Hotspots and Incidents » Disasters, catastrophes
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Explosion at Russia's Largest Hydroelectric Power Plant Kills At Least 10

An accident occurred at Russia’s largest hydroelectric the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant (Southern Siberia) during repair works Monday. At least ten workers were killed and about 68 others went missing when the engine room at the plant was suddenly flooded.

The cause of the accident remains unknown. Most likely, investigators say, a transformer exploded during repairs, the walls and the ceiling of the engine room collapsed causing the room to flood.

Three of the nine turbines in the engine room were seriously damaged as a result of the explosion. It will take engineers several years to repair the turbines, the head of Russia’s EMERCOM, Sergey Shoygu said.

The minister said that the accident at the hydroelectric power plant did not pose even a slight danger to any settlements downstream. Nevertheless, the minister and the presidential envoy in the Siberian Federal District will head to the site of the accident to participate in the liquidation of consequences, Interfax reports.

The Sayano–Shushenskaya Hydroelectric Power Station is located on the Yenisei river, near Sayanogorsk in Khakassia, Russia. It is the largest power plant in Russia and the fourth-largest hydroelectric plant in the world, by average power generation. As of 2007, it was the largest power plant in Russia and the world's fourth-largest hydroelectric plant by average power generation. It was opened in 1978. Its installed capacity is 6,400 MW; its average annual production is 23.5 TWh, which peaked in 2006 at 26.8 TWh.

The station is the largest one to cover peak consumption in the Unified Energy Systems of Russia and Siberia. One of the largest local consumers is Sayanogorsk Aluminium Plant. In years of heavy rainfall, about 1,600—2,000 GWh are lost, due to lack of high-voltage line transmission capacity, and some water bypasses the turbines. To avoid it, a new aluminium plant was started on 15 December 2006, when completion was expected during 2007.