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- C lan Interest
controls are located outside its territory. Neither does Ukraine intend to
acquire this capability.
The realistic deadline for transferring the nuclear weapons from the terri
tory o f Ukraine to be dismantled and destroyed will be decided by a num
ber o f factors and, not the least o f which will be, the conclusion o f appro
priate Ukrainian-Russian agreements and the signing o f treaties, facilitating
the liquidation o f the nuclear weapons located in Ukraine.
Even though the operational control o f the strategic forces on the territory
o f Ukraine is in the hands o f the Unified Command o f the Strategic Forces
o f the CIS, the administrative control was given to the Ministry o f Defence of
Ukraine. This does not contradict the idea o f a single, secure control over
the nuclear weapons. Nothing in the concept o f administrative control over
the strategic nuclear forces located on the territory o f Ukraine presumes an
intention to acquire direct control over the nuclear weapons.
Ukraine, in principle, cannot agree to the deployment o f foreign troops
on its territory, which is implicit in the Russian Federation’s announced juris
dictional control over the nuclear weapons located in Ukraine.
The dismantling o f only a single element o f the major components o f the
rockets located on the territory o f Ukraine, without the parallel dismantling
o f the entire rocket, will not guarantee the physical and ecological security
o f the launch facilities. All procedures to dispose o f nuclear weapons must
be carried out in a precise manner, taking into account legal, technical,
financial, organisational and other considerations.
Therefore, Ukraine is making a serious and responsible attempt to resolve
the complex problems associated with the presence o f nuclear weapons on
her territory, and is guided by treaties already in force, without violating any
one o f them.
Ukraine welcomes Russia’s readiness to provide her with additional secu
rity guarantees. Presently, it is important to determine the appropriate form,
timeframe, level and extent o f these guarantees. W e welcom e with pleasure
Russia’s readiness to resolve the question o f compensation for the nuclear
material, which is the property o f Ukraine. W e assume that this readiness
also includes the components o f the tactical nuclear weapons which had
already been transferred [to Russia].
Ukraine regards the matter o f guaranteeing the security o f nuclear
weapons to be extremely important and has always striven to create all
essential circumstances for this and is eager to cooperate with the Russian
side in this matter.
Ukraine appeals to the Russian side to be more constructive and realistic
in its positions during the bilateral negotiations to solve this question. W e
are interested in having all complex questions o f Ukrainian-Russian cooper
ation in liquidating nuclear weapons located in Ukraine decided without
needless polemics and mutual accusations. The language o f ultimatums and
pressure is unacceptable in relationships between states.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE’S SECRET
The author o f this article, Aila Yaroshinska, a journalist from Zhytomyr, was one of
the first members o f her profession to attempt to bring to public attention the truth
about the accident at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station in 1986. At first editors
refused to publish her findings and she was forced to distribute them in samvydav.
Her efforts, however, w on her considerable popular support, and in the "partially
democratic” elections o f 1988, she was elected to the Supreme Soviet o f the USSR.
Serving as a member o f the Ecology and Glasnost Committees o f the Supreme Soviet,
she continued to campaign for the publication o f the full truth about the accident. But her
efforts were consistently blocked by hard-liners and bureaucrats, and even after the failure
o f the August 1991 coup, she was unable to copy many o f the relevant documents.
(D uring the coup itself, incidentally, she was in London. W hen she returned
home, she discovered that her name was at the top o f one o f the local "internment
lists” drawn up by the plotters!)
The break-up o f the Soviet Union meant the end o f her Parliamentary mandate.
Yaroshinska, however, decided to stay on for the time being in M oscow and to con
tinue her research there into the Chornobyl cover-up.
Her efforts to expose the truth about Chornobyl w on her, in 1992, the Right
Livelihood Award, the environmentalists’ equivalent o f the Nobel Prize, which is pre
sented in Stockholm, by the King o f Sweden, on 11 December, the day after the
Nobel Prize ceremony.
The article which follows was first published, in Russian, in the M oscow newspaper
Izvestiya, in April o f this year, and is translated here at the author’s suggestion — Ed.
