Crap; ho, li

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The last film of Ukrainian Television photographer Vladimir Shevchenko:
When Chernobyl exploded (after a very stupid and unnecessary 'test'), Vladimir got permission to film the site before most people realized the dangers. He died a week later. Some amazing footage -- he was on the roof and also took shots of the reactor chamber. A fascinating (and chilling) article on what happens when a government bureaucracy is in control of a nuclear power plant can be found here: Chernobyl Accident: the Principal Cause An excerpt - first, setting up the use of the word 'foreign':
There was time when a part of workers of the Ministry of Medium Machine-Building together with the nuclear power plants took up work with the Ministry of Energy. There they were received as "foreign", the nomenclature of the Ministry of Energy thought them to be "too clever" and "too independent".
And then the observation:
It was extremely prestigious at that time to work at a nuclear power plant, let alone to manage such a plant. A salary at a nuclear power plant was much higher than at a thermal or hydro-electric station. For example, an ordinary employee of a nuclear power plant had about 300 rubles, and managers - even more, according to their position. Director`s salary was, of course, the highest. It amounted to the sum astounding for that time - 1100-1200 rubles! A little less than a member of Politbureau. In today`s money this is about 12,000 grivnas! Directors of thermal or hydro electric power station couldn`t even dream about such salaries.

Material benefits - apartments, cars, furniture dachas, etc. - for workers of atomic engineering were much more ample than in any other industry. This abundance made the nomenclature flare up. To give all this away to "foreigners"? So, instead of filling the positions of rapidly erected nuclear power plants with professionally trained cadre, the Ministry of Energy began appointing "its own" people - specialists in turbines, steam, water preparation, electricity, mechanics, etc. to managerial and well paid positions in nuclear power plants.

That`s how it happened that Chernobyl nuclear power plant was the only plant where neither the director nor the chief engineer were specialists in atomic engineering. The former is said to be a good specialist in steam turbogenerators. Of interest is his characterization made by the vice chief engineer: "Director Bryukhanov... had no knowledge of reactors. For a long time he thought that reactors are simpler that turbines." This is understandable, the turbugenerators drone, high-pressure steam makes the rotors rotate at high speed, electric and magnetic fields intensively interact. Quite impressive. In a reactor there is nothing to rotate, only water murmurs, and control rods go to and fro... absolutely unimpressive.
Shows you what happens when government runs an industry. Incompetence, nepotism and failure. Russia just has been doing it longer than the USA has -- we'll get there soon enough. Thorium Fluoride reactors now please -- minimal waste issue and there is a bucketload of Thorium in the earths crust... Note: The Grivna is the Ukrainian currency and 12,000 Grivnas = $1,506 USD.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on February 4, 2011 10:57 PM.

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