First new hydropower unit put into operation at Sayano-Shushenskaya plant

KHAKASSIA, Russia 12/21/11 (PennWell) -- Reconstruction work continues at Russia's Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant with operator RusHydro launching the facility's fifth hydropower unit. This is the first unit to be put on line that is not restored but instead entirely new.

The previous four units were restored and put back into operation after an accident in 2009 that killed 75 people, flooded a turbine hall, destroyed three hydropower units and damaged seven others. The new unit - referred to as Unit No. 1 - is the only one operating to date that wasn't restored.

The step is significant because it marks the beginning of the second phase of Sayano-Shyshenkaya's repair.

RusHydro says it plans to launch three new units (including replacements for the four refurbished units) annually until 2014, at which point the facility's capacity will have increased from 2,600-MW to 6,400-MW.

Equipment manufacturer Power Machines of Russia was awarded the 11.7 billion ruble (US$371.4 million) contract for the turbines and other equipment in Nov. 2009.

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