Even quite recently, it seemed that almost everything was now known
about the Chornobyl accident, especially after the declassification of the doc
uments o f the executive group o f the Politburo o f the CC CPSU headed by
Nikolay Ryzhkov. More precise measurements were made o f the extent o f
the radioactive contamination not only in the republics o f the former Soviet
Union, but also in neighbouring countries. There were presentations even in
Bulgaria. Those who had been found guilty o f causing the explosion — the
Director o f the Chornobyl NPS, Viktor Bryukhanov, and his deputy, Anatoliy
Dyatlov, were released from prison. Stanislau Suskievic made the terrible fig
ures o f cancer-type illnesses in Belarus a matter o f public knowledge. The
criminal recipes o f the CC CPSU for the consumption o f radioactive meat and
milk became known to all the world. Those who had kept silent about the
scale and consequences o f the explosion had by now w on not only the
Order o f Lenin, but also international prizes. (Like the former Chairman o f
the USSR State Commission for Hydro-Meteorology, Yuriy Izrael.)
The official data on the participation o f the army in the clean-up were reduced
by many times. Even in the six months o f 1986, around 100,000 officers and men
received doses o f radiation. Still one more lie has “emerged” here — about the
new duty settlement for the Chornobyl power workers — Zelenyi Mys.
DOCUMENTS & REPORTS
In my archives there are the memoranda o f the late General Akhromeyev,
an advisor o f President Gorbachev addressed to the executive group o f the
Politburo. The first says that it is possible to build the duty settlement for the
pow er workers in the place proposed. The second, written some time later,
states the complete opposite. Nevertheless, they built it. Just like Slavutych
— on caesium [contaminated] land.
Thus, it seemed, the whole lie trumpeted by the powers-that-were had
been exposed. After all, seven whole years had gone by. But now, new,
top-secret documents have emerged - records o f meetings o f the Politburo
o f the CC CPSU, with the note “file copy”. One o f these sets o f minutes —
from 3 July 1986, throws light on the fact that for decades there was a
“taboo subject” not only for journalists and the general public, but even for
“uninitiated scholars”: the safety o f nuclear reactors. And not only the
RBMK-1000 (Chornobyl type) o f unhappy memory, but all the rest which up
to the present day are being operated in Russia and in other states which
have arisen from the ashes o f the USSR and in its former “brothers”.
C lan Interest
After the first Congress o f People’s Deputies o f the USSR a group o f par
liamentarians, myself included, approached the Procurator General o f the
USSR, Aleksandr Sukharev, demanding that he initiate a criminal prosecution
against those responsible people w ho had prevented glasnost about the
consequences o f the accident, w ho deliberately concealed information, and
doom ing the inhabitants o f the radioactive contamination zone to quiet
extinction. In Decem ber 1989, w e received an answer from the Deputy
Procurator General o f the USSR, V. Andreyev. This was a standard letter in
which it was stated that the directors o f the Chornobyl NPS had been prose
cuted for criminal responsibility. (As if w e didn’t know!) It was also stated in
the letter that the criminal prosecution dealing with the design o f the RBMK
reactor, which had been referred to a separate process, had been “terminat
ed ”, since the accident was the result o f the numerous breaches o f the oper
ational safety rules for reactors... .
At the end o f 1990, the Chornobyl commission o f the Supreme Soviet o f the
USSR shook off the radioactive dust (the “case” is still in fact “hot” to this day) and
promulgated the curious testimony o f the experts. I shall cite only one example.
Did the design o f the reactor have any effect on the development o f the
accident? The answer was: yes it did. This was also indicated in the report o f
the government commission: “The development o f the accident which led to
the destruction o f the reactor was due to deficiencies in the reactor design...
The immediate primary cause o f the initial growth o f reactivity was the pen
etration o f boiling water into the core... In this initial growth o f radioactivity
a design fault o f the reactor was revealed: the positive void coefficient, pro
duced by the structure o f the core”.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
The original build-up o f reactivity was not suppressed at the start by the
motion o f the CDS (control and damping system — A. Y a.) rods after the
accident protection system came into operation. This revealed a second fault
i.n the reactor design — the unsatisfactory design o f the CDS rods.
And this whole case on the design o f the RBMK-1000 reactor was closed.
This meant that the entire guilt o f the accident fell exclusively on the [power
station] staff. The court ruled that the reactor was, as it were, outside its
jurisdiction, and did not take cognizance o f important documents relating to
its design which, both before and after the accident, w ere more than
enough to be "not noticed”.
H a lf a year b e fo re the accident at the C hornobyl NPS, Aleksandr
Yadrikhinski, a specialist from the Kursk nuclear power station, which also
uses RBMK-1000 reactors, sent a letter to the State N uclear Energy
Inspectorate o f the USSR, warning about the danger o f these reactors. He
wrote o f the necessity o f independent expert surveys, and the redesigning
o f the very CDS (!) which at Chornobyl became one o f the causes of the
explosion. N o one at the “centre” took the warning seriously.
