Valery Alekseevich Legasov: About the Disaster at the Chernobyl NPP

Valery A. Legasov.
Valery A. Legasov, born in 1936, became an academic at the age of 36. At the time of the Chernobyl accident, he was the chairman of the Department of Chemical Technology at the Chemistry Department of Moscow State University. Legasov was the man sent to the Chernobyl NPP to aid, try to gain control over the problem and to investigate the disaster; what caused it, what the consequenses could be and how it at all could happen. 

It may seem funny that a professor in chemistry was sent to the site of a nuclear disaster, but the truth is that Legasov was the only man present in Moscow at the time who was at all qualified to attend the emergency. Legasov,  by his wife being refered to as a strong and honest individual who wasn't afraid to speak his mind was the very person insisting on the evacuation of Pripyat, and obviously his voice was heard in this matter. Apparently this was not the case concerning some following issues - The Soviet regime allegedely forbade him to speak the truth, during the IAEA conference in Vienna (August 1986, where of course also Hans Blix attended), concerning the RBMK reactors and previous accidents and problems with said reactors throughout the Soviet Union.

After the immediate threats of the ChNPP's 4th reactor had settled and the Sarcophagus was built, Legasov would experience that his carreer had been damaged due to the being forced to hide the truth. For this he'd try to make up by writing several papers which were either censored nor not at all published. Eventually, the sense of failure became overwhelming for Valery Legasov, who committed suicide in 1988. On April 26th,  the 2nd anniversary of the disaster, Legasov's hanged body was found by his son returning from school. By then Legasov had been dead for approximately four hours. Valery Legasov became 51 years old.

The suicide of Legasov wasn't mentioned in any Soviet media.

Anatoly Dyatlov, the vice deputy chief engineer at the ChNPP, in charge of the experiment at reactor block 4 at the morning of the accident, was (as I've mentioned before) persecuted and sent to prison for criminal minsmanagement of potentially explosive enterprises. This man wrote a book entitled "Чернобыль - Как это было" ["Chernobyl - As it was"], where he told the story from his own point of view, blaming the construction of the RBMK reactors for what had happened. Dyatlov also wrote a letter to Hans Blix where he tried to explain the cause of the disaster, but not much more is currently know about this letter.

Valery Legasov didn't write any books, but (supposedly) the hours before his death, he made voice recordings covering five cassettes where he told about the Chernobyl affair. These tapes were found and eventually transcripted to written text. Some time ago, I found these documents. In spite of a long habit concerning the modern technology involving computers and so on, I still am not comfortable with reading from a screen so today I printed the 123 pages of Legasov's text set recordings. Leaving the copying service office, I started looking over the papers and found that it's actually understandable to me. I think that it will be possible for me to translate this. I am going to give it a try. As a matter of fact, I will start right away. 

5 kommentarer:

  1. Is this translated somewhere or posted online in russian? Thanks

  2. It's posted online but this far I've only found it in Russian. Translating this piece is very difficult so it will take yet some time for me.

  3. Do you have a link to the Russian document?

    1. Here: http://royallib.ru/read/legasov_valeriy/ob_avarii_na_chernobilskoy_aes.html#0

  4. It contains a lot of tricky terminology, but if you know Russian well, you'll be able to understand it.