This document, previously classified as secret, discloses long pre-existing construction flaws in the Chernobyl nuclear plant,
possible factors leading to the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and subsequent disaster. Safe electrical power, nuclear hazards,
electrical power generation are discussed. Page top photograph of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site and photograph below - Wikipedia .
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Lessons for Building Inspectors
[Memorandum # 40]
Not for publication - Secret
21 Feb. 79 05363
Return to the General
Section of the Central
Committee of the CPSU
Central Committee of the CPSU
USSR COMMITTEE OF STATE SECURITY [KGB]
February 21, 1979 No. 346-A
Construction Flaws at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant [AES]
According to data in the possession of the KGB of the USSR,
design deviations and violations of construction and assembly
technology are occurring at various places in the construction of
the second generating unit of the Chernobyl AES, and these could
lead to mishaps and accidents.
The structural pillars of the generator room were erected
with a deviation of up to 100 mm from the reference axes, and
horizontal connections between the pillars are absent in places.
Wall panels have been installed with a deviation of up to 150 mm
from the axes. The placement of roof plates does not conform to
the designer's specifications. Crane tracks and stopways have
vertical drops of up to 100 mm and in places a slope of up to 8 degree.
Deputy head of the Construction Directorate, Comrade V. T.
Gora, gave instructions for backfilling the foundation in many
places where vertical waterproofing was damaged. Similar
violations were permitted in other sections with the knowledge of
Comrade V. T. Gora and the head of the construction group,
Comrade IU. L. Matveev. Damage to the waterproofing can lead to
ground water seepage into the station and radioactive
contamination of the environment.
The leadership of the Directorate is not devoting proper
attention to the foundation, on which the quality of the
construction largely depends. The cement plant operates
erratically, and its output is of poor quality. Interruptions
were permitted during the pouring of especially heavy concrete
causing gaps and layering in the foundation. Access roads to the
Chernobyl AES are in urgent need of repair.
Construction of the third high-voltage transmission line is
behind schedule, which could limit the capacity utilization of
the second unit.
As a result of inadequate monitoring of the condition of
safety equipment, in the first three quarters of 1978, 170
individuals suffered work-related injuries, with the loss of work
time totaling 3,366 worker-days.
The KGB of Ukraine has informed the CPSU Central Committee
of these violations. This is for your information.
Chairman of the Committee [KGB] [signed] IU. Andropov
[Memorandum # 42]
Copy no. 1
USSR MINISTRY OF
POWER AND ELECTRIFICATION
Central Committee CPSU
Kitaiskii pr. 7
Moscow, K-74 103074
of the CPSU
Moscow K-11 A.T. 112604
MAR. 16, 79 07738
3-16-79 No. 1381-2c
Return to General
Section of the
Checking the structural condition of the first unit of the
At the instruction of the USSR Minister of Power and
Electrification, a commission under the chairmanship of Deputy
Minister Comrade F. V. Sapozhnikov was formed to check the
quality of construction and assembly work on the first unit of
the Chernobyl AES.
The commission visited the site on March 5-6, 1979, and
examined the state of the buildings and structures of the first
unit of the Chernobyl AES and the notes on the quality of
construction and assembly work.
The Commission found that violations of construction
technology and design deviations have been documented.
In each specific instance, engineering solutions were
adopted (in the construction, the operation, or by the designers)
to eliminate deviations and make the structures conform to the
specifications of the original design and normative documents.
Some of the measures have been realized; the rest of the
work is being completed according to a rigid timetable set by the
At the present time the power station is operating
successfully, and there are no hindrances to its further
Taking into account the specifics of nuclear power stations,
and attaching primary significance to the reliability and safety
of their operations, the USSR Ministry of Power and
Electrification has issued an order to enhance monitoring of
technical standards observance and the quality of construction
and assembly work at all AESs under construction.
A letter of similar content was sent to the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine.
Deputy Minister [signed] P. P. Falaleev
CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE CPSU
Defects in the Construction of the Chernobyl AES
Chairman of the KGB of the USSR, Comrade IU. V. Andropov,
reports about the low quality of construction work on various
sections of the second unit of the Chernobyl AES of the USSR
Ministry of Power and Electrification.
