September 21st, 2009

Russian Dam Turbine Destruction Photos

On August 17th, near Sayanogorsk in south central Russia, a catastrophic accident took place in the turbine and transformer rooms of the hydroelectric plant of the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam. The exact cause is still under investigation, but what is known so far is that a tremendous amount of water from the Yenisei River flooded the turbine room, causing at least one transformer explosion and extensive damage to all ten turbines, destroying at least three of them. 74 workers are known to have lost their lives in the accident, while one remains missing. Additionally, 40 tons of transformer oil were spilled into the river, killing an estimated 400 tons of trout in two fisheries. Investigators plan to release findings in two months, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for a nationwide infrastructure inspection. – Boston.com

I’m not a big fan of sharing sad news, especially when 75 people lose their lives at work. But when I stumbled across the Boston.com article, I thought I’d share it. Why you ask? Well the paragraph above is the entire article. The story is actually told through photos that will fill your laptop screen. To get a concept of the destruction of a large facility like this, you need to see it.

Here are a few photos I pulled from the article, with their descriptions:

The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam is seen from above Cheryomushky, Russia on August 20, 2009

The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam is seen from above Cheryomushky, Russia on August 20, 2009

The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam is seen from a helicopter in Cheryomushky on August 20, 2009.

The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam is seen from a helicopter in Cheryomushky on August 20, 2009.

BEFORE - The Generator Hall

BEFORE - The Generator Hall

AFTER - The Generator Hall

AFTER - The Generator Hall

Damaged equipment is seen at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant.

Damaged equipment is seen at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant.

A boat motors through oil-slicked water in the Yenisei River, downstream from the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam

A boat motors through oil-slicked water in the Yenisei River, downstream from the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits the accident site at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits the accident site at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station

The damaged and flooded generator hall of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station

The damaged and flooded generator hall of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station

A general view of the damaged generator hall of Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station

A general view of the damaged generator hall of Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station

Plans are in place to disassemble and replace the three destroyed turbines, and to repair the remaining seven.

Plans are in place to disassemble and replace the three destroyed turbines, and to repair the remaining seven.

The article consists of 31 photos, so you’ll have to read it in its entirety to get the full scope of the situation. I’m impressed with Boston.com for sharing larger than average photos in a news article.  Kudos to the editor. Hopefully other publishers take note of the benefits of sharing larger photos, even if it eats away at ad space in the article.

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