Anatoly Dyatlov was a deputy chief-engineer working at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. He was known as one of the most experienced nuclear engineers who worked at the Chernobyl station. Though he was respected by many of his workers due to his knowledge, he was also known to be feared and detested by many, as he demanded unquestioning obedience. The night on which the infamous 1986 Chernobyl disaster took place, Dyatlov was responsible for overseeing the long-overdue safety test on Reactor No 4. Leonid Toptunov, one of the reactor engineers, had committed a mistake after he took over the controls on the midnight shift. However, Dyatlov insisted that the test should continue, though Toptunov as well as safety protocols suggested otherwise. This eventually resulted in the Chernobyl disaster, one of the most catastrophic events in history. Dyatlov also served some time in prison for his role, as he didn’t follow the safety protocols. In 1990, he was released as part of a general amnesty.
Anatoly Dyatlov had moved to Ukraine, in 1973, and began working at the newly constructed Chernobyl Power Plant. He had a previous experience of fourteen years, working on naval reactors, in the Soviet Far East. This made him one of the most senior managers at the Station. Dyatlov was put in charge of the Units Three and Four. Within a short time, he gained respect of many workers, due to his knowledge and experience. However, he was also hated by some of them, due to his domineering personality.
He had supervised a test at the nuclear plant`s Reactor 4, on 26 April, 1986, which eventually resulted in history`s worst nuclear plant accident. The accident also got him exposed to a radiation dose of 390 rem, which is known to kill at least 50% of people who were affected, after 30 days. However, he managed to survive.
Along with Nikolai Fomin and Viktor Bryukhanov, Dyatlov was tried for his failure to follow the safety regulations. All three of them were eventually found guilty, in 1987. They were charged with gross violation of safety regulations leading to an explosion. They received a 10 year prison sentence. In 1990, Anatoly Dyatlov was eventually granted amnesty and released.
Dyatlov wrote a NEI paper, as well as a book, where he blamed the poor design of the plant for the disaster. In some later reports, it was also found that power plant workers were threatened by Dyatlov with job terminations if they didn’t proceed with the test that night. However, the report group by IAEA in 1992, supported his evaluation that the reactor had design flaws, but they also criticized the Soviet nuclear industry`s lack of safety culture. Dyatlov eventually passed away in 1995, due to heart failure that was caused by radiation sickness.
You May Like
Continue Reading Below
Family & Personal Life
Anatoly Dyatlov was born on 3 March 1931, in a poor family, who lived in Krasnoyarsk Krai, USSR. He ran away from home when he was just 14. He studied in a vocational school, and later at the electrical engineering department of the Mining and Metallurgical Technical School in Norilsk. For three years, he also worked as an electrician, before he was admitted at the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute. He graduated with honors in 1959.
After his graduation, he went to Komsomolsk-on-Amur and worked in a shipbuilding plant, where submarines were installed with reactors. He got involved in a nuclear accident there, where he received a radiation dose of 200 rem, a dose which is known to cause mild radiation sickness, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, as well as reduction in the body`s ability to resist infections.
Anatoly Dyatlov has been portrayed in multiple TV shows. His character was seen in the 2004 series `Zero Hour: Disaster At Chernobyl’, Ivan Igor Slavinskiy portrayed him. In the 2006 production `Surviving Disaster: Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster’, he was portrayed by Roger Alborough. In the 2019 HBO miniseries `Chernobyl’, he was portrayed by Paul Ritter.