As instructed, Comrade Minister P. S. Neporozhnii has formed
a special commission under the leadership of Deputy Minister
Comrade Sapozhnikov to examine and carefully analyze the facts
cited. The commission visited the site to conduct a thorough
investigation of design deviations and to inspect the system of
monitoring the quality of construction and assembly work.
It was found that in erecting individual pillars, wall
panels, and crane track stopways, there indeed were instances of
deviation from the reference axes and substandard construction
practices. Most of these deviations were exposed by the design
inspectorate of the Gidroproekt Institute and a technical site
inspection, and they were documented.
The Chernobyl AES construction directorate along with the
design organization and client have adopted coordinated
engineering solutions ensuring design reliability and
construction quality. Some of the deviations have been
eliminated, and the rest of the measures are being carried out.
A timetable under the control of the Ministry leadership has been
established to eliminate the noted deficiencies.
The specialists conclude that at present there are no
obstacles to the subsequent operation of the Chernobyl AES, and
the electric power station is operating reliably.
To raise the quality of construction and assembly work and
strengthen control over fire and radiation safety, the Ministry
has published instructions stipulating strict verification of the
quality of work at AES construction sites by Ministry
commissions, enhancing quality inspection laws, training
engineers and technicians, strengthening fire-fighting
procedures, and monitoring observation of safety regulations.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine
has been informed of the measures taken by the ministry.
Head of the Section of Machine Building of the
Central Committee of the CPSU. [SIGNATURE] (V. Frolov)
March "23", 1979
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about what building inspectors can learn from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Questions & answers or comments.about what building inspectors can learn from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Technical Reviewers & References
Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman
Click to Show or Hide Citations & References
- Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative. Wikipedia entry on the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl Disaster occurring in the ukraine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster retrieved 4/2/2013.
- Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss. John Wiley & Sons, 2006. ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, Hardcover: 320 pages, available from Amazon.com and also Wiley.com. See our book review of this publication.
- Decks and Porches, the JLC Guide to, Best Practices for Outdoor Spaces, Steve Bliss (Editor), The Journal of Light Construction, Williston VT, 2010 ISBN 10: 1-928580-42-4, ISBN 13: 978-1-928580-42-3, available from Amazon.com
- The Journal of Light Construction has generously given reprint permission to InspectAPedia.com for certain articles found at this website. All rights and contents to those materials are ©Journal of Light Construction and may not be reproduced in any form.
- Appliances and Home Electronics, - energy savings, U.S. Department of Energy
- Avongard foundation crack progress chart for structural crack monitoring
- Basement Moisture Control, U.S. Department of Energy
- Building Pathology, Deterioration, Diagnostics, and Intervention, Samuel Y. Harris, P.E., AIA, Esq., ISBN 0-471-33172-4, John Wiley & Sons, 2001 [General building science-DF] ISBN-10: 0471331724
- Building Pathology: Principles and Practice, David Watt, Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition (March 7, 2008) ISBN-10: 1405161035 ISBN-13: 978-1405161039
- The Circular Staircase, Mary Roberts Rinehart
- Construction Drawings and Details, Rosemary Kilmer
- Crawl Space Moisture Control, U.S. Department of Energy
- Diagnosing & Repairing House Structure Problems, Edgar O. Seaquist, McGraw Hill, 1980 ISBN 0-07-056013-7 (obsolete, incomplete, missing most diagnosis steps, but very good reading; out of print but used copies are available at Amazon.com, and reprints are available from some inspection tool suppliers). Ed Seaquist was among the first speakers invited to a series of educational conferences organized by D Friedman for ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors, where the topic of inspecting the in-service condition of building structures was first addressed.
- Design of Wood Structures - ASD, Donald E. Breyer, Kenneth Fridley, Kelly Cobeen, David Pollock, McGraw Hill, 2003, ISBN-10: 0071379320, ISBN-13: 978-0071379328
This book is an update of a long-established text dating from at least 1988 (DJF); Quoting:
This book is gives a good grasp of seismic design for wood structures. Many of the examples especially near the end are good practice for the California PE Special Seismic Exam design questions. It gives a good grasp of how seismic forces move through a building and how to calculate those forces at various locations. THE CLASSIC TEXT ON WOOD DESIGN UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE LATEST CODES AND DATA. Reflects the most recent provisions of the 2003 International Building Code and 2001 National Design Specification for Wood Construction. Continuing the sterling standard set by earlier editions, this indispensable reference clearly explains the best wood design techniques for the safe handling of gravity and lateral loads. Carefully revised and updated to include the new 2003 International Building Code, ASCE 7-02 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, the 2001 National Design Specification for Wood Construction, and the most recent Allowable Stress Design.