After the accident, on 1 May 1986, V.P. Volkov, head o f the Group for
Nuclear P o w e r Station reliability and safety, sent the Director o f the
Kurchatov Nuclear Energy Institute a memorandum which.said that the acci
dent “was caused not by the action o f the station staff but by the design o f
the core and an incorrect understanding o f the processes o f neutron physics
taking place in that core”. On 9 May, he sent the same letter to the govern
ment o f the country.
On 5 May 1986 the Inter-Departmental Commission drew attention to the
structural defects o f the RBMK-1000 reactor.
At approximately the same time, a group o f specialists from the Ministry
o f Energy o f the USSR drew up an addendum to the statement o f the inves
tigation into the accident, noting the design faults o f the reactor.
On 2 and 17 June 1986, there were meetings o f the Inter-Departmental
Scientific and Technical Council chaired by Anatoliy Aleksandrov, at which
the structural defects o f the reactor were also demonstrated.
As they say, where do w e go from here?
But none o f these arguments produced any result. Practically speaking, all
the causes o f the accident were attributed exclusively to staff errors. This
stance became the official stance o f the Soviet government in the interna
tional arena. First and foremost at the IAEA.
In the report o f the Kurchatov Nuclear Energy Institute, which was after
wards finalised as a paper for the IAEA, it was stated that the “initial cause
o f the accident was an extremely unlikely combination o f breaches o f the
operating rules permitted by the staff o f the power unit, in the presence o f
which faults in the design o f the reactor and the CDS rods became evident”.
The words which I have put in quotation marks are missing from the official
papers presented by the USSR to the IAEA expert meetings in 1986 and
DOCUMENTS & REPORTS
1987. As they say, there is truth for internal consumption and truth for
Well, could it have been otherwise? Could the “expert” on the RBMK
reactor, Academician Aleksandrov, have spoken out against the “father" of
the RBMK reactor, Academician Aleksandrov?
On 17 May 1989, Literatum aya Gazeta published some material from the
political commentator Igor Belyaev, entitled “Is this really the way?”. His
interviewee, V. Bobrov, who was employed as head o f the Laboratory of
State Expert Appraisal o f Inventions o f the Central Scientific Research
Institute o f Atomic Information, spoke about why the RBMK-1000 had not
been registered as an invention. The authors o f the application were the
then D irector o f the Nuclear Energy Institute, A cadem ician A natoliy
Aleksandrov, and other scientists from the institute. “In 1967”, Bobrov said,
“I sent back the first version o f the application (one and half pages o f type
script without the formulae o f the invention or sketches) to the authors, for
redrafting”. After that, something incredible began. The redrafted application
for the RBMK, dated 6.10.67, was still awaiting consideration, when barely a
month later, on 10 N ovem ber 1967, Academician Anatoliy Aleksandrov
announced in Pravda (in an article entitled “October and Physics”) “that
Soviet scientists had succeeded in solving the problem o f increasing the
cost-effectiveness o f nuclear power stations”. One o f the reasons that the
design was not recognised as an invention was the absence o f any industrial
applicability o f the means o f lowering the cost o f electric power by using
the RBMK reactor with its antediluvian efficiency, in all, around 30 %. It is
precisely for this reason that the applicant has disputed the refusal, and
demanded that his “invention” (the RBMK-1000 reactor — A. Y a .) be accept
ed, after its introduction in force into nuclear power engineering in 1973”.
I recall that this “introduction” began with the Leningrad NPS, where acci
dents periodically occur. No one could stop Aleksandrov and his colleagues
on the road to Chornobyl, not even the refusal o f the State Patent experts to
recognise the “leading technical level” o f his reactor as an [officially regis
tered] Soviet invention. The national economy o f the country was doomed:
for the next Five Year Plan (1971-75) two thirds o f the planned nuclear
pow er station capacity would use precisely these reactors.
Such were the first causes o f the universal lie about the special reliability
o f these reactors.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
"The S afety of R e a cto rs M ust Be G uaran teed By
P h y s ic s and Not By Organisational/Technical M ea su re s”
This phrase was let drop in the polemics with Academician Aleksandrov
by the head o f the State Nuclear Power Inspectorate, E. Kulov, w ho was
invited to a session o f the Politburo o f the CPSU.
T o p Secret. Only one copy (W orking Record).
Session o f the Politburo o f the CC CPSU, 3 July 1986.
Chair: Comrade M.S. Gorbachev,
Present: Comrades G.A. Aliev, V.I. Vorotnikov, A.A. Gromyko, L.N. Zaikov, E.K.
