Friday, November 16, 2001

Cincinnati visit overwhelms Chernobyl engineers

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A group of 16 engineers from the now-closed Chernobyl nuclear plant is wrapping up a Cincinnati visit this week, giving them an up-close look at everything — from Home Depot stores to construction equipment.

        The three-week tour was sponsored by Cincinnati's Center for Economic Initiatives through a U.S. government grant. It was designed to expose them to new careers in construction as the Ukraine embarks on a $750 million project to entomb the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster that claimed 4,000 lives and still leaks radiation.

        The U.S. government has pledged to help retrain the nuclear plant's 6,000 workers after the massive entombment of the plant's damaged No. 4 reactor is completed by the end of the decade.

        “It's really gone well. They've been overwhelmed with the information they've received,” said Tom Dunn, who with partner Jim Titus of the Cincinnati architecture and construction management firm Dunn & Titus has led the tour.

        Thursday, the group toured a mini-trade show by 10 construction and building materials companies at the University of Cincinnati's College of Applied Science.

        Earlier, they visited the William H. Zimmer power plant in Moscow, Ohio, which like Chernobyl was converted from nuclear to coal-fired generation. They also toured concrete companies, a prefabricated home plant near Indianapolis and a Minnesota window maker.

        The nonprofit CEI annually hosts half a dozen study tours from the Ukraine, said Lee Cole, president.


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