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Chernobyl divers - truth or legend?

Discussion in 'History of Scuba Diving: Tales from the Abyss' started by АлександрД, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    In the internet exists one, very popular story, about divers, who saved Chernobil Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) after disaster, when some rooms in the station`s building had started to flooding. As they closed flaps and stopped flooding, at the expense of his life.

    first naming as divers goes from here: The chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster
    (2014 !)
    The Chernobyl divers

    In all of the chaos and confusion that followed the disaster there are many stories of great sacrifice and bravery, none more inspiring than that of the 3 Chernobyl divers, Valeri Bezpalov (a soldier and engineer at the plant), Alexie Ananenko (an engineer at the plant who knew where the safety valves were located) and Boris Baranov (an "ordinary" worker at the plant who offered to hold the lamp).

    Ten days after the disaster a further risk immeasurably greater than the initial explosions was identified. Initially firefighters had unsucessfully used water to try to extinguish the flames from the reactor. This contaminated water had pooled beneath the reactor core which, having had a combination of sand, clay and boron dropped on it in an attempt to smother the flames, had turned into a lava like substance. This lava was slowly burning through the foor of the reactor, and had it reached the water below would have set off a massive thermal explosion that would have had devastating consquences across most of Europe.

    Valeri Bezpalov, Alexie Ananenko and Boris Baranov volunteered to use SCUBA equipment to swim through the pooled water to find and release the safety valves for the sluice gates to drain this water away. The men knew that the levels of radiation under the main reactor in the water would be lethal. All that they asked was that their families be taken care of after their deaths.

    The men were successful in their mission, even though Boris's lamp failed shortly after entering the water, but not before finding the pipes that the divers then followed in the dark to the safety valves. They returned from the pool to see their colleagues and those in charge of securing the safety of the plant "jump for joy". Alexei was even able to be interviewed by the Soviet media, but gave away no sign of the dreadful radiation poisoning that all three of them had received, or the fate that awaited them.

    A fortnight later two of the men had died of radiation poisoning in hospital in Moscow, and were buried in sealed lead coffins. The third man, Boris Baranov, only survived a little longer before succumbing to the inevitable end that exposure to such high levels of radiation must bring.

    Months later it was established that the molten lava did indeed burn through the reactor floor. The action that these three men had taken almost certainly saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people throughout Europe.

    On the right you will see the "Memorial to the Lost Workers of Chernobyl" with Reactor No.4, covered by the concrete sarcophagus, in the background. Radiation levels around it are 5 times higher than normal and increase exponentially as you step towards the reactor.

    In history there are many heroic acts performed by incredible people who despite the slim chance of survival go ahead and do what needs to be done. What is remarkable about Valeri, Alexei and Boris's action is that they knew that there was no slim chance of survival. They listened to what the engineers and scientists told them, understood the consequences, and volunteered their lives. It is an outrage that their selfless sacrafice is known by so few people, and that their courageous actions are not honoured in cities throughout both Eastern and Western Europe.

    So... but wat was in origin?
    In back sequence:
    Белые пятна Чернобыля
    Правда о ликвидаторах Чернобыля только через 25 лет - Новости нефти, новости газа, новости ТЭК
    (2011 !!)
    “Then they trumpeted: firefighters heroically pumped out heavy radioactive water from under the rector. And how to pump out water from a durable high concrete box? It was leaked by the station workers. Three people: shift supervisor Borya Baranov and senior engineers for turbine and reactor unit control Valera Bespalov and Lesha Ananenko. They put on wetsuits, respirators, gave powerful lights, a radio station, and instruments that measure activity and radiation power. And they went waist-deep in radioactive water. ”

    Moreover, several more groups were prepared in case the first three did not return. The main thing - the guys knew well the station, which was immersed in the dark. And there were dips and connectors all around. But they found both valves that were under water. No one believed that they could be opened. These hatches were needed only for the installation period, when a large concrete bowl was filled with water and pressed, checking for leaks. After that, the shutters were closed on a chain. Baranov, Bespalov and Ananenko blew them up, removed the chains, and the water went by gravity into the next room - into the ducts of the auxiliary systems of the reactor equipment. Station workers showed the sappers who arrived where to cut holes, then laid hoses. And the firemen were already pumping water.

