Giant Russian hydroelectric plant relaunched at full capacity after 2009 catastrophe

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Russia’s Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant, one of the world’s most powerful, has resumed operations at planned capacity after completion of repairs and will provide stable energy supplies across Siberia for at least the next 40 years.

The last of the 10 power units of Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant (HPP) damaged in an accident five years ago, was brought online Wednesday, in Russia’s Khakassia Region on the Yenisei River. It is the most powerful hydro plant in Russia.

In August 2009, an accident occurred at the hydropower unit №2. Torrents of water tore off the roof and flushed into the main generator hall. All 10 hydropower units of the station were flooded. The tragedy claimed lives of 75 people.

Russian President Vladimir Putin participated in the activation ceremony via videoconference from Vladivostok. He gave the command to launch the station after Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who heads the government commission for repair of the plant, and RusHydro CEO Evgeny Dod reported its readiness.

November 12, 2014. President Vladimir Putin participates in the launch of the last out of ten hydropower units of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydropower Plant damaged in a 2009 accident, during a teleconference (RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin)

November 12, 2014. President Vladimir Putin participates in the launch of the last out of ten hydropower units of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydropower Plant damaged in a 2009 accident, during a teleconference (RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin)

“I am sure that the effort will not only improve energy supply of the Siberian region, but will also contribute in general to stabilizing the work of the country’s whole energy system,” said Putin.

He stressed that the work to restore and modernize the plant has brought it to a new level. The service life of power units is now 40 years and the maximum efficiency reaches 96.6 percent.

He noted that the start-up of Unit № 2, which was most severely damaged in the disaster, is symbolic as it “completes the full restoration of the plant, which again gets the status of flagship of national energy.”

The plant went through a process of full modernization, including replacement of 10 generator circuit-breakers and 16 power transformers. The central control board is now equipped with a modern signal panel and video wall – the first its kind at a Russian HPP.

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