Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dam Disaster in Siberia

A dam on the Yenesei River in Siberia has been badly damaged and at least 64 people killed. The Guardian reports an explosion and flames, but I don't see them in the video provided.

Paul Goble's report is different:
The deadly disaster at the Sayano-Shushensk dam in Khakassia, the fifth largest hydro-electric facility in the world, occurred because officials sought to generate more electricity than the dam was designed to produce and because Moscow has ignored repeated warnings about such shortcomings or invest in the repair of such critical infrastructure.
He also draws a parallel to Chernobyl:
And in an eerie echo of the Chernobyl atomic power disaster, Russian officials at the dam took pride in the fact that they did not employ any local people, as if that provided a guarantee the dam would be safe. “We have no Tuvans and Khakass,” the deputy director of the hydro-station said in September 2008.
This has been Russian and Soviet policy forever: Russians man the critical infrastructure.

And there is more of a parallel, if the report Goble is translating is correct: the accident at Chernobyl took place because of unauthorized experiments with the power levels.

And the Arctic Sea has been found, the pirate crew mostly made of up Estonians and Latvians, the folks official Russia loves to hate. I'll see if I can glean anything from Postimees and try to post more later. That's a link to the front page, where the Arctic Sea story is the big one right now, but it will change.

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