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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 19, 1978

DIRECTOR OF THE CHERNOBYL DISTRICT DEPARTMENT OF THE UKR. SSR KGB KLOCKKO, 'INFORMATION ABOUT VIOLATIONS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHERNOBYL ATOMIC ENERGY STATION'

This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

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    The document explains violations of technological norms, labor laws, and assembly work at Chernobyl within one year of its official opening.
    "Director of the Chernobyl District Department of the Ukr. SSR KGB Klockko, 'Information about Violations in the Construction of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station'," December 19, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, HDA SBU, f. 11, spr. 991, t. 1. Originally published by the Center for Research into the Liberation Movement (TsDVR) together with the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv at http://avr.org.ua/index.php/viewDoc/24458/. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134290
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2-vk

19 December 1978

~1646

Secret

Copy # 2

TO THE HEAD OF THE KGB ADMINISTRATION OF THE UKR. SSR FOR THE CITY OF KIEV AND KIEV OBLAST

Major-General

Comrade N.K. VAKULENKO

Kiev

INFORMATION

About violations in the construction of the Chernobyl atomic energy station

In report #I005 from 18.08.1978 facts were reported of technical standard violations that are taking place in construction and assembly work in certain areas, which will lead to accidents and unfortunate situations, and could lead to dangerous occurrences when the reactor is put into use in the future.

We continue to receive information from agents and trusted individuals that attests to gross violations of technical construction standards, fire safety, and construction and assembly safety technique, which will lead to unfortunate situations.

There have been instances of individual leaders intentionally committing the crudest violations of technical construction standards, thinking only of completing their components sooner, and not caring about the future or possible tragic consequences.

For instance, according to a message from Party candidate "P.A.K.," construction assembly work on the framework of the assembly room and the deaerator stack, the machine room’s concrete slabs, the wall and window panels, and the LK-3 and LK-4 stairways of the second block were completed with gross violations of construction standards, and of the original design.

-The framework columns at axes 45+68 and rows B+C were installed with unacceptable deviations from the design (the vertical deviations are up to 100mm). Furthermore, horizontal connections are lacking in some places along the columns.

-At axes 45+54 and rows A+B the machine room’s concrete slabs are laid out incorrectly. Because of this the weight load from the slabs does not rest on the truss joints, which still have not been strengthened according to the instructions the inspectorate’s design.

-The wall panels along rows B and C from mark 28.0m to mark 38.0m are shoddily installed with unacceptable deviations (the deviations are up to 150mm from the lettered axes).

-The installation of the deaerator stack’s concrete slabs is of poor quality, specifically:

a)    Some slabs are resting on only 1.5-2 cm of their underlying beams (according to the design it should be 5-6cm).

b)    The slabs are not attached at every third point, and on some slabs the attachments are missing entirely.

-The metal parts of the stair stringers and landings in stairways LK-3 and LK-4 are not present, and the set of stairs has an incorrect incline angle, causing the full step to be unsupported at its sides.

-The crane runway and braking platform in the machine room have not been completed, and the work on them so far has been done without any attention to the design or construction standards and rules. The braking platform is off by a distance of 100mm and in places by an angle of up to 8 degrees.

In the future the use of the building with such deviations from construction standards and rules could lead to a dangerous situation and even the collapse of the structure.

Until the present time not one of the preceding points has acted upon, although the client’s technical inspector demanded more than once that the defects be removed and to register them officially.

The deputy head of the Construction Administration, Comrade V.T. GORA, and the head of the construction complex, Comrade Iu.L. MATVEEV, were informed more than once about the gross violation of technical standards in the construction work, but no measures were taken to eliminate these violations, and they themselves are often trying to hide the given facts from the Capital Construction Unit administrators of the atomic energy station and from workers of the Construction Laboratory.

According to information from agent “Yuri” the Deputy Director of the Construction Administration, Comrade V.T. GORA, despite multiple warnings from Capital Construction Unit administrators and inspectors of the construction laboratory, gave an order to backfill row C at axes 64-68 of the first line of block “D”, although the vertical waterproofing was damaged in many places in this area.

