Ukrainian nuclear plant workers under investigation for using fake diplomas to get jobs

(Associated Press) Kiev Post October 10, 2002

KYIV, October 10 - Authorities are investigating several nuclear plant workers in western Ukraine for allegedly using fake diplomas to get high-paying jobs, a spokesman for Ukraine's state nuclear power monopoly said Thursday.

The 10 workers bought fake diplomas between 1999-2001 for as much as US$600 from a university in the southern city of Odessa, indicating that they were specialists in "atomic energy and electric power stations," the daily Kievskie Vedemosti reported, citing the deputy prosecutor general for Rivne, Vasyl Kundiuk.

Doubts about the workers' qualifications arose when officials investigated a number of reports of technical problems at the plant, the report said. The workers held a variety of engineering and administrative positions, ranging from senior operator to shift boss.

The apparent motive for the workers' ruse was higher salaries. They earned 6,000-8,000 hyrvnas (US$1100-US$1500) per month at the plant - more than 10 times the average wage in this struggling former Soviet republic, Kievskie Vedemosti wrote.

Three Soviet-designed reactors operate at Rivne and construction of a new reactor is about 85 percent complete. Ukraine received international funds to build new reactors at Rivne and Khmelnytsky to compensate for power lost when the Chornobyl nuclear plant, site of world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986, was closed in 2000.

Ukraine operates four nuclear power plants with 13 reactors that are frequently shut down for both planned and unscheduled repairs.



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