From Sathyu’s Introduction to Bhopal for Young People
Union Carbide already had a pesticide factory running in a small town in the USA called Institute in West Virginia. When they built the factory in Bhopal, instead of building a factory similar to the factory at Institute, they made many changes. They cut down on the safety systems, used ordinary steel in place of stainless steel, and installed very large tanks for storing the chemical, methyl isocyanate (MIC), so that they needed only a few tanks for storage. All this was done to make the Bhopal factory cost way cheaper (about $8 million cheaper) than the Institute factory. Obviously, it also made the factory in Bhopal rather unsafe. When the factory started running more cost-cutting was done by the management. A refrigeration plant that kept the methyl msocyanate in the tank at zero degrees centigrade was shut down to save about $70 a day. Also, half the people working in the factory were laid off, which meant there were fewer people keeping an eye on safety.