over the old shelter. It was planned to finish it already in 2015 (construction lasts the third year). True, now the builders, they say that they are behind schedule. According to the first deputy head of the State Agency for Exclusion Zone Dmitry Bobro, half of all the work has not yet been completed. “There is no equator yet. The work on the arrangement of the foundation in the installation area has now been completed; an arch is being collected, which will cover the old sarcophagus. It consists of two halves, ”says Bobro. Officials have a lot of reasons for haste - according to some estimates, the old shelter can completely collapse through 9 for years. “According to the current construction schedule of the new shelter, there are lags, but now the customer is working to ensure that the contractor performs work within the specified time frame,” said Bobro “Today”. At the Chernobyl NPP itself they specify that the work is painstaking, because the construction must stand for at least 100 years and withstand any cataclysms: storms, hurricanes, snowfall.
WORKS ON 100 YEARS. After the new sarcophagus is pulled along the rails into the exploded 4 reactor, special cranes will begin to destroy the old shelter in parts. They will observe and control the equipment with the help of video cameras, which will be installed inside, because in the arch itself, all the dust will accumulate, which has accumulated 27 radiation for years. Apparently, the sarcophagus will be dismantled for several years, with several hundred thousand tons of concrete in it. Further, part of the design will be taken out to the already existing special storage facilities, and especially dangerous elements will remain under cover until new bunkers are built. “Everything that will be dismantled should be buried in a stable geological environment. Such storage may appear years through 30. Fuel and radioactive materials will be loaded into containers and sent to deep storage. In general, the works are designed for 100 years, ”said Bobro.
TO CALL ALMOST ONE. "Today" has sought out the builders of the sarcophagus-86. For them, the construction, which lasted six months, divided life into “before” and “after”. Liquidators say that every year they are less and less. It happens that they call their former workmate on a construction site, and at the end of the line they are answered: "He is gone, he is dead." “Initially, lead was dropped from helicopters into the reactor to stop the chain reaction. Then it turned out that this was a mistake that aggravated the situation, ”ex-deputy head of the Shelter object George Reichtman told us. - The sarcophagus began to build in June. The line of concrete trucks stretched for a kilometer on 2, the concrete was poured into the wall, which was supposed to protect from radiation. We understood that the station and the housing were lost. Construction ended by the end of November on 1986. ” Now the artist, and in 1986, an employee of the Institute of Chemistry, shelter builder Georges Shanaev says that with his colleagues he made the sarcophagus airtight. “There were many slots between the shelter’s structures through which radiation emissions occurred. We sealed these seams with polymers, ”Shanaev told us. - From the means of protection were canvas boots, sweatshirt and gauze petal, which he wore on his face. There was a feeling that you were in a war, you could not be wrong. We lived in the Chernobyl hostel, after breakfast we went to the construction site, we worked all daylight hours. Worked there for over a month. Since then, twice a year I have been in the hospital, I will soon lie down for the 50 time. ”
Chernobyl №2: macaques have blood problems
Through 25 years after the Chernobyl disaster, 11 March 2011, a similar accident happened in Japan at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. Its consequences will be felt for decades, because until now the Japanese specialists have not been able to stop even leakage of radioactive water into the ocean from reactors damaged by the earthquake.
It has not yet been decided how the NPP units will be decommissioned, and all projects submitted to the government are calculated for at least 10 — 15 years. A forbidden zone with a radius of 20 km remains around the Fukushima nuclear power plant, although environmentalists have found hotbeds of contamination in 40 km from the station. The 20-kilometer zone is declared a zone of forced evacuation, while the rest of the territory is declared a zone of voluntary resettlement, which does not provide for living at the expense of the state.
Japanese authorities say that there is no risk of increasing cancer due to an accident. Like, the dose that people could receive before the evacuation (and people began to evacuate a few days after the emergency) was insignificant. But Japanese scientists have found anomalies in mammals, birds, insects and plants from the area of nuclear power plants. In macaques from Fukushima a decrease in the content of leukocytes and erythrocytes in the blood was found in comparison with the norms, sometimes to a significant extent. And in one wild warbler caught in 25 km from the nuclear power plant, a tumor was found, something they had never encountered before.
