Viktor Bryukhanov, the man blamed for the Chernobyl disaster, has died at age 85.
Bryukhanov was in charge of the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine when the devastating accident occurred in 1986. Afterward, he was held responsible and was imprisoned.
Bryukhanov's death, on October 13 in Kiev, Ukraine, was announced by a representative of the now-closed nuclear plant, according to a report in the New York Times. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease, in addition to having had several strokes following his retirement in 2015.
The sentencing: In 1987, Bryukhanov was found guilty of gross violation of safety regulations, creating conditions that led to the steam explosion that released a radioactive dust cloud into the atmosphere. Reports also mentioned that he failed to ensure correct and firm leadership in the difficult conditions of the accident and displayed irresponsibility and inability to organize. He was sentenced to 10 years in a labor camp along with a five-year sentence for abuse of power, which ran concurrently.
While accepting professional responsibility for the accident, Bryukhanov denied criminal liability. He argued that the explosion was due to flaws in the plant's original design, which had been dictated by Moscow.
Bryukhanov served five years of his sentence, being released early from the labor camp following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Afterward, he returned to government service with Ukraine's Economic Development and Trade Ministry as head of its technical department.