Viktor Bryukhanov helped build and manage the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, where a reactor explosion in 1986 released a cloud of radioactive dust over Europe.

Bryukhanov was convicted of a flagrant violation of safety rules and for creating the conditions that led to the explosion of the power plant. After serving five years in prison, he returned to state service in Ukraine, where he headed the technical department of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

He has received treatment for Parkinson’s disease since retiring in 2015 and has had several strokes.

Viktor Bryukhanov was born on December 1, 1935 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which at that time was a Soviet republic. His father was a glass worker and his mother was a housewife.

Being the construction director of the Chernobyl power plant, Bryukhanov recommended the installation of so-called pressurized water reactors, which were widely used all over the world.

Chernobyl power plant explosion process

As the then director of the power plant, Bryukhanov was responsible for the explosion. However, he has waived criminal responsibility. He attributed the explosion to design flaws dictated by Moscow, the failure of higher authorities to provide adequate equipment to measure radioactive leaks, and a bureaucracy that shared responsibility between technocrats and communist men.

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Despite this, the main culprit was found, convicted of a flagrant violation of security regulations and expelled from the party. Sent to a labor camp, he served half of his 10-year sentence and was released after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Source: “New York Times”