"AT the news very little is reported about the accident, and the Japanese have practically forgotten about it. The shops sell vegetables, fruits and fish from Fukushima prefecture, and the Japanese buy it. But personally, I immediately gave up all the fish caught in Japan - we take only imported ones. The wife goes to the store with a list in which the prefectures are listed in Japanese where the foci of infection have been identified. We do not take food from these areas, ”Ukrainian Ivan Turkevich, who lives 150 km from Fukushima-1, told Segodnya. But at the same time he is thinking of moving to Fukushima Prefecture, which the Japanese authorities plan to develop by building a large institute for renewable energy here. "The radiation level here is slightly higher than in general in Japan, but it is far from a dangerous level," Turkevich said.
Secret Service: they did not listen to counterintelligence
The fact that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant could happen a technological catastrophe, said long before 26 April 1986, and even on the eve of the black date. This is confirmed by the declassified archival documents of the special services and evidence of participants in those events. General Yuri Knyazev, six months before the accident, headed the 6-e Directorate of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR, responsible for economic security, instead of Leonid Bykhov. Prior to that, Yury Vasilyevich headed the Ternopil Oblast Administration, and earlier he was Deputy Head of the KGB Department for Lugansk and Nikolaev Oblasts. He came to the state security bodies in 1967, despite his youth, having solid experience behind him, including in the coal mining industry.
“I participated in the investigation of accidents in mines, and I saw a lot of people's grief, tears, and destruction,” the general recalls. - The competence of 6-th management, along with other tasks, included operational control over safety at especially important facilities, including nuclear power plants, there were four of them then in Ukraine. I came to the conclusion about the need for system measures to enhance the monitoring of the radiation state of nuclear power plants ...
STRANGE POSITION. Especially for these purposes, on the orders of Knyazev, groups of several experienced employees of the central apparatus began to leave there monthly. They delved into the situation in detail, communicated with leading nuclear specialists, identified gaps in radio safety, revealed shortcomings that, unfortunately, were enough. According to the results of business trips, reports were prepared with recommendations, where and what needs to be corrected, from whom it depends, what is fraught with delay.
On their basis, Knyazev prepared a generalized memorandum to the Chairman of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR, Stepan Mucha. There were three such alarming notes. Neither verbally nor in writing did he respond.
“The position of the chairman was completely incomprehensible to me,” Knyazev continues. - It was about the safety of nuclear power plants. The situation worsened there, serious violations occurred, and Mucha pretended that nothing was happening.
Not having achieved a reaction, the head of the 6-th Directorate ordered to prepare a memorandum even higher - a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, Vladimir Scherbitsky and the chairman of the KGB of the USSR Viktor Chebrikov. Special attention in the documents was drawn to the threatening state of affairs at the Chernobyl NPP. But, according to the subordination, bypassing Mucha and without his visa, the reports could not be sent further.
“After more than three months, both documents were returned to me without any resolutions or explanations through the Committee’s secretariat,” sighs Yury Vasilyevich. - Given that the situation at Chernobyl, and at other stations was aggravated, the problems of radio safety became even more acute. He tried to get to the chairman several times - did not accept ...
Before the disaster there were only a few days. What else to do, which bells to ring, which doors to knock on?
On 25 on April 1986, a meeting of the central headquarters of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR was appointed. As then practiced everywhere, the decisions of the next CPSU congress and the tasks of the party organization were to be discussed (there were about 800 communists in it).
On the eve, Yury Knyazev talked with the secretary of the party committee Yuri Chernikov, saying that he intends to make a sharp criticism of the chairman - he does not react to the information and ignores real threats.
BULLET OR CALL. It was an unheard-of challenge, likened to suicide. No wonder: not somewhere, but in the State Security Committee publicly, openly speaking out against the almighty Mukha, who was supported by Scherbitsky himself! ..
“I had two ways,” Yury Vasilyevich admits “Today”. - To put a bullet in the temple, signing in his weakness, or to say everything that boils: about disregard of information of national importance, about the vicious style of leadership, rudeness and mistrust of people ...
He was not afraid - in the presence of Mukha, who was sitting in the first row with a stone face, colleagues in his work, representatives of the administrative agencies of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine - said what he thought. The performance sounded like a shot. It was a deed. As the meeting participants recall, the hall applauded him standing. But some people put a cross on the career of the general: this was not forgiven, and he was already mentally written off as a reserve.
