Stories of the Liquidators (Part-2)

Yuri Nikolaevich Samoilenko

Yuri Nikolaevich Samoilenko. Born on October 8, 1949 in the city of Chelyabinsk. In 1968 he entered the Chelyabinsk Polytechnic Institute at the faculty of DPA (engines, devices, automatic machines.) Which he graduated in 1973, having received the qualification of mechanical engineer. After graduating from the Snezhinsk Institute of Physics and Technology, he received the specialty of a nuclear physicist and worked as an engineer at the Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant.


On May 29, 1986, I was appointed deputy chief engineer of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant for Decontamination. At that time, the main task was to decontaminate the "zone with special radiation hazard." This zone is the roof of the engine room of the 3rd power unit. The levels of radioactive fields in those areas were quite high and amounted to 200, 300, 500 x-rays per hour, and in places the radiation power was several thousand x-rays or more. In such harsh radiation conditions on the roof, it was not only working on the third power unit, but also being in it for a short time was dangerous. And this block had to be prepared for commissioning.

In order not to expose the operating personnel to radiation, the Government Commission then decided that it was necessary to clean the roof of the engine room from radioactive materials. We then decided to use robots for decontamination, but they could not cope with their task, because they got stuck in a bitumen heated from heat and radiation, the electronics failed, and the station staff had to go out and pull this equipment from the roof. Then NIKIMT proposed a very original method of cleaning using glue grabs, which are thrown onto the roof by taps, and then removed by taps with radioactive materials adhered to the glue grips. Unfortunately, the cranes ("Demagi") were occupied in the construction of the Shelter; they refused to allocate a crane for these purposes. Then the "Velcro" was decided to deliver to the roof using helicopters, and with their help and remove. But helicopters raised a lot of dust. After large clusters of debris were removed, their flights were prohibited.

Due to the fact that the schedule for the start-up of the 3rd block was disrupted, the Government Commission decided to use the military personnel of the Ministry of Defense. I, as now, remember that I tried to call all possible authorities in order to achieve the cancellation of this decision, but the decision has already been made and people went on the roof to the roof.

The organization of work in the "zone of special radiation hazard" was then assigned to me. Probably, everyone already knows how soldiers worked. I also often had to go out with them on the roof to draw up a map for the execution of work. It is unfortunate that the number of soldiers who were driven through the roof. I am sure that this was a bad way out. Just nobody wanted to think about people. They were called biorobots. How many are alive today? Also unknown. This, as a rule, is information in the Ministry of Defense and is not available to us.

Now, of course, I have to remember at least approximate figures, and I could be wrong, but from about April 86 to the end of 86, there were about 500,000 people in the zone. This is an almost correct figure. In the special zone from June to September 86 there were up to 10,000 people who took part in the liquidation. These were mainly military personnel. A special area was called the territory of the station itself. They did not change every day, who repeatedly went into the danger zone. They worked on the basis of an emergency radiation dose of 25 BER. That is, you can already imagine what kind of blow these people received in their health over this period of time. When speculations are being made on the figures of several thousand victims of exposure, then I can give you the following example. Recall the summer of 86. Almost everyone who was then in Chernobyl had a severe cough. What was it? It was a direct effect of ruthenium, which affected the lungs, bronchi, and upper respiratory tract. Therefore, almost all liquidators have such a concept as chronic bronchitis. A figure of 4-5 thousand people affected by radiation in Ukraine, at least all of these pseudo-democrats have begun to speculate successfully. Of course, this is a huge burden for the state. All these Chernobyl compensations, payments ... Especially when the state does not have money, then there will immediately be people who will show the way for these payments. Just imagine that for today those who suffered are for example 3 million. Of these, only about 4-5 thousand are those who are really entitled to compensation. But this is far from the case. I gave you an example of a cough with the same.


Now I’ll try to recall operatively, so to speak. All those soldiers who worked in a special zone on the territory of the station, as I said, are up to 10 thousand people and this is only according to our programs. I don’t know how many people took part in the construction of the sarcophagus itself. All military personnel worked anyway in dirty territories. For example, in our country, a zone with levels of 2 X-rays per hour was considered a deactivated zone! You can imagine? 2 x-rays! Then we all measured in x-rays. It's all in micro X-rays right now. That is, with the current norm of 30 micro X-rays per hour, the deactivated zones at that time were at a level of 2 million micro X-rays per hour.

Many people said that the rest of the liquidator after Chernobyl suffered from psycho-emotional impact. How to separate it? For example, a person suffers from cardiovascular diseases. This is a consequence of the psycho-emotional impact. In the tense atmosphere in which we had to work, the state was right up to the crunch in the bones. I had to work from morning to night. The leaders needed an immediate solution, the tasks were carried out clearly, quickly, harmoniously. As a rule, it was not possible to fall asleep. The time allotted for sleep is 5-6 hours. It was simply lacking. How now to separate the very psycho-emotional impact from the effects of radiation on the human body? 25 BER then it was only external exposure. And who then measured the internal intake of radionuclides in the body of the same ruthenium? It was impossible to measure it. SICH (human radiation counter) did not work then. There, the background was general for so large that the SICH would simply show inaccurate data with a huge error. Well, that's about how we did. Got your outer dose - multiply it by two. This will be your real dose. For example, I received 25 BER, we multiply and, as a result, all 50 come out. Due to the complexity of the work that had to be done at the station then, people often went to the task more than the prescribed number of times, often did not take drives with them, because they knew that they will then be taken out and someone else, a newcomer, will have to do this difficult and deadly job. Therefore, it is not necessary to say that people there received their prescribed doses. Received, but many times higher.


After the completion of roof decontamination, Samoilenko tooks the position of Director General of Spetsatom Production Association.

By decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated December 24, 1986 “For courageous and selfless work shown during the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident and elimination of its consequences” Yuri Nikolayevich Samoilenko was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor with the award of the Order of Lenin and the Gold Medal “Hammer and Sickle” . He never puts it on.

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