    Andreev says, for example, that it was announced to the people that firefighters heroically pumped out heavy radioactive water from under the reactor. However, before pumping it out, it had to be drained from a sturdy high concrete box. This meant that, standing waist-deep in radioactive water, you need to knock out the manholes under the water and remove the chains from them. This was done by the station’s employees - three people: shift supervisor Boris Baranov and senior engineers of turbine and reactor workshop control Valery Bespalov and Alexei Ananenko.
    Knowing the station thoroughly, they found these hatches under water, which, after their discovery, by gravity went into the next room - into the boxes of auxiliary systems of reactor equipment. Workers showed the arriving sappers where to cut holes, then laid hoses. And only after that, firefighters began to pump out water.
  2. flyboy08

    flyboy08 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    True definition of a HERO!
  3. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    also some details was here http://www.souzchernobyl.org/?id=2430&section=101
    Explanation: There are many unreliable publications stating that water was pumped directly from the bubbler pool by fire departments. There was a threat that the molten mass of the core of the 4th reactor would burn concrete floors and fall into a 2-tier bubbler pool, which contained thousands of tons of water, which could lead to:

    To explosions of explosive mix.
    Instant evaporation of this water will throw out the remains of the active zone of the 4th reactor beyond the block.
    There were even exotic attempts to empty the bubbler pool by shooting through its walls with cannon-fire shelling. The experiment was conducted at the fifth power unit under construction, but failed to break through the walls.
    On May 15, 1986, a group of engineers at the Chernobyl station, led by shift supervisor Boris Baranov and senior engineers Alexei Ananenko and Valery Bespalov in wetsuits, with special lighting equipment, communications equipment, radiation reconnaissance devices capable of working underwater, were given the task of opening the evacuation dampers bubbler pool (which opened only during the installation period and there was no hope of opening them). The group’s route was not explored, the premises were dilapidated, flooded with water and had no lighting. This task could be performed only by Chernobyl professionals. A group of rescuers was prepared, as well as a group which, in their place, would be obliged, in any case, to complete this task. Baranov accurately led the group to a predetermined location, and Ananenko and Bespalov opened the valves almost under water, determining by the noise that the water had gone, they left the room of the 4th reactor. After a couple of days, the shift supervisor Igor Kazachkov unscrewed the level lines of the bubbler pools and made sure that there was no water in the bubbler pools.
    This is a feat, but the heroes were not awarded, but every year dozens of heroes receive state awards for this feat. Water by gravity left for the basement of the VSRO unit (auxiliary systems of the reactor compartment), between the 3rd and 4th power units. To pump this water, sappers cumulative charges in the places determined by the station personnel, penetrated the concrete walls and the fire departments installed a portable pump station and laid a hose line for pumping water at the direction of the station workers.
  4. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    But most detailed information you can find here: Wayback Machine
    (about author: Nikolai Vasilievich Karpan during the accident in 1986 was deputy chief engineer of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant for science and nuclear safety. He was not a direct witness to the accident, but from the first hours after it participated in the elimination of consequences and analysis of what happened. N.V. Karpan collected and processed a large amount of data on the accident. This data is the automatic recording of the parameters of the emergency process, entries in operational logs, eyewitness accounts, including the contents of their explanatory notes. These are also materials of design and development work and experimental studies to substantiate the characteristics of the reactor and its nuclear safety. N.V. Karpan attended court hearings and kept notes there, thanks to which we have the opportunity to get acquainted with the course of the trial.)
    The room was flooded by about 1.5 meters with radioactive water with an EDR higher than 200 r / hour (the needle of the device went off scale), but the valves themselves were intact because the explosion did not reach these rooms and did not destroy anything. Upon returning, the shift supervisor reported to Smyshlyaev that without pumping water from the pipeline corridor, it would not be possible to open the drain valves. But in any case, pumping out “dirty” water will be easier than blowing up the BB wall. And radioactivity in the semi-flooded basement floors of the station will decrease dramatically. The proposal of Igor Ivanovich Kazachkov was accepted. On the morning of May 5, the Government Commission sent to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant a team of military and firemen who had been preparing for the pumping out of the basement for a long time, led by Pyotr Pavlovich Zborovsky, captain of the Civil Defense Forces. From the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, at the initial stage of the preparation of the operation in early May, V.K. helped him. Bronnikov, at that time acting as chief engineer.

    The place of installation of two fire fighting pump engines PNS-110 in the transport corridor and the route for draining water into the sludge dump (more than a kilometer long) were outlined in advance. Station shift personnel showed these points to the military a few days before the operation. In addition, when the operation began, the Chernobyl shift personnel escorted the firefighters V.L.Bovt, I.P. Voitsekhovsky and M.A. Here began the pumping track. This corridor was a relatively safe place (compared to block No. 4). In addition, he communicated with the same corridor under block No. 4, which made it possible to drain the lower marks on two blocks at once and to open access to the drain valves of the pools of the fourth block. The military and firemen mounted and laid a flexible track very quickly, and the machines began pumping water. After that, the operation participants went to a safe place, periodically appearing to refuel vehicles with gasoline and monitor their work. Chernobyl shift workers also controlled the process of pumping water. When its level near the B-B drain valves under block No. 4 fell to about 50 cm, senior engineers A. Ananenko and V. Bespalov went to them, by order of the head of the reactor shop V. Grishchenko. They were accompanied by B. Baranov, shift supervisor of the station. Dressed in wetsuits, with flashlights and adjustable wrenches in their hands, they reached the gates, checked the numbers by marking. Boris Baranov got on insurance, and Alexei Ananenko and Valery Bespalov manually began to open the drain lines. It took about 15 minutes. The noise of the water flowing from the lower floor of the pool convinced them of achieving the desired result. Returning after completing the task, they checked their dosimeters (they were given optical dosimeters DKP-50, “pencils” of a military standard), they had 10 annual norms.
    and it is one of the most detailed information about real stoory.
  5. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    But first atricle was published in 1986: here is the translation of this atricle
    3 Soviet Workers Dived Into Chernobyl Pool
    And I suspect, legs of name "divers" is growing from this translation

