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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Chernobyl voices: Oleg Ryazanov
Oleg Ryazanov

Oleg Ryazanov, 45
Control room shift manager
Chernobyl nuclear power station reactors 1 and 2

I didn't work here when the accident occurred, I worked at a different nuclear power station. I heard the reports as I was taking my baby daughter to my mother-in-law's near Odessa, and at first I did not believe them.

I moved to Chernobyl because the package on offer was good - more pay and a bigger flat. Before we had just one room (plus kitchen and bathroom), but here we got three rooms.

I did have some concerns about whether it was the best place to bring up my daughter, but these were outweighed by the other factors.

I earn about 4,000 hryvnia per month, about $800, which is quite high on the power station's pay scale. In Ukraine it is a very good salary.

My job is to keep the reactor under control, to keep the water cooling system running and to monitor the spent fuel tanks. A chain reaction is possible in this reactor because it still contains fuel. However, its licence runs out in September and the plan is to remove the fuel by then.

It's depressing. Soon my job will cease to exist. I can only do the job I was trained to do for another two years here. If I change to another job I can stay for five years.

Ukraine is preparing to build new reactors but this will take a long time and the political situation is unstable. The next government could drop the idea.

I don't rule out going to work abroad. People have gone from here to China and Iran. I would not go to Iran, but China is a possibility.


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