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Russia

Negligence blamed in disaster

October 04, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Negligence was a major factor in an accident at the country's biggest hydroelectric power plant, Russia's top industrial safety oversight official said, hinting that high-level officials could face trial over the disaster that killed 75 workers.

Outlining a report on the causes of the Aug. 17 accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya plant in southern Siberia, Rostekhnadzor director Nikolai Kutin said part of a turbine unit snapped off from its restraining bolts and sailed 45 feet into the air, unleashing flooding and causing short circuits.

Though the direct causes were essentially technical, he said, bad decisions, misuse and neglect stretching back years set the stage for the accident.

The purpose of the 140-page report is not to establish guilt, Kutin stressed, but it does list six people it says were "conducive" to the accident. They include former state-controlled utility chief Anatoly Chubais.

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