Chernobyl: Anatoly Dyatlov's book(English)

Abdallah

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Here is a mostly Google translated copy of Chernobyl: How it was, from Deputy Chief Engineer Anatoly Dyatlov, who has been villainized in the recent HBO series. You might find some surprises in it.
I hope this is legal. If it isn't, please alert me and I will take it down.

EDIT: Updated with this translation, credits of u/Anger15AGift
 

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Urwumpe

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If its illegal, its at least contained in my nuclear electronic library folder. Thank you. ;)
 

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I see Super User has an interest in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster safety test as well.
 
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Urwumpe

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I see Super User has an interest in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster[\s] safety test, too


Please pronounce "Certain Super User" with the right amount of cynicism. :lol: After somebody complained about the behaviour of "certain Super Users", I really had to use this description, despite having the astronautics skills of Frank Drebin.

Of course I have interest, I live on top of the nuclear toilet of Germany. And a comrade at the German army was a true Homer...he was reactor driver before going to the army, he had his office decorated with pictures of "his" reactor (The other BER - Berlin experimental reactor).

I especially like researching the human factor of accidents and most western versions of the accident really lack something there. They focus too much on the flawed reactor design and too little on the things that already went wrong the day before the accident. Or simplify it to a second Nedellin disaster. Which is sad, because similar slowly creeping violations of safety protocols could easily happen in any other reactor in the world. There was never one single decision to enter an unsafe reactor regime. Just a chain of smaller decisions, each resulting in one layer of safety getting stripped from the experiment.

Though that does not explain why "All is fine" was reported to Moscow when the reactor was already burning and throwing chunks of burning graphite into the landscape, hours after the explosions.
 

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Updated with human translation from u/Anger15AGift :thumbsup:. Not exactly a user with all the free time needed, so has translated the first 5 chapters.

It's important to read, as the Google translation contained some pretty serious errors(For example Dyatlov seems to call Dr. Gale "disinterested" whereas he actually says "selfless")
 

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Updated with human translation from u/Anger15AGift :thumbsup:. Not exactly a user with all the free time needed, so has translated the first 5 chapters.

It's important to read, as the Google translation contained some pretty serious errors(For example Dyatlov seems to call Dr. Gale "disinterested" whereas he actually says "selfless")

Its always a good idea to have a Russian dictionary and some knowlegde of Russian grammar available when using any translation tool for it. They ALL fail the grammar, despite it being one of the more logical features of the language.
 

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Its always a good idea to have a Russian dictionary and some knowlegde of Russian grammar available when using any translation tool for it. They ALL fail the grammar, despite it being one of the more logical features of the language.

There is also some need to understand that there are deep cultural differences between the west (particularly the U.S.) and how things were in the Soviet Union. The HBO Chernobyl mini-series paints Dyatlov as a head-strong pompous villain to U.S. audiences, ignoring that the centralized hierarchical leadership style was (and still is) a typical thing in the former USSR countries. There was a lot of drama and emotion painted into the interactions of Dyatlov and the junior engineers of the plant where the reality was that Dyatlov was expected to direct the operation with a firm hand and the junior engineers were expected to follow those directions. That is an interaction that doesn't translate well with U.S. audiences unfamiliar with that dynamic.
 

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That is an interaction that doesn't translate well with U.S. audiences unfamiliar with that dynamic.

But some aspects should still translate well, for example the tendency of managers to report less issues to their superiors, than their subordinates did report to them.



Also, the communication law of only 20% of the information intended to be communicated arriving at the intended audience is much more pronouced in communist style structures.
 

Thunder Chicken

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But some aspects should still translate well, for example the tendency of managers to report less issues to their superiors, than their subordinates did report to them.

Also, the communication law of only 20% of the information intended to be communicated arriving at the intended audience is much more pronouced in communist style structures.

It really depends on the environment. The rigid superior-subordinate culture that is common in communist style structures really is only seen in our military, and even then it is usually limited to do-or-die combat situations. Outside of that there is generally more hope and expectation of some basic autonomy from subordinates. A U.S. civilian generally would not understand the concept of a superior issuing strict orders to a subordinate as being a normal, unemotional thing, especially in a non-military context. Making Dyatlov as something of a ego-tripping jerk in the series probably was an artifice to simplify the story-telling, to the detriment of the truth of the situation.



I agree that bringing bad news to your boss, or simply conveying information, can be challenging in any environment, especially stressful ones. Those aspects would translate easily.
 

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One thing that fires me up is how everybody - including HBO (from what I hear - didn't dare watch the show) seems to think Dyatlov hated his staff and wanted to blame them for the disaster. Quite the opposite - "I must say: April 26, 1986, everyone at the unit performed their tasks on the first word, no excuses. Not once did I have to repeat an order. What they could do, they saw as a necessity and did it themselves. " "On giving dues to the professional, courageous, on the brink of self-sacrifice, work of the personnel after the accident, it is impossible to speak." "It is necessary to fulfill my duty to my lost (It is correct to say killed) colleagues." "I don’t want to condemn people, but to desecrate of others, is barbaric. No one was forced to wear flowers, but you can’t just throw out the ones others brought." - this is how he spoke of them.
 

