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Soviet Era Infrastructure is Crumbling

A recent breach in the largest hydroelectric dam in Russia highlights the dangers posed by undermaintained Soviet era infrastructure.
August 21, 2009, 1pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"Legacy equipment, a blessing for newly privatized companies in the early post-Soviet period, has now become a headache, or worse, for many private Russian companies.

Sayano-Shushenskaya and similar dams built by the Soviet Union's command economy provided copious, cheap hydropower, and many businesses benefited. Rusal, the world's largest aluminum company with many smelters in Siberia, took advantage of bountiful supply and cheap prices as it ramped up operations over the last decade."

Officials are now trying to figure out how to update or replace the staggering amount of infrastructure to make sure more accidents don't happen.

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Published on Thursday, August 20, 2009 in The New York Times
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