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Sat, Nov 18, 2017 23:47
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Week of 14 August 2017: Corruption Month 2017, Second Week

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Disclaimer: Any resemblances here to real people, places, institutions or events are purely coincidental. This is somewhat a work of fiction.

Fos, the pulp rat, continues...

Chapter 13 of "Pulp unpleasant story"

After a short adjournment, the Great Mother announced we were going to have a bit of different format for today. She called it a "break out session" and she said she had learned this from the Big Things. Personally, I thought copying what the Big Things do is not always a wise idea. After all, look back at the malfeasance and corruption I have been recording here, now for the third year.

However, I am not in charge, the Great Mother is, so we go along.

Great Mother hammered us to order, "We are having this breakout session to discuss the special cases of maintenance and construction. A couple of cases have been brought to our attention and we wanted to have a chance to discuss them. Eir, will you read the cases, please?"

Eir stood on her back legs and began to read.

"In the first case, a shutdown was delayed because of a pressure relief valve being welded in place on a high-pressure steam line failed its X-ray test."

Simultaneously, a half dozen rats shouted, "Too technical, we don't understand!"


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I was happy to offer an explanation. "Have you ever been in the waters when they are very warm?"

Bun interrupted. "I haven't, eh? Where I live you sometimes have to break the hard water to get in, eh?"

I continued. "Steam is the opposite of hard water, it is when the water is so warm it disappears into thin air. This is made with a fire in a thing the Big Things call a 'boiler'. If it gets too warm, it can cause the boiler to go 'Boom!'. The Big Things don't like that. To help prevent this, there is a pressure relief valve that opens and stops it from going 'Boom!'." I sat down.

"Thank you, Fos," Eir nodded in my direction and continued. "Anyway, they kept working on the welds and they could not get them to pass the X-ray test. Finally, they started X-raying the sides of the welds and discovered something peculiar."

"Please tell, please tell!" several rats yelled.

"I'll make the story short. The valve was apparently originally made with flanged ends. When the customer needed a valve to be welded in, the supplier cut the flange ends off and welded the weld ends to the valve body. As the valve was welded into place in the line, there were different coefficients of expansion between the line, the welded-on ends and the valve body. The field welds never had a chance of passing the X-ray tests."

Rui stood up. "I have no idea what in the world you are talking about. What's an X-ray? What's a weld" What's a fla..."


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Great Mother cut him off, "Never mind all of that. It sounds like the supplier misrepresented what they were selling to the customer. Eir, did this cost the customer any additional down time beyond what was scheduled?

"Why, yes, Great Mother."

"How much?"

"Two days!"

"Two days! What did they have to do?"

"They had to find another supplier with the pressure relief valve manufactured as specified, receive it and install it."

"Wow!" Great Mother said. "Let's have a show of this corruption as we normally think of it?"

All the paws in the room shot up.

Great Mother continued, "We have another case similar to this. I was hoping we could get to it today, but we are out of time."

If you have a corruption story, please send it to Or if you prefer and are more comfortable with my classic email address,, feel free to use it. Your story will be kept in strictest confidence.


Jim Thompson is back again...with a new book on a taboo subject: the personalities in the pulp & paper industry. Jim has written in the past on many subjects based on his four plus decades in the worldwide pulp and paper industry. This new book is packed full of information valuable to the senior member of the industry as well as the recent entrant. A must for every pulp and paper library.


Nip Impressions has been honored for Editorial Excellence by winning a Tabbie Award!


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