Wiktor Petrówtsch Bryuchanow
Viktor Petrowytsch Bryukhanov (Ukrainian Віктор Петрович Брюханов; born December 1, 1935 in Tashkent; † October 13, 2021 in Ukraine) was the construction manager of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its director from 1970 to 1986.
Viktor Bryukhanov was born on December 1, 1935 in the city of Tashkent in the Uzbek SSR as the eldest son of four children. His father worked as a glazier and his mother was a cleaning lady. He was the only son in the family who received a college education. From 1959 he studied electrical engineering at the energy department of the Tashkent Polytechnic. After graduating, he was offered a position at the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. In the following years he worked at the thermal power station in Angren in the following positions: ventilator installer, driver of feed pumps, turbine assistant, turbine driver, chief turbine workshop engineer, shift supervisor and finally as workshop manager.
In 1966 he was invited to work at the Slovyansk thermal power station. He began as a senior foreman and rose to head of the workshop and then to assistant chief engineer. In 1970 he resigned to build a nuclear power plant in Ukraine. From 1966 he was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Between 1970 and 1986, he was repeatedly elected a member of the regional district office of the Kiev, Chernobyl and Pripyat City Committee. Bryukhanov met his wife Valentyna at the Angren power plant. Walentyna was a turbine engineer's assistant and Bryukhanov was an intern fresh from university.
Construction of the Chernobyl power plant
In 1970, Energy Minister Bryukhanov offered a new contract - the construction of a nuclear power plant consisting of four RBMK reactors on the banks of the Pripyat in Ukraine. Initially, Bryukhanov proposed the construction of pressurized water reactors, but this decision met with opposition as safety and economic reasons were given for the construction of RBMK reactors, which was eventually carried out. With almost 400 million rubles, Bryukhanov was responsible for building the reactors from the start.
Deadlines were missed during construction due to tight schedules, lack of construction machinery and faulty materials. Three years after taking on the role of director, the plant was not yet finished, whereupon he offered to resign, but this was refused in July 1972 by his supervisor appointed by the party at the Ministry of Energy. On August 1, 1977, two years later than planned and more than seven years after the planning and construction of the plant, the first reactor at the Chernobyl power plant went into operation. On September 27 of the same year at 8:10 p.m. Ukraine's first nuclear power ran into the Soviet power grid via 110 and 330 kilovolt lines.
Bryukhanov ignored the radioactive leak that occurred on September 9, 1982 when steam rose through a vent stack shared by reactors 1 and 2, indicating at least one broken pipe. The radioactive contamination had spread fourteen kilometers from the facility and reached Pripyat. Bryukhanov also postponed an outstanding time-consuming safety test for Reactor 4 in order to meet the government-mandated date of commissioning of December 31, 1983. By 1984, all four reactors of the Chernobyl Vladimir Ilyich Lenin power plant were in operation.
On April 26, 1986, the head of the chemistry department called Bryukhanov to report an incident on the ward. Bryukhanov tried to contact the shift supervisor, but there was no answer in the fourth reactor block. He ordered all authorities to meet in the bunker at the headquarters of the civil defense. In a bus that drove past the fourth reactor block, Bryukhanov discovered