Dalibor Matějů

* 1948

  • "As the radioactive cloud gradually spun over Sweden to Central Europe, a longtime friend, with whom I used to sail, called me. He worked in an agricultural cooperative as an agronomist and immediately asked, 'I don't know if you can or can't tell me, but should we feed or not feed?' I replied that by no means, no feeding. I knew that when it would rain and it would fall, it would cause a problem. I didn't hide anything at the time. On the other hand, I was not a gossiper. Shortly afterwards, it was May 1st, and we were sure we shouldn't go out on the Walpurgis Night, because it was supposed to rain. The water flushed the radioactivity down from the air. That's why I told everyone around me not to go out. But we did not do any campaigns. We weren't that brave."

  • "They [the Soviets] sent us specialists here. They were supervisors who used to come here to see if, in their opinion, we could build and operate. I must say that these people were knowledgeable and well versed in the issue. One of them is still active in his industry today. So, within my position, I had my shadow. I was the chief technologist, and next to me I had the Soviet chief technologist. I once asked him why we had to do the so-called first revision in a planned construction project. This meant shutting down the entire facility, which then had to be disassembled, reassembled and it could continue. We were having a glass of wine together at the time and he replied, 'We do not have to do it. The equipment comes to us complete and assembled. In the Soviet Union, however, this must be done. The equipment often gets to us unfinished and lacks components.”

  • "The accident was one of the indirect consequences of the Russian occupation, which caused the replacement of the entire leadership. Purges were being made, and in 1960 other bosses came. They were all, of course, sworn communists. The director was a chemist by education. I can't prove it, but people said about him that he liked alcohol. It was him who introduced a number of novelties. The heating plant was of an older type and its equipment had to be maintained quite often. The brown coal from Poland was used for heating there. Gases from the coal quickly released after grinding. Therefore, it had to be stored in bunkers. One day, in one of them, the weight on the check valve was released and the gases rose into the separator, where they accumulated. Later, they exploded, which stirred up the coal dust and it also gradually began to explode. The heating plant was then destroyed. However, there did not have to be that much dust. It was the fault of the new director, who wanted to save money and canceled the brigades that swept and cleaned in operation. My brother had an afternoon shift and he was unlucky enough to make some repairs in that place. Instead of chatting with one of his colleagues, he went straight into the corridor, which was full of flames at the time. It burned him so much that the next day in St. Anny hospital died."

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    Praha, 21.09.2020

    duration: 02:06:33
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I had my shadow. He was a Soviet technologist

A portrait from the training center of NPP Dukovany in Brno, early 1980s
A portrait from the training center of NPP Dukovany in Brno, early 1980s
photo: archive of the witness

Dalibor Matějů was born on March 21, 1948 in Opava. However, about a year later, the family moved to Kounice in South Moravia. Dalibor spent his childhood there and moved to Brno to study high school. He interrupted his subsequent studies at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at BUT (Brno University of Technology) after two years and joined the local heating plant. A few years later, his brother Ivo, who tragically died here in 1975 during the first of two major accidents, also got hired in the same operation. The second explosion took place in the heating plant in 1978 and it became the impulse for Dalibor to definitely leave for the nuclear energy environment. In the same year, he joined the training center of the upcoming Dukovany power plant project as a reactor operator. A little later, he was appointed the chief technologist and, together with other employees, they moved to Třebíč, which underwent a fundamental change in the early 1980s thanks to the construction of the energy giant. In preparation for the performance of his function, in 1982 and 1984 he completed two six-month trips to Novovoronezh in the then Soviet Union. In the second half of the 1980s, he was involved in the launch of all four units of the power plant. In 1987, he became the Chief Engineer for Nuclear Safety in the CEZ’s headquarters. After the Velvet Revolution, he worked here in the team for economic restructuring of the company. From 1993 to 1996, he was also a member of the ČEZ Board of Directors. From this position he then left for the private sector, where he still works today.