Shaun McMahon reports from Argentina that the INTI, the principle science research establishment that Livio Dante Porta was instrumental in setting up, is under threat of complete or partial closure by the Argentine government which has revealed hitherto secret plans to replace it, at least in part, by a private company to concentrate on exports of foodstuffs to the European Union.
260 jobs at INTI have so far been declared redundant which triggered a lock-out by government authorities to the remaining staff at the end of January. Staff were allowed back in to work in mid-February though some industrial action continued on until early March. More recently, the entire establishment has been surrounded by the police and military forces and is being monitored by a private security company charged with preventing staff and management voicing their views on the government’s plans and on the implications of corruption surrounding them.
This is of special relevance to ASTT since one of INTI’s high profile programmes is modern steam development, continuing the work begun by Porta.
INTI recently celebrated 60 years since its establishment in December 1957. Porta was one of the first experts to be engaged by INTI’, working there from September 1960 when he left the Rio Turbio Railway until his retirement in 1982. During that time he set up and headed the Thermodynamics Department where he wrote many of his technical papers on steam traction. Shaun McMahon has been working on steam development at INTI since 2009.