Ligachev, N.I. Ryzhkov, M.S. Solomentsev, V.V. Shcherbytskyi, P.N. Demichev,
V.I. Dolgikh, N.N. Slyunkov, S.L. Sokolov, A.P. Biryukova, A.F. Dobrynin, V.P.
Nikonov, I.V. Kapitonov.
I. Report o f the government commission on the investigation o f the causes o f
the accident at the Chornobyl NPS, 26 April 1986.
GORBACHEV: ( . . . ) Comrade Shcherbina has the floor.
SHCHERBINA, B.E. (Deputy Chairman o f the Council o f Ministers o f the USSR)
... The accident occurred as a result o f gross infringements o f the technical
rules by the staff on duty, associated with serious defects in the reactor design.
But these causes w ere not o f comparable significance. The actual event o f the
accident was, in the opinion o f the Commission, an error o f the staff on duty” .
[As w e can see, the same old song. But then, as if to refute what he had
just said, the rapporteur continued:]
Considering the operational reliability o f the RBMK reactor, the group o f
experts attached to the Commission came to the conclusion that its characteris
tics did not coincide with contemporary safety requirements. In their summing
up, it was stated that if an expert assessment were made using international
standards, the reactor w ould be “ostracised”. RBMK reactors are potentially dan
( . . . ) It appears that the constantly proclaimed alleged high safety level o f
nuclear pow er stations had its effect on everyone (. . . ) The difficult decision has
to be taken to stop the construction o f new nuclear pow er stations with RBMK
Since 1983, the Collegium o f the Ministry [o f power engineering and electrifica
tion — A. Ya.] has not once considered any questions connected with nuclear
pow er station safety.
( . . . ) During the Eleventh Five Year Plan there w ere 1,042 em ergency shut
downs o f the pow er blocks at pow er stations, including 381 at nuclear power
stations with RBMK reactors. At the Chornobyl NPS there w ere 104 such inci
dents, for 35 o f which the staff were to blame” .
DOCUMENTS & REPORTS
After the report o f the Chairman o f the Commission, there was a “shop-
floor analysis” o f the reliability o f the reactor. This threw light on some sur
prising and little-known secrets o f the Soviet reactor “court”.
GORBACHEV. The Commission has found out w hy a reactor which was not
properly ready got put into industrial production. In the USA, they decided
against this type o f reactor. Isn’t that so, Comrade Legasov?
LEGASOV. In the USA, they haven’t developed and do not use this type o f reac
tor in pow er engineering.
GORBACHEV. The reactor was put into industrial production, and the theoreti
cal research was not continued... Isn’t it just the case that the voluntarism o f
certain individuals drags the country into w ild adventures? (. . . ) W h o introduced
the proposal to locate nuclear pow er stations around cities? W hose recommen
dation? (. . . ) And, by the way, after their accident in 1979, the Americans did not
start building any new nuclear pow er stations.
SHCHERBINA. It seemed that the safety question had been solved. They said
this in a publication o f the Kurchatov Institute, which Legasov helped pre
GORBACHEV. H ow many accidents were there?
BRYUKHANOV. [Director o f the Chornobyl NPS — A. Ya.] There w ere one or
tw o accidents a year... W e did not know that in 1975 something similar had
happened at the Leningrad NPS.
GORBACHEV. There w ere 104 accidents. W ho was responsible?... What can
you say about the RBMK reactor?
MESHKOV (first deputy Minister o f Medium Machine-building [the cover name
for the nuclear equipment industry — Ed.]). The reactor was tested. Only there
was no dome. [We remember that, don’t w e, reader? — A. Ya.]. I f the rules
w ere strictly observed, it was safe.
GORBACHEV. Then w hy did you sign a document which said that production
had to be stopped? ( . . . ) You amaze me. You all say that this reactor was unreli
able, that running it could lead to danger, and here you are all defending the
honour o f the uniform.
LIGACHEV. There is a world nuclear engineering industry. Why did you g o out
and build a reactor o f a different type?
GORBACHEV. It [the reactor — A. Ya.] was only minimally studied. That’s right,
isn’t it, Comrade Legasov?
LEGASOV. Yes, that’s right.
GORBACHEV. V.A. Sidorenko [one o f the heads o f the State Nuclear Safety
Inspectorate o f the USSR — A. Ya.] writes that even after the design has been
improved, the RBMK will not be up to contemporary international require
SHASHAKIN [deputy Minister o f Power Engineering and Electrification o f the
USSR], The physics o f the reactor determined the scale o f the accident. People
did not know that the reactor could run away in this situation. There was no
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