Hydroelectric plant accident kills at least 12
Repair workers die at Russia's largest facility
Twelve repair workers were killed after a transformer explosion resulted in the flooding of an engine room at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant, Russia’s largest, on Monday.
As many as 64 other personnel remain unaccounted for and rescue workers are still searching the engine room, according to the Itar-Tass news agency . The plant’s owner said that flooding had occurred as a result of a pressure surge in the water pipes, which led to the explosion.
The ramifications for the Siberian plant look to be severe, even at this early stage. Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu explained that repairs to three of the site’s 10 turbines would take years rather than months to complete, with assessments still being carried out on the other seven.
Although the plant’s dam is in no danger of collapsing, the accident has released a 25 kilometre-square oil slick, which is floating down the Yenisei river.
The accident could deal a serious blow to Russia’s long-term plans to revamp its power infrastructure to support growing industrial development.