Despite the serious damages to the waterproofing of the first line in block “D” at the time, in November of 1978 the physical launch of the second energy block was achieved.

The same situation has occurred at the present time in the second line of block “A.” By order of Comrade Iu.A. MATVEEV, foundations with damaged waterproofing were also backfilled in this area without the permission of the commission.

Comrades Iu.A. MATVEEV and V.T. GORA knew very well that the failure to eliminate these defects could lead in the future to the penetration of groundwater into the building and then back into the surrounding environment, and consequentially to the possible contamination of the surrounding environment, but both consciously committed the crudest violation of technical construction standards, thinking only about completing the item and not worrying about its future and possible consequences.

The leadership of the Construction Administration (Comrade V.T. KIZIMA) is not exercising control over the work in these areas, and this could lead in the future to dangerous occurrences.

The leadership of the Construction Administration is not devoting attention to its basic housekeeping, specifically to the fact that overall construction quality depends heavily on the work in these areas.

For instance, according to a message from agents “Fedor,” “Tulin,” “Kuznetsov,” and “Ianov,” the concrete factory is running irregularly, and its output is of a low quality. Cement mixers and dump trucks in the concrete unit are not being repaired, and for this reason it is constantly in a poor condition.

The Grout Unit is in a dangerous condition. It is functioning at approximately 50% of its intended capacity, and the measurement of components of the grouting mixture is being done by eye alone, and the quality of the Unit’s production is not in accordance with any standards. Any increase in the load on the assembly line would cause it to break down with a tragic outcome for the personnel working nearby. The Unit’s building itself is also in a dangerous condition.

Necessary attention is not being given by the dispatcher service and quality control laboratory to the distribution of the concrete mixture, which leads to a violation of technical standards in the laying of concrete, and consequently to its forming in layers, as occurred in the erection of blocks B, C, and D.

For instance, at the laying of especially heavy concrete in block “B” for the wall along axis 49 from mark 30.6 to mark 34.0 in block D, breaks were made in the concrete, and the concrete was laid under freezing conditions without heating the concrete enclosure in the process.

            The concrete is poorly laid in the wall along the 49th and 53rd axes of block B from mark 21.5 to mark 38, and there are many depressions in its surface.

            The concrete was also poorly laid in the wall on row D 46-49 from mark 18.0 to mark 23.0. The concrete was not well mixed, and as a result the concrete has depressions and layers that have formed, and this all could lead in the future to dangerous occurrences.

The expert commission composed of administrators from the Capital Construction Unit, inspectors from the construction laboratory, and engineers from the group of work planning, which was created according to our recommendation, confirmed the facts indicated above.

According to information from agents “Dnipro” and “Drozdov” the paved paths to the atomic energy station are in a critical condition. The surface of the road is maintained with significant failure to meet the standards of maintenance at the required level. There are many places where the ground is torn up between the inner verges of the railhead, the rail ties are thoroughly rotten, and the ground is uneven, which clearly threatens the safety of rail car movement in delivering loads that are special and important to the national economy. The rail switches are in an unsatisfactory condition from incorrect use, and the rails are worn out in many places and have transverse fractures.

According to a message from agents “Sergei” and “Drozdov”, the rules of fire safety are also being violated.

For instance, between September and October fires broke out in the ventilation shaft of block #2 of the main building and in the machine room.

The central warehouses of the Construction Administration are not currently equipped with fire alarm security systems. The Construction Combine warehouse is overloaded with materials that are housed without allowing safe distance in between to prevent fires.

The head of the Construction Administration, Comrade V.T. KIZIMA, has been informed about these facts by the leadership of Military Fire Department #26, however the situation is not corrected.

The failure to eliminate these gross violations of fire safety could lead to a fire and great material damage.

In some organizations violations of labor law are taking place for which the administration is to blame.

For instance, according to a message from agent “Belovoi” at the Odessa Design and Assembly Plant, during part of 1978 the payment of salaries was delayed but 10 or more days, and booklets for recording pay were not handed out.

After inspection it was established that no childcare was being provided and union meetings were not being held. These violations of labor law were confirmed.

