When the Devil Gets Old...

V. Bryukhanov and N. Fomin during trial in 1986.
Like Anatoly Dyatlov, Viktor Petrovich Bryukanov - the former director of the Chernobyl NPP was persecuted and convicted due to actions and decisions made during the preceeding hours as well as the critical period of the disaster.  On the 3rd of July in 1986, the Politbyuro decided to sentence Bryukhanov to 10 years of imprisonment for "serious errors and shortcomings in the work that lead to the accident with severe consequences." Bryukhanov was also expelled from the communist party as to further underline the degree of seriousness. This as an alternative to the threatening death sentence.

Having received large doses of radiation (approximately 250 REM), Viktor Bryukhanov was suffering from radiation sickness and due to bad health, he was released in 1991, having served five years of his sentence. While Anatoly Dyatlov consistently blamed the accident on the reactors, Bryukhanov never doubted the safety of the reactors and Soviet Nuclear Power Plants, and would keep on insisting that the plant remained open, even 14 years after the disaster [The last of the ChNPP reactors were taken out of operation in 2000].

In 1992, Bryukhanov was, ironically enough, hired as a consultant by the Ukrainian energy company Ukrinterenergo where he appears to have remained until retirement. 

Today, at the age of 75, Viktor Bryukhanov [who along with with Anatoly Dyatlov, Aleksandr Akimov and Leonid Toptunov remains one of the four most rumored Chernobyl scapegoats] still claims that there was nothing wrong with the reactors - the error according to Bryukhanov was simply in the forth block. However he does no longer  believe that the personnel at the 4th reactor block was responsible for  what happened on the morning of the 26th of April 1986. Instead, in an interview with the Kiev Weekly [April 2011] he praises the courage of the employees by the following words:

"There were no cowards or dodgers. All were dedicated to the plant, loved it and defended it. Moreover, they knew how to conduct themselves and where not to go... Of course, there were heroic moments. I recall how the assistant manager of the electrical workshop Oleksandr Lelechenko, understanding it was dangerous to leave the hydrogen generator, performed the necessary work to displace it and spent long hours in conditions of high levels of radiation. As a result, he took in a huge dose of radiation and ended up dying in a hospital in Moscow."
Generally Bryukhanov's orignial points of view haven't changed much over the years but he carefully avoids making definite statements, but still claims that the real truth about Chernobyl will never be learnt because "they are still concealing it" and he doesn't believe that the disaster has taught anyone anything. 

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