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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 14, 1984

REPORT FROM COLONEL M.A. TURKO, DIRECTOR OF THE 6TH DEPARTMENT OF THE KGB ADMINISTRATION, TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE PRIPYAT CITY DEPARTMENT OF THE UKR. SSR KGB ADMINISTRATION FOR THE CITY OF KIEV AND KIEV OBLAST, LIEUTENANT COLONEL COMRADE IU. V.

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    This document summarizes the specialists' report on the lack of reliability of the reactors at Chernobyl, citing that the lack of protective layers and other structural flaws in the reactor that could lead to radioactive contamination and accidents.
    "Report from Colonel M.A. Turko, Director of the 6th Department of the KGB Administration, to the Director of the Pripyat City Department of the Ukr. SSR KGB Administration for the City of Kiev and Kiev Oblast, Lieutenant Colonel Comrade Iu. V.," August 14, 1984, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, HDA SBU, f. 11, spr. 992, t. 6. 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/24460/. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134295
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To the Director of the Pripyat City Department of the Ukr. SSR KGB Administration

For the City of Kiev and Kiev Oblast

To Lieutenant Colonel Comrade Iu. V. Nikolaev

According to information from the USSR KGB Administration for Moscow and the Moscow Region, in the process of an investigation of organizations and institutions connected with the development and use of atomic energy stations in our country, information has been obtained about the inadequate reliability of RBMK-1000 type reactors used in the Chernobyl atomic energy station.

According to the opinions of specialists consulted, if there were to be an explosion in the main circulation pipeline as a result of natural corrosion of metal and no emergency extinguishing system in the reactor’s active zone or a protective cover surrounding it, a coolant leak will occur. As a result of this, a significant radioactive contamination of the area will occur. An electric power loss in the administrative work system of the reactor could cause a serious accident. According to available information, the RBMK-1000 type of reactor is not equipped with an emergency extinguishing system in the reactor’s active zone, nor with emergency power backup, particularly for the pumps. The design of the reactor also does not consider a protective safety cover.

The RBMK-1000 reactors also have a unique design aspect, in that the zirconium fuel rod shield fuses with pipes made of steel alloy. Because of the difference in the temperature coefficients in the joints, microfractures can form and ruptures can occur. Cases of ruptures have occurred in the Chernobyl atomic energy station, however because the station is run by the USSR Ministry of Energy and included in the energy system of the European part of the USSR, the station was not shut down in these instances. According to specialists at the Leningrad atomic energy station, where RBMK-1000 type reactors are also being used, similar ruptures did not occur because an additional bushing is stretched over the steel-zirconium adapter, which increases the reliability of the joint. The presence of a damaged adapter appears as a wet spot in the graphite moderator of the reactor.

The reactor’s design flaws, as well as individual violations of the rules of its use could cause serious accidents.

In consideration of the above, we request that a careful analysis of the technical status of the reactors in blocks 1 and 2 be conducted, to determine, together with specialists, the parts of the current plan most vulnerable to create the preconditions for an accident; to conduct a similar analysis of the causes of earlier accidents that have taken place and of the measures that the administration has taken to evaluate their effectiveness and reliability; and to study the violations of the rules of this type of reactor’s use that have been uncovered through intelligence operations. At the same time, we request communication on which measures are being taken to increase the reliability of the reactors in the energy blocks that are being newly constructed.

We request that there be no delay in submitting the necessary report to the KGB with a response.

Director of the 6th Department of the KGB Administration

Colonel M.A. Turko

[Handwritten: on 14.08.84

Verfied: (Signature)]

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