- Building Failures, Diagnosis & Avoidance, 2d Ed., W.H. Ransom, E.& F. Spon, New York, 1987 ISBN 0-419-14270-3
- Domestic Building Surveys, Andrew R. Williams, Kindle book, Amazon.com
- Defects and Deterioration in Buildings: A Practical Guide to the Science and Technology of Material Failure, Barry Richardson, Spon Press; 2d Ed (2001), ISBN-10: 041925210X, ISBN-13: 978-0419252108. Quoting:
A professional reference designed to assist surveyors, engineers, architects and contractors in diagnosing existing problems and avoiding them in new buildings. Fully revised and updated, this edition, in new clearer format, covers developments in building defects, and problems such as sick building syndrome. Well liked for its mixture of theory and practice the new edition will complement Hinks and Cook's student textbook on defects at the practitioner level.
- Guide to Domestic Building Surveys, Jack Bower, Butterworth Architecture, London, 1988, ISBN 0-408-50000 X
- "Avoiding Foundation Failures," Robert Marshall, Journal of Light Construction, July, 1996 (Highly recommend this article-DF)
- "A Foundation for Unstable Soils," Harris Hyman, P.E., Journal of Light Construction, May 1995
- "Backfilling Basics," Buck Bartley, Journal of Light Construction, October 1994
- "Inspecting Block Foundations," Donald V. Cohen, P.E., ASHI Reporter, December 1998. This article in turn cites the Fine Homebuilding article noted below.
- "When Block Foundations go Bad," Fine Homebuilding, June/July 1998
- Energy Recover Ventilation Systems for Buildings, U.S. Department of Energy
- Energy Savings Methods: Whole House Systems Approach, U.S. Department of Energy
- Historic Preservation Technology: A Primer, Robert A. Young, Wiley (March 21, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0471788368 ISBN-13: 978-0471788362
- Log Homes: Minimizing Air Leakage in Log Homes, U.S. Department of Energy
- Log Homes: Controlling Moisture in Log Homes, U.S. Department of Energy
- Log Homes: Log Home Design, U.S. Department of Energy
- Moisture Control in Buildings, U.S. Department of Energy
- Moisture Control in Walls, U.S. Department of Energy
- Quality Standards for the Professional Remodeling Industry, National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council, NAHB Research Foundation, 1987.
- Quality Standards for the Professional Remodeler, N.U. Ahmed, # Home Builder Pr (February 1991), ISBN-10: 0867183594, ISBN-13: 978-0867183597
- Natural Ventilation for Buildings, U.S. Department of Energy
- R-Value of Wood, U.S. Department of Energy
- Spot Ventilation for houses, U.S. Department of Energy
- Slab on Grade Foundation Moisture and Air Leakage, U.S. Department of Energy
- Straw Bale Home Design, U.S. Department of Energy provides information on strawbale home construction - original source at http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/designing_remodeling/index.cfm/mytopic=10350
- More Straw Bale Building: A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series), Chris Magwood, Peter Mack, New Society Publishers (February 1, 2005), ISBN-10: 0865715181 ISBN-13: 978-0865715189 - Quoting:
Straw bale houses are easy to build, affordable, super energy efficient, environmentally friendly, attractive, and can be designed to match the builder’s personal space needs, esthetics and budget. Despite mushrooming interest in the technique, however, most straw bale books focus on “selling” the dream of straw bale building, but don’t adequately address the most critical issues faced by bale house builders. Moreover, since many developments in this field are recent, few books are completely up to date with the latest techniques.
More Straw Bale Building is designed to fill this gap. A completely rewritten edition of the 20,000-copy best--selling original, it leads the potential builder through the entire process of building a bale structure, tackling all the practical issues: finding and choosing bales; developing sound building plans; roofing; electrical, plumbing, and heating systems; building code compliance; and special concerns for builders in northern climates.
- "Vapor Barriers or Vapor Diffusion Retarders", U.S. DOE: how vapor barriers work, types of vapor diffusion barriers, installing vapor barrier
- Ventilation for energy efficient buildings, Purpose, Strategies, etc.,
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair