|October 18, 1965 — October 3, 1986|
|Place of birth||Skornyakovo, Vologda Oblast|
|Place of death||Atlantic Ocean|
|Years of service||1984 - 1986|
|Awards||Order of the Red Star
Hero of the Russian Federation
Sergei Preminin (Russian Сергей Анатольевич Преминин, scientific transliteration Sergei Anatol'evič Preminin, 18 October 1965 – 3 October 1986) was a Russian sailor who sacrificed his life on the submarine K-219 , when he manually prevented by means of a reactor SCRAM an impending meltdown.
Preminin's father was an electrician and his mother worked in a flax factory. The couple had three sons. Sergei attended school in the city Krasavino and decided to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Nicholas. Like him, he graduated from engineering school in Veliky Ustyug in the Vologda Oblast. On 23 October 1984 Sergei was drafted into the Soviet Navy. He served on the K-219, a Soviet strategic nuclear-powered submarine.
On 3 October 1986, while on patrol 680 miles (1,090 km) northeast of Bermuda, the K-219 suffered an explosion and fire in the missile compartment VI. Three sailors were killed outright in the explosion. The vessel surfaced to permit its twin nuclear reactors to be shut down.
The remaining crew was assigned to the bow or the stern, as far away from the explosion site as possible, and have been issued gas masks. Soon after, the temperature indicator showed very high temperature on the nuclear reactors, the flow of coolant in the reactor gradually decreased further. This meant that a meltdown was imminent. However, the reactor shutdown could not proceed as planned from the control station - the trigger of the control rods had been damaged, either because the expanding gases or the intense heat. For this reason, the reactor SCRAM had to be carried out manually, directly into the reactor chamber. This also meant that they were exposed strong radiation, since the on-board contamination coveralls were not in position to protect the sailors from the strong gamma and neutron radiation directly in the vicinity of the reactor core.
The officer of the reactor department, Nikolay Belikov, and his subordinate - sailor Sergei Preminin, went into the reactor chamber to complete the reactor SCRAM. They dropped three of four rods, but because of the high temperature (about 70 degrees) Belikov lost consciousness. Left in the reactor compartment alone, Sergey Preminin had to put the fourth rod in place. This was a job that required great physical strength, as the holders of the rods from were now severely deformed by the heat.
As he was leaving the reactor chamber he could not open the hatch, as a pressure difference had been established between the reactor chamber and the reactor control station. After further attempts from other colleagues to force the opening of the hatch from outside, Preminin died in the hot reactor chamber, as the rest of the crew had to move further towards the rear, to escape the poisonous gases that spread out in the boat.
The sinking of the submarine and Preminin's feat were the subject for the book Hostile Waters, written by Peter Huchthausen, Igor Kurdin and R. Alan White. BBC produced a television movie of the same name in the same year, under the direction of David Drury of the Warner Bros. Rob Campbell played the role of Preminin.