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Chernobyl Director, Chief Engineer Fired, Pravda Says

June 16, 1986|From Times Wire Services

MOSCOW — The director and chief engineer of the Chernobyl power plant were fired for acting irresponsibly during the April 26 nuclear accident, and some plant workers who fled are still "on the run," the Communist Party daily Pravda said Sunday.

Pravda indicated that other senior officials may also have been dismissed. It criticized five senior managers, the head of the plant's Komsomol youth organization and the plant's trade union leader.

Pravda did not say if the management shortcomings could have caused or contributed to the accident at the plant in the Ukraine about 60 miles north of Kiev. The cause of the explosion and fire has not been disclosed.

At least 26 people died--all but two of them from radiation sickness--and hundreds were hospitalized. More than 100,000 people were evacuated from contaminated areas in the Ukraine and Byelorussia, and a massive cleanup is under way.

'Lack of Control'

Pravda, following Soviet custom of usually using only initials in place of given names, said, "The former director of the nuclear power station V. Bryukhanov and senior engineer N. Fomin in the difficult situation of the accident failed to provide correct, firm leadership and the necessary discipline, and showed irresponsibility and lack of control.

"They could not give an evaluation of what was happening or take the cardinal measures for organizing accurate work for all sections for liquidation of the accident's consequences," the newspaper said.

"Because of these shortcomings in organization and training, to this day a portion of the workers of the nuclear power station can be found 'on the run.' Indeed, among them are shift supervisors and senior operators."

The report did not explain what was meant by "on the run." However, previous reports have said that some Communist Party and youth league members fled the area instead of responding to the emergency.

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