The head of the Construction Administration, Comrade V.T. KIZIMA, was informed by us on these points, however the violations continue.

At the present time information is continuing to be received from agents and trusted individuals about the unfavorable conditions at the Odessa Design and Assembly Plant, which could lead to a mass refusal to work.

On December 19th of this year the launch of the Chernobyl atomic energy station’s second block was achieved, which is scheduled to provide a projected 1 megawatt of power by August or September of 1979. The distribution of electricity produced is achieved by two VL-330-Kiev and VL-330-Korosten high-voltage lines, which are capable of carrying 1.3 megawatts at the present time.

The construction of a third VL-330-Gomel high-voltage line is being conducted at a very slow pace, with a deadline for completion in November of 1978. Practically speaking, given the current organization of work, the completion of this line is possible in the second or third quarter of 1979. The failure to bring this line into use in the first quarter of 1979 will lead to a limitation of the power output of the second energy block to 150 megawatts, and in the second quarter, to 300-350 megawatts, and will also decrease in the reliability of the atomic energy station’s function.

The Construction Administration’s leadership is also not devoting the necessary attention to the condition of safety technology in the work being performed. For this reason, unfortunate incidents are occurring among the atomic energy station’s construction and assembly workers.

For instance, on 25.07.1978 a worker from the Chernobyl assembly plant “IuTEM,” V.I. OSTAPCHUK, fell from a height of 5m onto reinforced concrete slabs, as a result of which he sustained a concussion, broke his pelvic bone and some ribs.

On October 31 of this year a metalworker from IuTEM, N.E. KILIN fell into a ventilation shaft, which was not covered, and there was no light in the corridor. As a result, the victim sustained a concussion and broke both legs.

The cause of both of these unfortunate cases turned out to be that the production passageways in the main building were not illuminated and there were no warning signs, and openings through which people could fall were not covered.

Overall in just three quarters of this year 170 people have sustained work-related injuries at the construction site, and the overall loss of work time was 3,366 person-days. This includes 48 people injured in the third quarter, in which the loss of work time was 1,893 person-days.

The highest percent of injury was at the “Soiuzatomenergomontazh” assembly plant: 18 accidents, and a loss of work time of 683 person-days, followed by the “Iuzhatomenergomontazh” plant in terms of injuries: 45 accidents, and a loss of work time of 706 person-days. At the Construction Administration 71 people were injured, and the loss of work time was 1,117 person-days.

Despite the series of accidents that have occurred at the atomic energy station construction site, the leadership of the atomic energy station did not draw the appropriate conclusions and for this reason violations of safety standards continue to take place in the construction and assembly work that is being done.

According to information from agent “Petrovich” the leaders are often divided and don’t agree with each other, writing multiple times to the same plant with several orders or letters granting permission, which will lead to a violation of safety standards with heavy consequences.

Agent “Magister” has communicated that in October of this year metalworkers and welders at IuTEM were completing work assigned by the foreman, V.I. ZUBKOV. At the same time, workers from the chemical defense plant were metallizing pipes in the separator. As a consequence of this violation of technical safety rules the workers were contaminated with aluminum dust.

According to a communication from agent “Muratov,” quality control inspectors at the IuTEM Chernobyl assembly plant frequently violate the rules of radioactive safety. For instance, in September of this year during an inspection of penetrating substances on pipelines at building 505/4 of block “B” they conducted a quality control examination of welding seams by illuminating them with gamma radiation at a close distance to day shift workers, which obviously displeased them and led to their refusal to work.

The Chernobyl District Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine has been informed by us about these facts relating to the violation of technical safety rules in the work being conducted in the construction of the Chernobyl atomic energy station.

The low quality of the construction and the lack of necessary inspection by the Construction Administration could lead in the future to the destruction of the units under construction, radioactive contamination of the surrounding environment, or other dangerous occurrences.

DIRECTOR OF THE CHERNOBYL DISTRICT DEPARTMENT OF THE UKR. SSR KGB ADMINISTRATION FOR THE CITY OF KIEV AND KIEV OBLAST– Captain

KLOCHKO

[Signature]

[Handwritten: VERIFIED (Signature)]

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