Chernobyl

Note to Delegates

Due to the freeze date we request that information revealed in the subsequent hours and days after the incident not be taken into account by the delegates at the start of the committee. This includes but is not limited to: the actual state of the reactor core, the graphite outside the building, the true radiation levels, the actual danger posed by the incident, as well as subsequent crises such as the bubbler pools explosions and groundwater contamination. As investigations are carried out by delegates, all will be revealed as chronologically and truthfully as possible.


Secondly, due to the breadth of this crisis, it is encouraged that delegates extend their duties past that of their position descriptions in order to create a more well rounded complete committee. This is crucial for certain positions whose main purpose within the committee only becomes obvious later in the crisis.


The chairs and crisis staff thank every delegate for their participation and desire for immersion in the committee.


Background

(Freeze date: 26 April 1986, the moment of explosion)

It’s 1:23:58 AM in Pripyat, Ukrainian SSR and a shockwave has just spread across every inch of the town populated by ~50,000 Soviet citizens. In the sky a bright fireball burns hot white against the stark darkness of the night and the air stands still with anticipation. A massive boom follows, shaking the buildings and alerting the local emergency services. An explosion has just occurred at the 4th nuclear reactor unit in the Chernobyl nuclear plant and the dust has yet to settle. In the control room the technicians are in a state of panic. Somehow they messed up but as of yet no one knows what happened. They were carrying out a test on the RBMK Reactor in unit 4 which makes up their responsibility in the plant; but something has gone terribly wrong. After some moments, reports make their way to the control room that the reactor has exploded. Comrade Anatoly Dyatlov, supervisor of the test, dismisses this report, claiming that RBMK Reactor cores don’t explode. If his fellow technicians are to be believed, if the core has exploded, then laws of the physical world as Dyatlov knows them have been violated. It’s 01:28 AM now and emergency vehicles have arrived at the plant, unaware of the danger they face, five roofs of the plant ablaze. Meanwhile the people of Pripyat gather outside as ash begins to fall like snow from the sky. At the power plant the situation is dire. The fire is burning as hard as ever despite the efforts of the fire brigade, some of whom have already been called away due to mysterious injuries. Technicians within the plant have procured a dosimeter the maximum range of which is 3.6 roentgen per hour and the scale is full. It will take time to acquire a more accurate measurement and the chaos and uncertainty of the situation is setting in. Meanwhile engineers try to stabilize the situation by pumping water into the core and trying to steady the highly reactive uranium by inserting the boron control rods manually. It’s 04:00 AM now and the Pripyat communist party executive committee has been assembled and the news of the explosion has been relayed to comrade General Secretary Gorbachev of the Communist Party of Soviet Russia who is taking steps to contain the situation and prevent the spread of misinformation. Viktor Chebrikov of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB) is assisting in this effort while also launching a criminal investigation into the causes of the disaster, trying to find those responsible. It is now four hours since the incident and the outside world is unaware. The reputation of the Soviet Union’s nuclear integrity is at stake and response to the disaster lies in the hands of soviet officials, who must find a way to mitigate the disaster whilst also saving face and maintaining the image of the Soviet Union. But will the USSR be able to hide the truth from the rest of the world? As neighboring countries and world superpowers discover more about the situation, who will remain in control, and who will be held accountable?

I

Timeline And Cause Of The Incident

  • The Day Before

    • Chernobyl operators reduced reactor number 4’s power and disabled its emergency core cooling system to avoid interference with a safety test they would be performing the next day. They timed the test to coincide with a routine shutdown for maintenance.

      • The safety test was meant to determine whether the plant’s still spinning turbines could produce enough electricity to keep coolant pumps running during the brief period before the emergency generators kick in.

  • The Day of The Explosion

    • 02:00 PM

      • The test and shutdown are temporarily delayed, to aid the region's power needs.

    • 11:10 PM

      • Operators receive permission to go ahead with the test and the shutdown. By now, the only operators working are the less-experienced night shift. They proceed with the test, lowering the reactor’s power output.

    • 12:28 AM

      • Power plummets far below what is considered stable for the reactor. In violation of the plant’s safety guidelines, the operators respond by removing most of the control rods in order to raise the power. The power does not rise sufficiently.

    • 01:00 AM

      • The power stabilizes and the plant supervisors order the test to proceed, despite the power level still being below the regulation amount required for the test.

    • 1:23:40 AM

      • The test begins and an unexpected power surge occurs. An operator presses the AZ-5 emergency shutdown button to no avail as the control rods jam upon entering the core.

    • 1:23:58 AM

      • The first explosion occurs shooting a fireball into the night sky. The air fills with dust as a blackout occurs. Radiation levels in and around the plant rise drastically and fire engulfs the surrounding roofs.


Positions

  1. Mikhail Gorbachev

    • Mikhail Gorbachev represents the face of the Soviet Union. He is the leader of Russia and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). A proud leader of the USSR he believes in the integrity and public image of his sovereign nation. As the crisis unfolds, it will be up to him to try and mitigate risks, delegate resources, and assist in cover ups. This is the most powerful man in all of the Soviet Union, he is terrifying and uncrossable, but as the situation unfolds and the truth comes to light how will his method of rule change?

