Twelve confirmed dead, 64 still missing after hydro accident in Russia

Sixty-four people remain missing after a transformer exploded at Russia’s largest hydroelectric power plant, causing the engine room to flood. The accident in southern Siberia killed at least 12 people.

“Finding anyone alive in the flood zone is unlikely, but the search continues,” said Vasily Zubakin, chairman of RusHydro, which owns and operates the Sayano-Shushinsakaya hydro plant on the Yenisei River.

Three of the plant’s 10 turbines were destroyed, but the dam did not suffer any structural damage, Zubakin said. Repairing the plant will cost more than 10 billion roubles (US$310 million), he said.

The plant had a capacity of 6,400 MW, about 25 percent of RusHydro’s total output.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is under way. Company officials said a transformer exploded as workers were doing repairs in the engine room. According to its Web site, RusHydro is the world’s second-largest producer of hydropower, with 25,336 MW of capacity.

RusHydro is building a 3,000-MW hydroelectric project on Russia’s Angara River. Equipment supplier JSC Power Machines is supplying the Boguchanskaya project nine 333-MW turbines and nine generators. (HydroWorld 8/6/09)

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