THE Ukraine government has, six years after the disaster, officially admitted that between 6,000 and 8,000 people died as a direct result of the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor number 4 on April 26, 1986. Former deputy chief engineer Anatoli Stepanovich Dyatlov, who was in charge of reactor number 4 on the fateft-11 day, says it gave way due to basic design shortcomings. Dyatlov, who was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for "criminal negligence," was released recently under a general amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the disaster. He says he and others were made scapegoats by the designers of a "dangerously unstable reactor" and their political patrons.
TheVienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency has also pinned most of the blame on flaws in the reactor design. Ukraine has another three nuclear power plants based on the same design, Russia 11 and Lithuania two.