Day of Honoring the Participants of the Liquidation of the Consequences of the Chornobyl Disaster is a memorable date which is marked annually in Ukraine on December 14. Another name is Liquidator’s Day. It is a working day.
On this day, people remember those who took on the first blow of a terrible accident, which is still called the largest man-made disaster in the history of the peaceful atom.
This memorable date was established by the decree of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko on November 10, 2006.
The decree, in particular, reads: “To establish in Ukraine the ay of Honoring the Participants of the Liquidation of the Consequences of the Chornobyl Disaster, which will be marked annually on December 14, the day of completion of the sarcophagus over the destroyed fourth unit of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.”
Liquidators of accident’s consequences. Saving others at the cost of your life
Those who immediately after the accident went to the very epicenter to extinguish fires, or were engaged in shutting down the equipment, most likely understood (or tried not to think about it) that their chances for survival are minimal. But they still fought the consequences of the accident, thereby giving a chance for others to survive.
It is known that the first liquidators were the station employees - they were engaged in disconnecting equipment, dismantling debris, eliminating fires on equipment and other work directly in the reactor and machine rooms and other rooms of the emergency unit.
The victims of the accident were 31 people, one of them died directly during the explosion, another died immediately after the accident from multiple injuries. The rest died within weeks of the accident from radiation burns and acute radiation sickness.
The immediate victims of the disaster were the senior operator of the main circulation pumps (MCP) of the reactor shop No. 2 Valeriy Khodemchuk (born in Kyiv region, Ukraine) and the maintenance engineer of automation systems Volodymyr Shashenok (born in Chernihiv region, Ukraine).
Only a few employees who were at the unit on the night of the accident survived:
- Anatoly Dyatlov - deputy chief-engineer;
- Razim Davletbaev - deputy head of turbine shop No. 2
- shift supervisor of unit 4 Yuriy Tregub
- employees of the 4th power unit Yuri Korneev, Gennady Rusanovsky, Boris Stolyarchuk, Alexander Yuvchenko;
About 40 firefighters under the leadership of Major Leonid Telyatnikov, police officers and station workers were the first liquidators. Six firefighters died within weeks from radiation burns and acute radiation sickness.
First class military pilot Nikolai Antoshkin in the first ten days directly headed personnel who were to close the reactor. He personally flew over the reactor, receiving a large dose of radiation.
December 14 is not a holiday
“It's a day-reminder about the persons who, at the cost of health, and sometimes at the cost of life, within only six months without a design, without complaints that nobody has ever performed before such works, built a construction, insulated a damaged power Unit from the Environment,” it is notes on the website of Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
December 14 is also called the day of calling to say again and again the words of gratitude to each of the liquidators - while they are still alive and can feel this deserved gratitude.