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The HBO Chernobyl mini-series paints Dyatlov as a head-strong pompous villain to U.S. audiences, ignoring that the centralized hierarchical leadership style was (and still is) a typical thing in the former USSR countries.
I've not seen the show, but he thing is, the bolded bit is seen as an indictment of Soviet society in and if itself. For many Americans, anyone in a position of power in the Soviet Union who didn't behave in such a way as to get himself shot was a villain automatically (other than Gorbachev, who is seen as having dismantled the whole thing and having been lucky enough not to be deposed and shot for trying).
 

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Making Dyatlov as something of a ego-tripping jerk in the series probably was an artifice to simplify the story-telling, to the detriment of the truth of the situation.

After seeing some more snippets of the series, I can't say that he was really displayed as ego-tripping jerk. Still have to see the full series, but it rather makes the impression of him trying to keep face, despite quickly doubting that his model of the world is correct. He just reacts like many humans and defends his model of the world against outside attacks.



In Chernobyl, he rather acts like the archetypical project manager under high pressure initially. No impediments, get the work done, we'll clean up and document the mess afterwards. And don't even start to think about bureaucracy, there is enough time for it afterwards.



He was displayed as more of a jerk in an documentary, but they also correctly noted one aspect rather unknown in the western world there: Dyatlov was involved in a previous reactor accident, in this case for submarines, which him getting a serious radiation dose. His son died of leukamya shortly after the accident. He was suspected to be responsible for the accident, but nobody was able to prove it.



He got the post at Chernobyl really as some sort of second chance. If you know this past accident, his decisions after the explosion make a lot more sense. How would you feel being in the center of a second nuclear accident? Wouldn't you also have this "Oh no, not again" moment? His portrayal in Chernobyl is a lot more balanced than in other western documentaries, despite rather trusting failing instruments than the reports of eye witnesses from all over the plant - remember, Dyatlov was usually not working in the control room and had only limited knowledge of what the various indications and signals mean - despite being a nuclear physicist (but no engineer). But reading his own account of the catastrophy also fits to his portrayal, he really did not know much about the validity of the information before the accident and operated a lot on the premise "If the manual did not forbid it, it must be save to do. The control system will sure warn us if he do something wrong." What he did not take in account then: It can take minutes from a wrong decision to an indication in the control room.



Still, what they sure did wrong there is showing that he was moved from the site early. That is wrong, he actually did catch a quite large dose of radiation helping to fight the effects of the explosion and prevent worsening of the situation. It was Akimov, who defended the claim later, that the core was still in place, while Dyatlov did already help closing valves to limit the damage of the already ongoing meltdown. He did quite many decisions right that night, after the worst has already happened and he was powerful enough to do these decisions in the soviet system. Nobody in a lower position could have ordered shutting down reactor 3. Or closing the coolant valves to the reactor to prevent further steam explosions (Which Fomin later overturned and resumed). Dyatlov was also already reporting the state of the reactor core rather sceptically before leaving the site. He did not insist on it still being there later, he did not report the opposite yet though.



His own quote before he reported to his superiors in the bunker: "Not in my nightmares have I seen anything like this."


But I still strongly disagree with his assessment of the reactor design being the only cause for the accident. If he would not have violated safety procedures and also executed the test at a much lower power level as demanded, the accident would have been highly unlikely, maybe even impossible. The removing of most manual control rods was the prime decision that made the disaster inevitable, after already reducing water flow in a highly xenon poisoned reactor (And all people in the control room should have known about Xenon poisoning)



And there is also the other side of the disaster to read or listen to:


https://legasovtapetranslation.blogspot.com/


I find this very interesting, since it also paints some good pictures of the decisionmakers there. Or better, their attempts to quickly get this "unpleasant accident" away from their responsibility.
 

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Please pronounce "Certain Super User" with the right amount of cynicism. :lol: After somebody complained about the behaviour of "certain Super Users", I really had to use this description, despite having the astronautics skills of Frank Drebin.
It was me, complaining about inequalities and censorship on this forum, but hey, that's America. This motive is however so old, that it's not funny anymore.
 

Urwumpe

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It was me, complaining about inequalities and censorship on this forum, but hey, that's America. This motive is however so old, that it's not funny anymore.

Oh well, I had forgotten where I got this from. And yeah, it might slowly get lost in translation now.
 

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OK, got me the Blu-Ray edition of Chernobyl, so I can also watch those parts not already presented on Youtube et al. Lets see what I missed....
 

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If its the series that was promoted on BBC television here, its certainly worth a buy.
Good production values and acting, only watched part of first episode so far.

I've no idea of the technical content of course. My only experience of nuclear material was handling an "Alpha Source?" that was part of our film-cleaning equipment.
I was suspicious that it was delivered in a lead-lined "Jiffy-Bag"...
 
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