Chazhma Bay - 42°54'17"N 132°20'58"E
Chazhma Bay is in the Far East Pacific coast. Very nearby are Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Artem. Administratively, this is part of the closed administrative-territorial formation of Fokino, where the naval base of the Pacific Fleet is located. In the Chazhma Bay, the Navy's shipyard is located.
The K-431 nuclear submarine of Project 675, which was part of the 4th fleet of nuclear submarines of the Pacific Fleet of the USSR Navy, was located in Chazhma Bay at pier No. 2 of the Navy's shipyard in the village of Shkotovo-22. As you know, before the repair work was carried out by the coastal technical base subordinate to the technical management of the fleet, but then the repair work was transferred to the submarine fleets themselves. On August 9, 1985, employees of the transshipment team successfully replaced the core at one of the K-431 reactors.
Nevertheless, although the replacement was successful, it flowed during the overload of the second reactor. According to the rules, in such a situation it was necessary to report to the specialists of the Main Technical Directorate of the Navy, or at least to the specialists of the Technical Department of the Pacific Fleet. But neither the 9th of August, nor the 10th of August, experts of technical departments on the boat did not arrive. Transhipment team officers decided to deal with the problems on their own.
On 10 August 1985, regular repairs began. The fasteners of the reactor cover were removed, after which the approaching crane of the floating workshop began to lift the cover. But with the cover rose and compensating grille. The lid and grill hung on the crane of a floating workshop.
At this time, at high speed, a torpedo boat came from the sea, from which a strong wave went. In the wake, the floating workshop with a crane swung, after which the reactor lid was pulled out to an unacceptable height. A thermal explosion occurred, as a result of which the overload team completely burned out. Even the remains of the troops of the reloading team could not be found - only individual fragments of the bodies. The floating workshop was thrown into the bay, and the reactor lid fell on the reactor itself, leading to its flooding. Thus, in the zone of radioactive contamination were both the shipyard and the village itself.
To eliminate the consequences of the explosion, workers of a ship repair plant and crews of other submarines of the flotilla, as well as a company of chemical protection of the Marine Corps, servicemen of military construction units stationed near the scene of the event were allocated. The liquidators of the accident had neither special equipment, nor the proper level of training, which affected the quality of the emergency rescue operation and the safety of its participants. The actions of the liquidators of the accident were chaotic, they were in the infected area until two in the morning. At the same time, the emergency naval team arrived at the scene of the explosion only three hours after the incident.
Apparently, the command was much more interested in protecting information about the accident, rather than eliminating its consequences. By decision of the higher command, the telephone connection of the gated community with other cities was disconnected. But no one reported the residents of the village about all the true consequences of the explosion, so many of them received radiation doses. As a result of the accident, 290 people were injured, including 10 dead submariners, 10 people received acute radiation sickness and 39 people received a radiation reaction. In addition to K-431, a number of ships in the Chazhma Bay, including the PM-133, diesel and nuclear submarines, were very seriously injured. The submarine K-42 “Rostov Komsomolets” only passed the replacement of the reactor core and was preparing to intervene on combat duty, but it was so contaminated with radiation.
On August 23, at 16.00, in tug K-431 was transferred to Pavlovsky Bay, where the main forces of the 4th submarine flotilla were stationed. In this bay, the boat stood for 25 years until it was disposed of in 2010.
The leadership of the USSR chose to immediately hide information about the accident from both the Soviet and world public. And this despite the fact that the explosion led to the deaths of ten servicemen - eight officers and two sailors of the Pacific Fleet. The tragedy occurred a year before the larger catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but if Chernobyl was impossible to hide, the situation in Chazhma for the Soviet government was facilitated by the closed status of the settlement and that the incident happened at a naval base. This circumstance greatly simplified the possibility of imposing a signature stamp on any information about the Chazhminsky tragedy.
Only in July 1994, the commander of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy approved the list of military personnel and civilian workers involved in the aftermath of the accident and the collection and disposal of radioactive substances. This list included 2209 people. Over the many years that have passed since the accident, many of its liquidators died - 33 years is a considerable period, now those 30-40-year-old fleet officers and civilian employees of the ship-repair plant are already 60-70 years old. The struggle of many participants in the liquidation of the accident for their rights continued in the 2000s, as they did not achieve their benefits.
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