“The meeting ended at about half past nine in the evening,” Knyazev says. - Returned home upset, tired. I could not fall asleep for a long time, scrolling in memory all by the minute. And when, finally, disconnected, the bell rang. As if sank inside: really something on the atomka? He looked at his watch - the beginning of the third night. I picked up the phone. So it is - the responsible duty officer of the KGB reports: "Half an hour ago, an accident occurred on the Chernobyl NPP 4 block, a fire broke out ...". And began another countdown. He contacted the deputy chairman of the KGB Yuri Petrov, told him. Quickly got ready and went to work ...
On further events Knyazev tells in one of the sections of his book of memoirs. About how hot traces to the scene in Chernobyl Petrov left with a group of employees 6-th management. As counterintelligence took the blow of radiation and fire, about the likelihood of which they vainly warned before. About military friends - Viktor Klochko, Vladimir Slobodenyuk, Viktor Ukrainsky, Vladimir Khapaev and others. About the work of the head of the operational headquarters of the administration. On heroism and self-sacrifice, courage and bravery, recklessness and heartlessness.
“The huge price has been paid for this terrible catastrophe,” Yury Vasilyevich, who now heads the International Public Organization “Counterintelligence of Chernobyl”, does not hide the bitterness. “Many of our employees, unfortunately, are no longer alive - they were killed by radiation. Many lost their health, lost their ability to work, became disabled. How can we, support those who need help, take care of families, share memories with young people ...
The other day in one of the capital schools honored a participant in the elimination of the accident, Anatoly Andreevich Shumak. He was an operational driver, he worked, like many colleagues, in Chernobyl.
“Once, in the garage of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR, they decided who to send to the Zone next time, and it was time for the very young driver to go,” Knyazev says. - Shumak got up and said: “You shouldn’t send him there - you just got married recently, he and he have no children, I’ll go instead, I already have two - a son and a daughter”. And he went, although he was already there, grabbing his dose of radiation, and worked for this guy. These are the kind of people who were with us, how not to be proud of them ...
"UNDER THE FLY". And about Mukhu, Yury Vasilyevich (also, by the way, who received his dose in Chernobyl and repeatedly treated) tries not to think. Not because the former chairman is long gone, and about the dead - good or nothing.
One feels, still not able to forgive tyranny, stubbornness, stupidity. History subjunctive mood does not tolerate. But who knows - listen to the head of the KGB for the warnings of subordinates, do not disregard their pain and anxiety - and, perhaps, the tragedy of Chernobyl could have been avoided. Well, or its consequences would not be so large-scale, fatal for millions of people.
According to counterintelligence veterans, Stepan Mucha was an accidental person in the bodies. Notable for indecision, afraid to take responsibility. Understood it in the center. A year and a half before the disaster at the Chernobyl NPP they tried to replace him. Scherbitsky opposed. And the woeful chairman remained. They made fun of our officers in Moscow: “You work there constantly“ under the Fly ”, putting double meaning into words.
... 27 of April 1986 of Yury Knyazev was called by Fedor Shcherbak, a member of the KGB of the USSR KGB, who was a member of the government commission: “What was the information on the safety of Chernobyl NPP?” Having learned about the unanswered reports addressed to Mukha, he demanded that these materials be delivered urgently. Having studied, he stated: “The collegium has no complaints against you. The department performed its duties properly. ” But so what if the thunder, about the inexorable approach of which was warned, has already struck ...
The chief of the SBU archive, Svetlana Lyaskovskaya, on the “Today” request, which documents of the special services regarding the Chernobyl NPP accident are not declassified, said:
- Similar materials have not been received for a long time. This does not mean that they do not exist in nature. But everything that happened was included in the collection “From the archives of the military academy of civil defense — GPU — NKVD — KGB” published several years ago. Some documents were transferred to the Chernobyl Museum. We don’t have any other materials about these events.
Years later inside the reactor
As the nuclear scientists told us, right up to 1994, the walls of the sarcophagus were hot due to the fact that the reactor produced heat. “Then the shelter warmed less and less. If earlier we cooled the object, now it needs to be heated. After all, there are both electric cables and sensors, ”George Reichtman explained to us. According to him, people work on “Shelter” of 4 from 86. “Every day they spend inside. They control the operation of sensors, pumps. On the processes in the reactor says separately. "Under the influence of high temperature, the fuel mixed with the concrete and froze, but eventually turns into dust and becomes very dangerous," said Reichtman. On the new sarcophagus, he says that the shelter, although better than the former, is not ideal: “This will be a very expensive facility to operate.”