    POSTED: May 16, 1986
    MOSCOW — Three workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant dived voluntarily into a pool of radiation-contaminated water under the reactor to drain the water and prevent a steam explosion, Tass reported yesterday.

    The official Soviet news agency said the initial fire and explosion at the plant on April 26 wrecked its water-cooling system.

    Tass said that 10 days after the explosion, water had collected in a pool under the reactor. If the white-hot core of the reactor had dropped into the water, it could have set off steam explosions that would have spread radioactivity farther than the initial disaster.

    Three men in wetsuits dived into a pool, probing with underwater searchlights for two small valves that would drain the pool.

    Tass said one of the men, Alexei Ananenko, told Soviet journalists, "When the searchlight beam fell on a pipe, we were joyous: The pipe led to the valves.

    "We heard the rush of water out of the tank. And in a few more minutes we were being embraced by the guys," he added.

    Ananenko was asked by his boss to go into the contaminated water, but also was told he could refuse the hazardous assignment.

    "But how could I do that when I was the only person on the shift who knew where the valves were located?" the report quoted Ananenko.

    Tass identified the other two men as V. Bespalov, a senior engineer, and B. Baranov, a shift supervisor.

    In related developments yesterday:

    * Three Soviet reporters, describing how a mixture of sand and other substances was dropped onto the reactor from a helicopter, said: "Today there is no smoke, no steam."

    * Dr. Robert Gale, an American doctor treating victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, indicated today that the death toll has reached 13. Gale has said 299 radiation victims had been hospitalized. One Soviet newspaper said five were firefighters who braved fierce radiation to battle flames engulfing the nuclear reactor.

    * Premier Mikhail Gorbachev said Washington's reaction to the disaster has soured the atmosphere for a summit later this year.

    * A 24-year-old Frenchman has been arrested on charges he duped two U.S. television networks by selling them videotape purportedly showing the Chernobyl plant burning, Rome police said.

    Most suspected, that wetsuits (Гидрокостюмы in the origin) was a chemical protective wear L-1 it was like dry suits, but without sealing on the face and on the belt.
    See Karpan book - they WALKED on the water with depth level around 50cm (2ft)
    Dark Wolf and rsingler like this.
  6. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    source (2017)
    In reality, one died in 2004, and two are still alive! This is not speculative, these are facts. I even copied a piece of the biography .. They really went to death, but survived. They did not stop being heroes, but why lie about them, as the journalist did in the article. After that, a threat to the whole of Europe is not believed.
    Ananenko Alexey Mikhailovich

    Born October 13, 1959 in the city of Inta Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Russia). In 1983, he graduated from the Moscow Power Engineering Institute with a degree in Nuclear Power Plants and Installations.
    From April 1983 to October 1989 he worked in the reactor shop at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
    1989-1992 - engineer at the Atomenergoproekt Kiev Institute
    1992 - 1994 - He worked as the head of the laboratory of the Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety.
    1994-2010 - Head of Department, State Committee for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine.
    2010-2011 - Head of the International Department, State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety.
    Since May 2011 - Director for Institutional Development of the Ukrainian Nuclear Forum Association.

    Boris Baranov, Valeri Bezpalov and Alexei Ananenko.

    So - was they are divers?
    Most probably - not.

    Was ther are hero?

    Алексей Ананенко
    Alexei Ananenko (2018)

    memorial of "Those, who saved the World"

  7. tarponchik

    tarponchik Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: USA
    What I do not get in this story is, why would the safety valves be positioned inside the tank? Reminds me of a joke about a night potty with a handle inside.
  8. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    Valves was inside passage-way, that was floodded by water, that was try to drain from bubbling chamber
  9. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    In this case, Truth is Legend.

  10. JasmineNeedsGills

    JasmineNeedsGills Angel Fish

    They were absolute heros, but there is a happy ending for them too. In the end, despite popular legend, none of the three died. Two of the three were alive and well, and still working in the nuclear industry in 2015, while Baranov died in 2005 from a heart attack. No less heroic, as they fully thought they would be sacraficing themselves, but thankfully they got to live to enjoy the life that their actions helped save for so many others.

    | TV Shows | HISTORY

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