  2. Valery Legasov

    • Valery Legasov is the lead scientist, appointed as chief scientist of the government commission created to contain the disaster. He is reasonable and methodical in his approach, knowledgeable in the subterfuge that is integral to the USSR. As the crisis unfolds it will be his job to work hand in hand with his higher ups and fellow scientists to prevent contamination and put out the fire that still rages on at Chernobyl. As the situation escalates and the crisis spirals how will he find solutions amidst all the misinformation?

  3. Evgeny Velikhov

    • Evgeny Velikhov is the scientific advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev, in charge of clean-up and the prevention of contamination. A renowned and distinguished nuclear scientist, it will be his job to work with Valery Legasov and Mikhail Gorbachev as advisor in order to assist with the rapidly declining situation. Appointed scientific director of the Faculty of Physics For Energy in 1976 his expertise will be incredibly useful as the plant meltdown worsens and the radiation spreads.

  4. Leonid Ilyin

    • Leonid Ilyin is an important scientist at the frontier of radiation medicine and radiation protection development. A member of the United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation, it will be his duty to work alongside his fellow scientists in developing methods of containment and protection as the radiation levels rise and contamination spreads.

  5. Viktor Brukhanov

    • Viktor Brukhanov is the director of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station and an important figure in the disaster. He was the first person outside of the plant itself to be alerted to the situation and he was the one that relayed information about the incident to his supervisors and eventually Mikhail Gorbachev. It will be his job to oversee operations at the plant and try to stabilize the situation from within the control room. Notably, a criminal investigation into accountability began the day of the explosion and as the dust settles will the director of Chernobyl himself be found culpable?

  6. Boris Scherbina

    • Boris Scherbina is the Deputy chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers and has been appointed the chairman of the government commission in Chernobyl in response to the disaster. He is a cold dedicated bureaucrat, determined to fill his role as disaster coordinator and organizer. He stands just below Mikhail Gorbachev and has the job of bringing the crisis under control and investigating accountability. He will work closely with Valery Legasov and the other scientists assigned to the disaster in order to find solutions to the unprecedented situation. As the clock ticks down will he be able to resource and organize what is needed to stabilize the reactor core?

  7. Maria Protsenko

    • Maria Protsenko is the Chief architect of the city of Pripyat and will have the job of evacuating Pripyat as the radiation contamination spreads. Due to her knowledge and skill set she will be integral to the liquidation of the accident. It is her responsibility to ensure the safety of ~50,000 citizens and, amidst a misinformation campaign that is trying to prolong her efforts and contain the city, hers will be among the most difficult of duties.

  8. Nikolai Fomin

    • Nikolai Fomin is the Chief Engineer at the Chernobyl Power Plant. It will be his job to work with Viktor Brukhanov to maintain the plant after the explosion and stabilize the situation from an engineering perspective. He will have to assist with cleanup during the aftermath and try to understand what went wrong at the plant. Due to his intimacy with the plant, it will be his job to investigate the incident while avoiding the blame for it.

  9. Volodymyr Pravyk

    • Volodymyr Pravyk is the lieutenant of the fire brigade during the Chernobyl disaster. It will be his duty to extinguish the fires that have claimed the roofs of the reactors and assist in all avenues related to emergency services. Tanks have combusted, hydrogen gas and flammable oils are running rampant throughout the building and some of his men are already getting called away due to mysterious burns on their body. It is up to Volodymyr Pravyk to douse the fires and control the situation.

  10. Viktor Chebrikov

    • Viktor Chebrikov is the administrator of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB), the “Committee for State Security” and one of the most intricate and sophisticated intelligence agencies ever created. It will be his job to spread misinformation and contain the situation. To both him and Mikhail Gorbachev, state security, reputation, and integrity of the USSR are of the utmost importance, and worth more than the safety and lives of the Russian people. He will try to prevent news of the disaster from leaking through any means necessary and will go on to closely watch every aspect of the disaster response’s public relations (PR) in the event that it does.

  11. Volodymyr Shcherbytsky

    • Volodymyr Shcherbytsky is the General secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine. It will be his duty to carry out the influence of Mikhail Gorbachev in Pripyat while balancing the well being of the people under his control. Evacuation efforts will be stifled, misinformation will be spread and it is up to Volodymyr to make sure that Ukraine remains intact when the dust settles.

  12. Leonid Bolshov

    • Leonid Bolshov is the director of the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (IBRAE). Due to his knowledge level and skill set, his utility will be invaluable for mitigation efforts and contamination control. It will be his duty to assist the other scientists and prevent the disaster from becoming uncontainable.

  13. Mikhail Shchadov

    • Mikhail Shchadov is the Minister of Coal Industries. As the situation develops, the need for manpower will increase exponentially. It will be Mikhail’s responsibility to fulfill these needs by delegating his miners to the Chernobyl plant in order to prevent further destabilization.

  14. Vladimir Pikalov

    • Vladimir Pikalov is a Soviet General enlisted to assist in the Chernobyl disaster due to his affiliation with soldiers trained in chemical and radiation leakage. It will be his duty to initially stabilize the situation as well as bring the manpower needed to organize the people of Pripyat and control the area. As the crisis unfolds he will also need to work closely with Nikolai Tarakanov in liquidation efforts.

  15. Nikolai Tarakanov

    • Nikolai Tarakanov is a Soviet military officer. His job will include directing manpower, liquidation efforts and the clearing of highly radioactive debris from the immediate area of the plant. As the situation becomes more and more desperate it will be up to him to sacrifice the safety of his men to fulfill his duty.