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Soviets Fire Head of Atomic Safety Panel

July 18, 1986|Associated Press

MOSCOW — The Kremlin removed the head of the state atomic safety committee today, nearly three months after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and a news weekly said the accident has forced a review of atomic power policy.

The magazine New Times indicated that radiation still is leaking in small amounts from the crippled Chernobyl reactor, about 80 miles north of Kiev in the Soviet Ukraine.

In a one-sentence announcement, Tass press agency said the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet had "released from his duties" Yevgeny V. Kulov, 57, chief of the State Committee for Safety in the Atomic Power Industry since 1983.

No Reason Given

It gave no reason for the move and did not list any new assignment, indicating that he was fired. It did not mention the Chernobyl accident or say who was replacing Kulov.

He is the first national atomic energy official to be removed from office since the April 26 chemical explosion and fire at the plant's No. 4 reactor, which spewed radioactivity over much of Europe.

The plant director and several other local officials have been fired or thrown out of the Communist Party because of alleged incompetence during the accident.

The New Times article did not shed any new light on what caused the disaster, which it called "the most serious one in the history of nuclear power engineering."

It also did not update the official casualty figure of 26 dead.

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